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Chamber president reflects on 2013, looks at 2014


MASSENA - Focusing on what they do and can provide for member businesses will be one of the 2014 goals for the Greater Massena Chamber of Commerce.

“2014 is an exciting opportunity for us to work with our membership, playing a vital role by rendering useful services to business and the government,” chamber board President Miriam S. Catapano said during Thursday’s annual chamber luncheon.

Ms. Catapano said the chamber already provides a number of services to their members, something they will continue to focus on this year.

“Our member businesses can get valuable information free of cost. They can expand their business activities with the help of suggestions and advice from the Chamber of Commerce,” she said.

The chamber, she said, needs to assist member businesses in promoting their products and networking with others.

“We at the chamber of commerce need to help create markets for the products of our members by continuing to organize fairs and exhibitions. The chamber needs to provide business people a common forum at which they can discuss problems and exchange views on matters of common interest,” she said.

The chamber also needs to continue to provide education to members, as well as take on research on behalf of their members and “foster a sense of cooperation among our local business people,” Ms. Catapano said.

“Our goal in 2014 is to reach out to our membership to better understand how we can enhance these services and become stronger partners in serving their needs,” she said. “At the same time, we will continue to provide events to enhance the quality of life for the local community, like our upcoming fif thth Winter Carnival, the Heritage Festival and the Harvest Festival.”

The chamber is currently operating without a director. But, she said the chamber, with the work of Associate Director Penny Pullmain, volunteers and the members of the Board of Directors, was able to continue moving forward with activities in 2013 without missing a beat and don’t plan on letting up in 2014.

“2013 has been a year of transition for the Greater Massena Chamber of Commerce. In 2014 we are embracing the opportunity for change, the opportunity to think and approach things differently,” she said.

The chamber organized or participated in a number of events during 2013, and those will be carrying over into this year. Among those spotlighted by Ms. Catapano were the Winter Carnival,, Heritage Festival, Block Dance, Harvest Festival, Easter Egg Hunt and the New York Power Authority’s Wildlife Festival.

“We continued our Shop Local campaign efforts. We maintained our level of service, answering all calls and requests for information on Massena and the area. This was all done for the majority of the year short-handed, and I would be remiss if I did not at this time point out the dedication, hard work and personal commitment to the chamber by our associate director, Penny Pullmain,” she said.

She also acknowledged and thanked the chamber ambassadors, who assist at events and welcome new businesses and members to the community, as well as the volunteers who assisted with the planning and running of events.

“Unpaid volunteers are often the glue that holds a community together. Volunteering allows us to connect to our community and make it a better place. Our volunteers sure do that for Massena,” Ms. Catapano said.

She said the core members of the chamber’s Board of Directors also needed to be recognized, as well as the chamber membership.

“It is all about you, our members,” she said.

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