Taking Care of Business …, Face-to-Face & Cyberspace

The Sleepy Hollow/Tarrytown Chamber of Commerce has two new presidents which has set a precedent for the organization. Brian Doyle, a New York City firefighter and co-owner of J.P.

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John Sardy and Brian Doyle

Doyle’s in Sleepy Hollow, and John Sardy, a realtor at Prudential Rand Realty in Tarrytown, will act as co-presidents for 2009 and beyond.

Doyle has been a NYC firefighter since 2001. His class was the first to graduate after 9/11. He works out of Ladder 45 in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan. He opened J.P. Doyle’s on Beekman Avenue with his partner, Nick Bell, in 1999. He is married with one young child. When asked why he sought such a visible position within the Chamber, he was quick to reply. "People come into Doyle’s regularly and ask me when something is going to be done about the appearance of the storefronts on Beekman Avenue?" He began to realize that he didn’t have an answer but might have a solution, that being to get involved in making Beekman Avenue a vital business district. He sees tremendous potential and plans to work closely with Sleepy Hollow Administrator Anthony Giaccio. Giaccio has gone on record as saying that the Beekman Avenue revitalization project is of paramount importance to him. The Village is sitting on a $500,000 downtown revitalization grant and will be seeking to hire an Executive Director and Downtown Coordinator by the end of January, to manage and allocate funds for a much-needed and overdue facelift on Beekman Avenue. 

Doyle is confident that Sleepy Hollow is headed in the right direction as far as tourism is concerned and wants to see Beekman Avenue provide visitors with a place to dine and shop after they have gone to historic sights. "The Street Fair was a big success this past fall and so was the Ferry-go-Round. We have even more events planned this year and they will go a long way towards giving us the exposure we need," he said. Doyle also mentioned that one of the Chamber’s Board members, Leslie Ishoo, is bi-lingual and will be active with Spanish-speaking merchants so that they are included in the movement to revitalize the area.

John Sardy has lived in Tarrytown for the past twenty-five years. He was involved in the food industry with Abigail Kirsch, the Tarrytown Hilton and the Castle for much of that time. He has been a realtor with Prudential Rand Realty for the last four years. Sardy sought the co-presidency for two reasons, the first being that it behooves him to make Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow the best they can be. Secondly, the position gives him an opportunity to give back to the community he calls home. He is a firm believer in the internet and its capabilities for expanding business opportunities. "I want to bring the power of communication to the next level for the Chamber. Not only by being accessible to other 

business owners face-to-face but by giving our members a greater voice on the internet. I want to set up a blog on our website which will give people a chance to speak their mind about issues within our Villages. It will also attract more people to the Chamber’s website." He also plans to create more space for content on the Chamber’s website so that each business can share more about what they do and use photos to complement the information.

 In addition to attracting more people to the Chamber of Commerce through the internet, Sardy wants to rethink the way current face-to-face meetings are conducted. He’s considering round table discussions at their meetings where small groups of merchants can discuss issues important to them. He’s also considering increasing the networking events that are currently held in January, June and November. These events usually invite other Chamber of Commerce officers and members in an effort to gain greater business contacts. The next networking event is scheduled at the Hudson Harbor sales office in Tarrytown on January 29th at 5:30 pm. 

Sardy also talked about the work of the outgoing president, JoAnne Murray, and both he and Doyle praised her determination to make the Chamber a vital organization within the two Villages. This publication can also attest to Murray’s dedication, intelligence and numerous accomplishments. She will stay on as the Chairperson for the Tarrytown merchant council within the Chamber.

It’s apparent that both Brian Doyle and John Sardy have approached their volunteer positions with thought and planning. 2009 will need their efforts and creativity for the betterment of local businesses — businesses which are vital to the strength of the communities they serve.

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About the Author: Robert Bonvento