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Business

Greek-American chamber of commerce planned for LI

John Tsunis, chairman and CEO of Gold Coast

John Tsunis, chairman and CEO of Gold Coast Bank, on Oct. 15, 2015. He wants to form a Long Island Greek-American Chamber of Commerce. Photo Credit: Ed Betz

Local business and civic leaders met last week to plan the launch of the Long Island Greek-American Chamber of Commerce, which aims to foster ties among entrepreneurs and professionals in the region.

The founders gathered at the Holiday Inn Express Stony Brook on Thursday to discuss leadership posts. The breakfast meeting drew about 85 people, and an announcement is expected within weeks about who will head the new group, a spokesman said Monday.

Those forming the association include doctors, lawyers, bankers and owners of local businesses -- many, but not all of them, of Greek descent, said John C. Tsunis, chairman and chief executive of Islandia-based Gold Coast bank, who is spearheading the effort.

"I'm trying to set up a chamber where people are connected with each other, where people can trade services and information," Tsunis said.

Long Island is home to local chambers of commerce from Floral Park to Montauk, as well as associations fostering ties among Hispanic and African-American entrepreneurs, among others.

Such groups can keep members informed about business opportunities, help small business owners manage their finances and connect entrepreneurs with each other, said Phil Andrews, president of the Freeport-based Long Island African American Chamber of Commerce.

"If you don't have a business organization, sometimes the resources don't come to the community, the technical assistance -- things like businesses being able to do a cash flow statement, having a proper business plan," Andrews said. "A lot of businesses start and they're good at what they do, but they have problems when they begin to grow."

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