Please tell us about yourself. How long have you lived in Armonk?
STACY: I moved to Armonk in 1994 with my husband, Allen Blum, and our two young children, Jeremy (now 26) and David (now 23).
When did you decide to get involved with the Chamber? What made you want to become involved?
STACY: I’ve always been involved in the community, first as a volunteer at the schools, then as a board member and president of the Windmill Club, as a co-chair of the Armonk Outdoor Art Show and, most recently, as the Director of Communications for the Armonk Chamber of Commerce.
I believe in the importance of giving back to the community. In order for a community to thrive, residents need to pitch in and lend a hand. It’s one thing to complain and keep your fingers crossed, but quite another to do something meaningful to effect change. Plus, the bonus has been getting to know the wonderful people in our town who make good things happen.
How has the Chamber evolved? How do you connect the Chamber to the wider community?
STACY: In the 22 years that I have lived here, Armonk has become a very different place. What was once a tiny stretch along Main Street has become a thriving downtown with a perfect central meeting space at Armonk Square. As the town evolved and the business scene grew, it became apparent that the Chamber of Commerce had to up its game.The current board, with Neal Schwartz as its president, has really stepped up communications between members and the surrounding community. Social media has been a great way to keep everyone, both residents and businesses, informed. Plus, Armonk Connect, our annual membership directory that gets mailed to over 8,000 households, provides the community with valuable local information.
Our newly revised website (armonkchamberofcommerce.com) gives easy access to our membership directory, activities and events. Members are also given their own URL web page, which we encourage them to utilize in branding their local presence.
Chamber membership has grown to over 130 members, who either have businesses here or who do business here. Monthly meetings provide a way for members to network and brainstorm about how to connect to the community. One way we do this is through a number of Chamber-sponsored events. Our Citizen of the Year dinner and golf outing in May honors a member of the Armonk community who embodies a long-time passion for making a difference in our town. It brings together business owners, town government, residents and their friends. During the summer months we sponsor First Thursdays, with entertainment and activities downtown. Merchant promotions and specials are geared towards bringing people into town to listen to music, stroll through local shops and eat at one of our many participating restaurants. In the fall, we host the Cider and Donut Festival together with Jamie’s 5K Run for Love in Wampus Brook Park. This year, for the first time, the Festival included the Byram Hills Pre-School Association carnival, which made it a great day for people of all ages. This festive event brings together friends and families from near and far, and gives Chamber members a chance to sponsor and provide fun activities. All of these events give local residents and attendees a chance to interact with our member businesses.
What are the Chamber’s goals, both short and long term?
STACY: We are always looking for ways to help our local businesses succeed. Short term, we aim to increase each businesses visibility through networking, events and web awareness. We also try to educate the community about the value of shopping local whenever possible. Our long-term goals have even greater payback. We have a vested interest in creating memories for our town’s patrons. Happy memories will keep people coming back for more, and that’s a winning scenario for everyone.