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Central Islip chamber organizing to revitalize hamlet

Central Islip, a hamlet in Islip, a Suffolk

Central Islip, a hamlet in Islip, a Suffolk County township, has a population of 34,450, according to the 2010 U.S. Census. Credit: Brittany Wait, 2012

Central Islip hasn’t had a chamber of commerce in years. But recent efforts by the Central Islip Civic Council and area business owners could mean the hamlet will have an active chamber in a few months.

At the first official recruiting meeting of the Central Islip-Islandia Chamber of Commerce this past week, local activists and business owners highlighted the need for an official chamber to support burgeoning -- and struggling -- businesses in the area.

“A chamber is one of the most important organizations in any town,” said Hank Carney, who serves on the Civic Council’s board of directors. “We can fight for you in town hall.”

The chamber’s rebirth is part of the ongoing effort to transform Central Islip’s reputation and turn blighted areas into places where people will want to spend time -- and money.

“We’re trying to let everyone know we’re revitalizing in Central Islip, and we need a strong chamber,” chamber president Bill Oliver said. As proof of revitalization, members pointed to the clean, modern-looking Central Islip Town Center on Carleton Avenue, where a Target, Home Depot, Carrabba’s Italian Grill and TGI Friday’s mix with local businesses such as F&W Wine Cellar.

Willie Mack, who owns the Wine Cellar, is vice president of the chamber. He said there are two new stores coming to the Town Center, and that Central Islip business owners need the solidarity offered by a chamber of commerce.

“This town really needs this,” he said.

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