Werner Lehner, owner of the Myrtle Avenue restaurant Zum Stammtisch, officially stepped down as chamber president after serving 15 years. He recently opened a second business, which took up much of his time.
“It just wouldn’t be fair to the people who are members of the chamber,” said Lehner, now the treasurer. “We’re also looking to increase membership and, on my own, I just couldn’t do it."
Patricia Gatt is the chamber’s new president. An Ozone Park resident, she is excited to help Glendale in her new role. Gatt intends to restore the chamber to what it was when it was founded by German immigrants over 50 years ago to support local businesses.
“They were very hardworking, middle-class people who just really wanted a good neighborhood for their children to grow up in,” said Gatt. “We want to continue that tradition and keep Glendale as beautiful and nice as it always was."
This past Saturday, the “new” chamber hosted a “Fun With the Easter Bunny” event, its first free community event since reorganizing.
At Veterans Triangle at the intersection of Cooper and Myrtle avenues, children took photos with the Easter Bunny and received stuffed animals. Dena Chimienti and Kimberly Hickey, two chamber members who own Sprinkle of Fun party place, provided face painting.
Upcoming projects include a monthly business card exchange at different area businesses. The funds will benefit the Glendale Volunteer Ambulance Corps and Glendale Civilian Observation Patrol.
Also on the horizon are outdoor art exhibits and music performances at the plaza to be built at Veteran’s Triangle. The lineup of events, a collaborated effort with the Myrtle Avenue Business Improvement District (BID) and the Ridgewood Local Development Corporation, will be discussed April 11 at a Community Board 5 (CB5) meeting.
The chamber is still forming a member committee, and the annual membership fee is $100.
“It would be great if all small business could join or donate. It helps the neighborhood, people stay involved and it keeps small businesses from shutting down,” Hickey said in an email.
An attorney is reviewing the chamber’s bylaws to bring them up-to-date, and Gatt is in the process of writing a letter to officially announce her presidency.
Gatt is looking forward to working with the Myrtle Avenue BID and CB5 to bring the chamber’s plans to fruition.
"With all of us working together, I think we can really make [Glendale] a fantastic place for people to come and relax, shop, eat and just walk around and have a good time,” she said.