The Bayside Business Association (BBA) re-elected its slate of executive members and outlined its agenda for the next 12 months during the group’s annual membership and elections meeting on Friday at the Bayside Diner.
The meeting, run by BBA President Judith Limpert, kicked off with extensive networking between members and non-members of the board. Limpert then gave an overview of the BBA’s role in the community, and focused on how the BBA could be more involved in Bayside to better the businesses of the area.
“Now our focus is all Bayside,” said Limpert. “Our goal is to bring business and help the businesses in Bayside. It is not to bring in outsiders to compete with Bayside, that’s not what we want to do.”
Since its creation in 1997, the BBA has assisted with the overall planning and oversight of commercial and economic programs in Bayside; aided in developing a model shopping district that enables small businesses to compete in the marketplace; educated businesses to support their growth; and provided local businesses a voice in the community by joining forces with government agencies.
It has also been involved with many beautification projects that have benefited both businesses and the community, including street cleanings, tree plantings, holiday lighting and graffiti removal.
“We try very, very hard to give you a bang for your buck and make a community impact,” Limpert said. “We do a lot of seminars, we do a lot of business partnerships that benefit you as a member.”
The BBA is also involved in many fundraising events throughout the year that promote local businesses in Bayside and help the BBA pay for the many services it provides. One such event is the Taste of Bayside, which raised $3,800 last year, an annual golf outing and a day at the races event.
“Fundraisers are very community orientated and that’s why we love doing them,” Limpert said.
Councilman Paul Vallone was also in attendance and gave the BBA a quick insight into what his office is planning for in the coming year to help improve Bayside.
One of Vallone’s focuses is helping veterans.
“Of the $75 billion budget … the budget last year for veterans was $400,000,” Vallone said. “We have 200,000 veterans — that’s two dollars per veteran.”
Vallone also hopes to bring another high school into Bayside. With a shortage of high schools, both public and private, in the Bayside area, Vallone feels that students who go through the grammar school system in the community should have an opportunity to continue their education in Bayside.
“I am cautious,” Vallone said. “You always want the least impact to the community, but the greatest growth for our kids.”
Vice President Annie Tom announced that membership increased this year, but the organization has higher aspirations in 2015.
“In 2014, we added 20 new members,” Tom said. “Our 2015 plan is to get 50 new members. At one time we had over 200 members, and our plan in the near future is actually to get back to that level.”
Some of the benefits of being a member include admission to seminars featuring current topics of interest for business, such as how to use social media to grow their business; online advertising on the BBA website with a link to their business; networking opportunities; and helpful workshops.
“We need to reach out to our members, as well as the community, to let them know the value of being a BBA member,” Tom said.