Downtown

Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce meets with city leaders

October 4, 2017 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito (left) is joined by Council Members Vincent Gentile and Alan Maisel (right) as she presents a City Council Proclamation to Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce Chairperson Denise Arbesu (second from left) and President and CEO Andrew Hoan (center). Photo courtesy of the chamber

Advocates exchange ideas on growing borough’s economy

The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce has traveled over the years to Washington, D.C. and to Albany to meet with influential lawmakers at the federal and state levels to promote the borough’s economic agenda. But until this year, the Chamber had not organized a delegation to go to City Hall to talk up Brooklyn businesses.

That changed on Sept. 27, when Chamber President and CEO Andrew Hoan and Chairwoman Denise Arbesu led a delegation of more than 50 members for the organization’s inaugural City Legislative Visit.

It was the first such visit in the Chamber’s nearly 100-year history.

Sponsored by the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, the City Legislative Visit gave Chamber members the chance to meet with key officials in city government, like Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, City Comptroller Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Letitia James, as well as officials in the de Blasio administration, to discuss ways to help Brooklyn’s economy grow and prosper.

The de Blasio administration officials who sat down with the Chamber included Lindsay Greene, of the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development; Jon Paul Lupo, of the Office of City Legislative Affairs; and Department of Small Business Services Commissioner Gregg Bishop.

The Chamber also met with members of the City Council’s Brooklyn delegation.

Hoan and Arbesu presented the Chamber’s Legislative Agenda, a document containing numerous items the organization would like to see the city take action on.

“It’s an exciting time in Brooklyn, but with economic growth comes many challenges,” Arbesu and Hoan wrote in a message published in the Legislative Agenda. “We believe the borough’s economy and growth can be adapted to provide equitable opportunity for all Brooklynites.”

Among the items on the Chamber’s Legislative Agenda: Expand “buy local” campaigns to promote small businesses, provide rent subsidies for small business owners, implement commercial zoning protections, provide resources to help small businesses adapt to change and offer tax credits to landlords who provide long-term leases to commercial tenants.

“The City Legislative Agenda’s primary purpose is to promote Brooklyn as the best place to do business,” Arbesu and Hoan wrote in their message.

A highlight of the visit was Brooklyn Night, a party in which the Chamber invites city officials to come and taste many of the tasty treats prepared by the borough’s business owners. The fun-filed event, which took place at the Barleycorn Craft Bar & Grill, drew a large and lively crowd.

At the party, Mark-Viverito presented Hoan and Arbesu with a City Council proclamation.

The Chamber has long enjoyed a close working relationship with elected officials at all levels of government.

In March, the Chamber sent its largest contingent ever, more than 90 members, up the State Capitol in to Albany to meet with lawmakers and representatives of the Cuomo Administration as crucial state budget negotiations got underway prior to the adoption of the state budget.

During the Albany visit, Chamber members met with virtually every member of the Brooklyn delegations to the state Senate and state Assembly. With 21 members, the Assembly’s Brooklyn delegation is the largest in that legislative body. Assemblymember Joseph Lentol (D-North Brooklyn) is the chairman of the Brooklyn delegation. There are six state senators representing the borough.

The Chamber, which was founded in 1918, is the largest Chamber of commerce in New York state, according to Hoan, who became the organization’s leader in December 2016. The organization has more than 2,100 members, from large corporations to mom and pop stores.

Headquartered at 335 Adams St. in Downtown Brooklyn, the Chamber offers assistance to businesses large and small, promotes the borough nationally and internationally as a great place to do business and serves as a voice for the business community with elected officials.

The Chamber also works with individual business owners to assist them in promoting an online presence and develop funding sources to help the company expand.