LONG ISLAND – More than 80 Greek-American businesspersons and professionals recently met one morning at the Holiday Inn Express Stony Brook in response to the invitation of John C. Tsunis, chairman and CEO Gold Coast bank. He is leading the effort to establish the Long Island Greek-American Chamber of Commerce. “I’m trying to set up a chamber where people are connected with each other, where people can trade services and information,” Tsunis said. The breakfast was the group’s second meeting and the massive turnouts and enthusiasm about the endeavor have generated great momentum and have intensified preparations for the next gathering, which Tsunis said will have the character of a founding meeting. The Stoney Brook meeting featured a discussion about the organization’s leadership posts. A spokesman for the group said on October 19 that in a few weeks the names of the first group of people who will run the chamber will be announced Most, but not all, of the people involved have Hellenic roots, and they include doctors, lawyers, bankers and owners of local businesses. Tsunis told TNH there are thousands of Greek-American entrepreneurs in Nassau County with companies that excel in all sectors of the economy. This organization will be the community’s second chamber of commerce in New York and will have a local character, similar to chambers in New Jersey, Philadelphia and elsewhere. Tsunis noted that the Chamber of Long Island will be independent and will aim to strengthen cooperation between the community’s entrepreneurs while also boosting cooperation between Greek-American business persons and those in Greece. The new group will also reach out to other chambers of commerce in Long Island in order to promote cooperation and generate opportunities among members of the community and non-Greeks.
Long Island many local chambers of “Such groups can keep members informed about business opportunities, help small business owners manage their finances and connect entrepreneurs with each other,” Phil Andrews, president of the Freeport-based Long Island African American Chamber of Commerce told Newsday.”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…A lot of businesses start and they’re good at what they do, but they have problems when they begin to grow,” he added. Chambers of commerce can help their members overcome such challenges.