Earlier this month, longtime chamber member Andy Polan, owner of Stony Brook Vision World in Stony Brook, took over for outgoing president Michael Ardolino, who spent four years in that role.
In an interview with Patch, Polan outlined several goals for the organization, which boasts about 250 members.
"I’d like to see us continue to grow in our presence within the Brookhaven coalition, as well as our voice throughout the community," he said. "We give businesses the tools they need to work with and help the community."
Polan, 49, previously served as second vice president of the chamber and has served as the chairman of the annual beach barbecue party for the past 10 years.
He hopes to schedule chamber events not just at lunchtime but at breakfast and dinner time as well, so as to accommodate members' and potential members' varying schedules.
"The idea is to give accessibility to our monthly meeting to a wider variety of people," he said.
Chief among his goals is continuing to bridge the relationship between the community and Stony Brook University.
"Michael [Ardolino] has laid the groundwork," Polan said. "I hope to continue with that. We’re all working together. ... I only hope to strengthen it. It’s such a resource to us."
Polan, who is also executive vice president of North Shore Jewish Center and serves as the optician for the Long Island State Veterans Home, said the biggest challenge will be to recruit new members from among the new and existing businesses in the community. The support between small businesses is essential to their success, he said.
"The more businesses we have, the stronger we become," he said. "It’s all about building relationships."