The Bradley Beach Business Community Alliance is continuing to solicit members, even as many potential participants are forced to close their doors for the time being.
Though the group was forced to cancel a scheduled launch event on March 23, organizers of the alliance are moving ahead with their plans to sign up new business and residential members.
“We are excited to announce the launch of the new Bradley Beach Business Community Alliance,” said Paula Gavin, president of the alliance board. “We hope every business, nonprofit and resident will join as a member. Your investment in the [alliance] will help to make Bradley Beach the best it can be for all.”
The group was incorporated as a nonprofit corporation in December 2019. The following month, the Bradley Beach Borough Council approved an agreement with the alliance allowing it to meet in the Carmen A. Biase Community Center and to set up interactions with various borough departments.
“I’m very excited about the potential this group has,” Mayor Gary Engelstad said. “It’s a focused group that has strong leadership and a clear mandate to address the needs of the business community and to serve as a very effective bridge to the borough. It will especially be essential as we work our way our of this cataclysmic event over the next few months.”
The alliance is an initiative to bring business and community together to strengthen residential life and Bradley Beach’s economic development.
“Both business and residential members will receive networking opportunities, member to member discounts and invitations to events and special interest circles while having a voice in the creation of resident programs, contribute to Bradley Beach beautification and inputs on community improvements,” according to the group. “In addition, the alliance will offer many unique opportunities for businesses to promote and market themselves.”
In part, the organization fills a void created when the former Bradley Beach Chamber of Commerce ceased operations in June of 2018.
At the time, Engelstad said he hoped Bradley Beach business owners would establish a new or similar organization.
“Someone in my position is dependent on an active and focused chamber,” the mayor said when the former chamber folded.
The move to establish a new group took a major step forward after Gavin headed up a strategic planning effort involving business owners, public officials and private citizens.
Gavin, the chief service officer at NYC Service, volunteered to assist the borough in the planning process. She had been compiling data and research material since moving to Bradley Beach.
NYC Service is described as “a catalyst, convener and capacity builder for volunteerism and national service, working with nonprofits, businesses and agencies.”
Before joining the city agency, Gavin served as executive director of the New York City Fund for Public Advocacy, president of National Urban Fellows, and president of the NYC Center for Charter School Excellence. For 14 years, from 1990 to 2004, Gavin was president of the YMCA of Greater New York.
She was selected to head the new alliance as it builds up its membership roster to the point where the group can choose its own leaders.
Follow them on Facebook at Facebook.com/BradleyBeachBCA.