Chamber president profile: North Fork's Andrew Binkowski

Andy Binkowski, of Orient, is president of the

Andy Binkowski, of Orient, is president of the North Fork Chamber of Commerce. Check out his profile here. (June 10, 2012) (Credit: Brittany Wait)

Andrew Binkowski, manger, Cross Sound Ferry

Previous community involvement: I have been a member of the chamber for eight years, but became president last January.

How many members are in your chamber?

165

When was your chamber founded?

The Greenport-Southold Chamber of Commerce merged with the Cutchogue-New Suffolk Chamber of Commerce to form the North Fork Chamber of Commerce back in 2007.

How would you describe the business community?

It’s mostly family-owned businesses and small mom and pop stores. It’s a good, strong representation of local business and community people. It’s not like the big stores in New York City where the owners don’t know what’s going on at each store. These people run their business and actually live in the community. There’s no big-box stores like Walmart or Kmart out here.

Briefly, what are the main issues for the chamber?

One of our biggest is getting businesses involved in chamber events. The reason is that these people are the faces of their restaurants and have to be there most of the time, so it’s hard for them to get away and attend our events, but we understand.

How has being involved in the chamber helped your career?

Being a part of the community and being one of the faces of the ferry is good for business. I also provide a face for the chamber to those coming and going on the ferry.

Ten years from now, how will things have changed?

To be honest, I hope it doesn’t change. What we have here is very unique. We have access by car and water, and small businesses, which creates a good atmosphere. I just hope our businesses prosper. I wouldn’t like to see this area get loaded with Burger Kings and McDonald’s. I want to keep seeing local people and tourists walk the streets of our communities.

Tell us something no one knows about your community.

Our community is a tourist destination and within the North Fork, the hamlet of Cutchogue, is referred to as the sunniest spot in New York State.

Tell us something no one knows about yourself.

As much as I enjoy being president and working with the ferry company seeing thousands of people a day, I enjoy spending quiet days in Orient away from it all.

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