Donielle Cardinale, broker, Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Realty
Previous community involvement:
When was your chamber founded?
How would you describe your business community?
Primarily full-time residents, very diverse, from young people working in service industry jobs like landscaping all the way to people who have family businesses that have spanned many generations. People start out living here seasonally, and two out of three end up living out here full-time after they retire and their kids move out. After they move people start to look for things to do and they often start small businesses.
Briefly, what are the main issues for the chamber?
Being that this has been a seasonal area, the challenge is letting people know that we have activities year-round. It’s a matter of awareness, letting people find the things that grab them. One thing we have is the Winterfest Jazz on the Vine series, which is a great weekend getaway. People are coming out here to get their Christmas trees. There are lots of wine dinners in the winter at the local restaurants.
How has being involved in the chamber helped your business?
In any business, people talk about networking, but I find that to be a false concept. It’s about building relationships. You can meet a lot of people, but if you don’t build relationships it’s not going to help your business. The more I know about my community, especially in my line of business, the more it helps to be able to give people information. I’m the first source of information on everything for customers, from what contractor to use to what pediatrician to contact.
Ten years from now, how will things have changed?
Very little, probably. Diversity will increase, but the charm about coming out here is that you feel like you’re stepping back in time. The character and charm will stay the same, but there will be more great restaurants and wineries.
Tell us something no one knows about your community.
I think the North Fork in general is known as the hidden gem. Not everybody knows all the great things that are out here. Growing up out here, I do know.
Tell us something no one knows about yourself.
I grew up riding horses competitively. I hadn’t ridden at all in eight years, but I just started riding recreationally again with my daughter [6-year-old Rileygrace]. It’s really exciting riding with my daughter the way I liked to ride with my mom and my sister. My son [11-year-old James] did start riding a little bit, but he’s more into basketball.