The Brookhaven Coalition of Chambers of Commerce annual awards dinner was held on April 26 at the Meadow Club in Port Jefferson Station. A total of 16 chambers of commerce located in the Town of Brookhaven recognized each of their members of the year for their service to the community and participation.
GREATER PATCHOGUE CHAMBER
Lori Belmonte, The Colony Shop
Eloise Staudinger first opened the shop in 1946, renting space in the Ackerly Building just east of the shop’s location today, next to the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts. The Colony Shop migrated two times over, to 35 West Main Street and 32 West Main Street, before landing its current spot. Staudinger died in 2010, just shy of 102, leaving the shop to her daughter, Lari Fiala, and her granddaughter (Fiala’s niece), Lori Belmonte. Belmonte’s mother (Fiala’s sister), Judy Gueli, also worked at the shop before her death in 2006. Together, they continued to develop the small business known as one of the founders of Patchogue Village’s Main Street today. Lori Belmonte, now co-owner of the shop, graduated from East Islip’s Hewlett School in 1975 and began working full-time. She did her first fashion show for the shop at 18 months old. Currently, she lives in the village as one of the chamber’s most active members for over 30 years. Belmonte is past chair of our Business Promotions Committee and has run countless events and business promotions for the chamber, including our Family Fun Night; Patchogue Fall Festival and Midnight on Main Street. This is only a small example of her decades of service to the chamber and the Patchogue community at large.
Danielle Paisley, Pat-Med Library
Danielle Paisley has worked at the Patchogue-Medford Library for over 25 years. She has served the Pat-Med community as a children’s librarian, young adult librarian, assistant director and now as the director of the library. As the assistant director, she started the free lunch program at the library, and helped with the restoration and opening of the Carnegie Library. As director, Paisley has actively worked to bring a branch of the Pat-Med Library to the Medford region, and this spring, construction has begun. Paisley serves on the executive board of the Greater Patchogue Foundation, the Board of Directors for the Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce, and the Board of Trustees of the Medford Chamber of Commerce. In her free time, Paisley spends time with her family including her husband, three daughters, a dog and cat, and volunteers at Bideawee Animal Shelter in Westhampton. .
David Schultzer, Bellport Beer
The chamber of commerce is one of the most highly regarded organizations for which a businessperson could become a member. This year the Bellport Chamber of Commerce, as it approaches 100 years, is still an intricate part of any successful local business. It takes a true well-rounded visionary to build on what the past members have created. It also takes dedicated people to help along the way. For this reason, the Bellport Chamber of Commerce decided to nominate David Schultzer as Member of the Year.
While celebrating his 18 years as a member, Schultzer has earned the respect of his peers by dedicating his time and resources in order to make a difference. He has volunteered in numerous positions on the board of directors over the years, including membership committee, sergeant-of-arms, and local business committee.
Schultzer’s true giveback to the chamber is his integrity along with his dedication, always willing to help out and give to each and every event. While he chaired the membership position, he was able to actively increase membership. For those who may not know Schultzer, he is a proud father of three and owns Bellport Beer, which caters to everyone of legal age in the Bellport area. Schultzer has owned and operated Bellport Cold Beer since 1997. A pioneer in the craft beer scene on Long Island, Schultzer is a trustee in the largest homebrew club in the Northeast, as well as the president of the Long Island Craft Beer Week
He became the liaison whom was able to bridge the gap between Bellport, Bellport Village and North Bellport. Although some may not see this separation, Schultzer realized early on that there is this separation and unity is vital to the chamber’s success. He believes all businesses must work together to help each other. He has the god-given ability to make a connection between any two members. He is known amongst his peers as the people’s choice. Although Schultzer runs multiple businesses, he makes it a point to always enjoy his family life.
MASTICS & SHIRLEY CHAMBER
April Coppola, J&R Mobile Marine
April Coppola is a resident of Shirley for 56 years. She is also a married mother of two children, Thomas and Bella, both juniors at WFHS. She is also a school board president for William Floyd and has been on the board since 2016.
“April Coppola should actually be our Member of the Year every year since there is no one more deserving,” said chamber president Beth Wahl of the selection.
She also sits on the committee of the chamber and is the beatification chairperson for the William Floyd Community Summit.
“My community is very important to me; it makes me feel good when people come together for cleanup and plantings,” she said. “I am very proud how far William Floyd has come and where we are going; we are making a truly special story. We have a wonderful community and anything my family and I can do, we are there!”
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here