by Robyn Almquist, The Delightful Place
Something amazing is happening in downtown Livingston Manor: the storefronts are full and open for business, there is pedestrian traffic on the sidewalks, and there’s even a little bit of nightlife on the weekends. How does a town go from many vacancies and foreclosures to a happening—some might even say, “trendy”—downtown in just a few years? It happens when a community joins together and realizes it is stronger when everyone works toward a common goal. This is the driving force of the Livingston Manor Chamber of Commerce (LMCC).
Currently, the LMCC is made up of the owners and operators of local Livingston Manor, Parksville, and Roscoe businesses. However, one does not have to own a local business, or work in a local business to become a LMCC member. Many members of the local Chamber are people who reside in the area and want to be active in town planning and events.
Individual citizens of the LMCC are crucial to producing events like the annual Trout Parade, Town Tag Sale, and the most recent event, Be Bop A Lula Block Party. The LMCC is also responsible for decorating the lampposts during the holiday season, maintaining the caboose at the end of exit 96 off Route 17, and recently spearheaded a fundraiser so the town could purchase American flags to decorate the downtown lampposts for Memorial Day, Flag Day, and the Fourth of July. Events and decorations are fun ways to get together as a community, and a great way to show town pride.
They also help to promote tourism in Livingston Manor which supports local businesses. Supporting local business not only makes the town more aesthetically pleasing with cute little shops lining the streets; it also makes good economic sense for the entire community. Here are some national statistics that explain how important locally owned, independent businesses are to a community like Livingston Manor:
• Small businesses have generated over 65% of the net new jobs since 1995*
• Over 50% of the working population works in a small business*
• Money spent at a local business generates 3.5 times more wealth for the local economy compared to money spent at a chain-owned business.***
• Local shops produce a net annual return of $326 per 1000 square feet; Big Box retailers generate a net annual deficit of $468 per 1000 square feet.***
• If every family in the US spent an extra $10 per month at a locally owned, independent business instead of a national chain over $9.3 billion would be directly returned to the local economy.***
• Local business owners are more likely to give back to the community.**
Because locally owned, independent businesses are so vital to Livingston Manor, the Livingston Manor Chamber of Commerce is actively recruiting individuals to become members. To become a member of the LMCC at the individual level, all one has to do is make an annual contribution of $30. How one actively participates is up to the individual.
The LMCC meets once per month. Coming to the meetings is voluntary, but all are encouraged to attend to keep informed of all the upcoming Livingston Manor Chamber-sponsored events, to learn how Livingston Manor is marketed to tourists and the community at large, and to participate and volunteer in community events. The LMCC feels that the more active the members are, the more successful the Chamber—and the community—will be.
If you would like more information on becoming a LMCC member at the individual level, please visit livingstonmanor.org, click on the “Contact” link and write a little note expressing your interest, or stop by Life Repurposed at 8 Pearl Street to chat with the Chamber president, Maria Bivins.