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Sound Shore Chambers of Commerce Summit in Rye

New York State Assemblyman George S. Latimer (District 91) invited members from the chambers of commerce within his district to gather at the Rye Free Reading Room on Wednesday.

"The most important part of economic development is building businesses and helping them grow," said Dr. Marsha Gordon, president of the Business Council of Westchester and keynote speaker at the summit.

Latimer organized the summit to bring heads from the chambers of commerce in New Rochelle, Larchmont, Mamaroneck, Harrison, Rye and Port Chester together to share ideas on how to support local businesses in their area and encourage their involvement in the business community.

Each representative described the business climate in their cities, towns and villages and discussed strategies for spurring growth in their area.

Ken Manning, president of the Port Chester-Rye Brook-Rye Town Chamber of Commerce, talked about the successes of Port Chester's restaurant industry.

"We're the restaurant capital of Westchester," Manning said, citing their success to both the village's diversity and the chamber's efforts to support local restaurants.

Chambers of commerce are organizations primarily comprised of local business owners, though not exclusively, and sustained by membership fees. They are responsible for promoting the interests of those businesses and are often involved in planning advertising campaigns and events such as street fairs and restaurant weeks.

Assemblyman Latimer's last summit was held five years ago and he said he felt it was a good time to reconnect the local chambers since many of their members have since changed. He said his role is an informal one and that he does not plan to preside over future meetings between the local chambers.

"I just try to make connections between people," he said.

Are you a local business owner? Are you a member of your local chamber of commerce? Why or why not? How do you feel about business in your area? Please share your story.

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