If You Build It… They Will Come

Miriam Risko and friend with musician Anthony FrancescoJust ask the many businesses and professional offices in Briarcliff Manor who have judged the year-old Briarcliff Manor Chamber of Commerce to be a resounding success.

For several years, a Merchants Association, including a few retailers and a couple of restaurants, worked to make the Village a shopping and dining destination for residents and nearby towns.  Not satisfied with the results of their efforts in this challenging economy, this core group made the leap necessary to reach their goal:  they reached out to the whole community, including professionals, service and retail establishments, and community leaders.  What they found was a talented and enthusiastic group determined to work together to promote a productive and positive business environment.  Under the dynamic leadership of local businessman Eric Messer, president of Sunrise Building, they formed the Chamber of Commerce and set out to make “shop local” more than a slogan by showing the community what was available in their own backyard.

[inset side=left]As a store owner, it was exciting to see so many people enjoying our vbeautiful Village, reveling in the spirit of the evening…” “we were overwhelmed by the creativity and enthusiasm shown by our merchants…” -Sue Taub, co-chair of 1st Thursday… Night Lights[/inset]They launched their first public initiative, 1st Thursday… Night Lights, to put more life into the Village in the evening and afford businesses the opportunity to show off their creativity in a new way.  Held the first Thursday of every month, businesses and retailers will stay open until 8 pm and flags sported around town encourage the public to “stroll, shop, dine.”  Each night will have a different theme and local businesses and restaurants will find their own way to celebrate that theme. 

Cinco de Mayo was the theme for the first one, held on May 5.  “As a store owner, it was exciting to see so many people enjoying our beautiful village, reveling in the spirit of the evening,” said Sue Taub, co-chair of 1st Thursday… Night Lights.   As for the local businesses rising to the occasion, “We were overwhelmed by the creativity and enthusiasm shown by our merchants,” Taub said.  The Village buzzed with activity as Anthony DeFrancesco strolled the street playing Latin music on his guitar.  Latin flavors were found at every turn: Holbrook Cottage presented an outdoor fiesta featuring salsas and grilled shrimp prepared  by Roman, a chef of Columbian heritage; The Patio served free sangria, ice cream and flan with each meal; Orfino’s offered $5 Margaritas, and the Briars Restaurant on North State Road served free flan all night with dinner.  Megan David at Wake Robin featured a Caftan trunk show and Tata Harper mini facials.  Two popular clothing boutiques had special offers for clients:   March gave a lovely piece of jewelry with each purchase and L3 Couture offered a 15% discount for the night.  Wondrous Things featured mamba music and festive beverages.

Megan David hosting Mini Facials and Caftan Trunk Show at Wake Robin.Mark your calendars for the next upcoming 1st Thursday… Night Lights:  June 2 is Jazz Night with music presented by Mike and Miriam Risko of the Mike Risko Music School.  The Riskos will host the musical piece each month, performing and introducing guest artists to enhance the evening’s theme.  Jazz Night will showcase students of all ages from their performance-oriented school on guitar, piano and voice. Each business will interpret the theme, and food, demos, and promotions will be plentiful. 

Upcoming 1st Thursdays:  July 7 is Barbeque Time, August 4 is Artist Night, and with the coming of warm weather they expect the crowd to grow.  Watch for the blue flags at participating businesses and enjoy a summer evening full of fun and friendly faces in your own backyard.

For more Information: www.BriarcliffChamber.org Email: BriarcliffChamber@gmail.com

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About the Author: Sue Glascott