Michael P. Wentz, market research analyst
Previous community involvement:
I have been an active member of the Farmingville community throughout my nine years of residency. I started volunteering my time as a member of the Farmingville Residents Association and Farmingville Historical Society. Through my participation in these organizations, I was appointed to Brookhaven's Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) to help create and implement a redevelopment plan for Farmingville called Farmingville: Our Vision for Tomorrow.
How many members are in your chamber?
At the conclusion of our first year, the chamber has a total of 56 members who represent businesses, non-profit organizations and residents.
When was your chamber founded?
The chamber was incorporated in January of 2011.
How would you describe the business community?
The Farmingville business community is made up of diverse business owners. Commercial properties for retail and office use are concentrated in a thin strip along the east-west corridor made up of Horseblock and Portion roads. Farmingville’s retail community is a mixture of local businesses and larger regional and national chains. A few national chain restaurants are concentrated along North Ocean Avenue between the LIE and Horseblock Road, and a scattering of locally owned restaurants is found along Horseblock and Portion roads.
Briefly, what are the main issues for the chamber?
Our chamber faces several issues. First, we need to inform businesses that we are in existence with limited resources and volunteers. Then, we need to educate the business community about the benefits of joining a chamber. Farmingville has not had an active chamber in the last couple of years, and many business owners are not aware of the services that a chamber can provide for its members.
Ten years from now, how will things have changed?
Our goal is to create an attractive, thriving business community. We envision a well-lit, tree-filled corridor that features a mix of businesses and services, including grocery stores, restaurants and offices. We would like to have angled, on-street parking and shared parking behind stores so that shoppers are able to quickly and conveniently park their cars and go about their business on foot. Every day people could walk and bike through town to reach a destination, where decorative bike racks will be stationed outside each of the shopping centers and the Farmingville Hills Park.
Tell us something no one knows about your community.
Farmingville Hills Park is a 102-acre park managed by the Suffolk County Parks and Recreation Department. The park entrance has a large cleared field and at the back of the field there is an entrance to a 1.2-mile hiking trail. Families are able to picnic or hike in the county park, which is adjacent to the Bald Hills Historic Schoolhouse. This was the first schoolhouse in Farmingville that was built in 1850, and still stands on its original foundation.
Tell us something no one knows about youself.
After meeting with the CAC, I decided to step up to the plate and further investigate the steps necessary to incorporate the chamber of commerce. After numerous discussions with neighboring chamber leaders and hours of research, I invested personal funds and filed the necessary paperwork to establish the organization. I went on to create the clock logo and motto, “Time to make a difference.”