Promoting tourism and business around the North Fork

03/05/2011 8:00 AM |

Donielle Cardinale, president of the Mattituck Chamber of Commerce, welcomes Chris A. Theodorou, vice president of the new Chase Bank Branch in Mattituck.

This chilly winter isn’t putting the freeze on hot new ideas for promoting business across the North Fork. Local business improvement district officials, chamber of commerce members and business owners report that lots of plans are in the works.

Joe Corso, president of the North Fork Chamber of Commerce, and new Mattituck Chamber president Donielle Cardinale met with Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell recently to discuss strategies for bringing in new business.

“There are a lot of different ideas banging around. We’re at the beginning stages,” Mr. Corso said. “First, we’re trying get an inventory of how many buildings are available out there and to promote those to different kinds of industries. We don’t need new buildings. We’ve got a number of different locations that might work for someone looking to start a business or relocate a business here.”

Southold Town officials are also currently working on the “Southold 2020” plan, which focuses on balancing economic growth with the needs of the natural environment and quality of life. Tax incentives for new businesses moving to Mattituck hamlet center are also in the works.

Mattituck hamlet center covers 56 acres and includes roughly 100 parcels of land. Ms. Cardinale said Mattituck Chamber officials have a plan to keep visitors lingering: Turn the one-way section of Old Sound Avenue, which intersects with Love Lane at Main Road, into a park.

“It would be wonderful, because they could have concerts in the park and create more of an atmosphere where people could come and linger and visit the restaurants and the shops and spend some time,” Ms. Cardinale said. “But, that’s all in the planning process; we’re trying to get approvals and get everybody behind it, and make them realize that it’s a good idea.”

Mattituck saw the opening of a new Chase Bank on Main Road. Although the bank opened quite recently, branch manager Chris Theodorou said business is booming. To further promote the new bank, Chase officials plans to participate in the American Heart Association’s 5K Run/Walk at Martha Clara Vineyards on May 22. Chase bought a promotional table for $500 and some employees plan to enter the race. Mr. Theodorou said that participating in the run is part of Chase’s commitment to remembering that customers are also neighbors.

“At this branch there’s a real hometown feel,” Mr. Theodorou said. “When you come in, everybody knows who you are. Even before we opened, we went around to meet local business owners and we’ve really become kind of like family now.”

The new Love Lane Market is another big draw for Mattituck. Love Lane Kitchen owners Michael and Patti Avella plan to have the new market open by early March. Mr. Avella said it will feature an on-site butcher; local produce, eggs and packaged foods; gluten-free and vegetarian offerings; micro-brewed beer; a pizza oven; and food court. A wide variety of specialty foods will be featured in the 3,000-square-foot retail space, he added, along with a coffee bar and gelato bar. “Obviously we’ll be employing local people and all of this will be a positive for the community,” Mr. Avella added.

Ms. Avella said Love Lane Market already has a Facebook fan page where customers can log on and make suggestions about the types of products they’d like to see at the store. “We already have a lot of fans and we’re taking pictures of the construction as it goes along and creating like a story on Facebook, so anyone can follow along,” she said.

Greenport is also looking to cyberspace to help promote business in the seaside village, according to Business Improvement District president Mike Acebo, who manages Brewer Yacht Yard in Greenport. “Extra efforts are being made to update and improve the village’s website,,” Mr. Acebo said.

Village and BID officials have also teamed up with the North Fork Promotion Council to codify the calendar of events for Greenport and the North Fork. Acknowledging that Greenport is known as a destination, Mr. Acebo feels some effort should be given to help the hamlets’ motorists drive through to get to the picturesque waterfront village.

“We have people who are coming here to stop, but they’re driving through all the other hamlets to get here,” Mr. Acebo said. “Greenport is a driving force for getting people out on the North Fork, and we do have a responsibility in the North Fork Promotion Council to offer all of the amenities of the North Fork to visitors.”

Mr. Acebo said Greenport BID members are focusing on filling empty storefronts as well as helping current store tenants thrive.

The cold weather hasn’t stopped propane dealer John DiBiasi from opening a new propane dealership in Cutchogue called North Fork Energy. Mr. DiBiasi has owned Starlite Propane Gas Corp. of Bay Shore for nearly three decades. Pointing out that propane gas has always been a green product, the savvy businessman believes that even in this bad economy, more people are embracing propane. With that belief in mind, Mr. DiBiasi thinks the time is right to fire up a new business on the North Fork.

“Propane was green before green was in, and I think it’s better for the economy and the environment. I believe this is a great opportunity,” Mr. DiBiasi said. “It took us a few years to decide to go on this new venture and we looked at a lot of places, but we picked Cutchogue because we’ve always had a fondness for the North Fork,” he added.

Janine Nebons, general manager of Tanger Outlet Center in Riverhead, said outlet officials are turning to technology for stepping up business at the popular shopping mall. iPhone and Android users can now download a Tanger app that will identify the store they’re visiting and provide relevant sales information and coupons.

“We’ll be able to shoot them an e-mail and say, ‘Here’s an extra $10 you can save.’ It’s amazing what it can do,” Ms. Nebons said, noting that customer traffic at Tanger is up 7 percent from last year. “So, we’re going to be using technology to increase sales for people here at the shopping center coupled with traditional Tanger campaigns, which are print ads, some direct-to-home and some television ads sprinkled in.”

Ms. Nebons, who is also president of the Riverhead Chamber of Commerce, said chamber officials are focusing on tourism to boost sales and new business for the downtown area. The new, $21 million Atlantis Marine World’s Hyatt Place hotel on Riverhead’s East Main Street plays a large part in the plan, according to Ms. Nebons, as out-of-towners will now have a place to stay in the historic downtown.

The 100-room hotel is slated to open in July; it’s already booked through the end of 2012. Mr. Nebons hopes the new traffic generated by the hotel will encourage potential business owners to fill some of the empty storefronts downtown.
“For years we focused publicity for Riverhead on just people from the area, but now we’re really pushing to get tourists in here,” Ms. Nebons said. “It’s a very exciting time, and we think we’ve got a strong plan.”

Editor’s note: This story was originally published in the 2011 Times/Review Annual Report supplement.

21 Comment

  • Levy kissing up to the republican club. Will Sean bring that great Riverhead know-how to all of Suffolk? I can hear the stores boarding up right now.

  • Ahh, the man has paid his dues and paved the way for Jodi and the rest of her
    Crookhaven cronies to complete the rape of Riverhead. Wasn’t great before her but we are going to pay an enormous tax price for the deals that she, Sean, the two cops and the green house guy have brought here. When is the Riverhead populace going to wake up and not let this bunch of “good old boy thieves” continue to enrich themselves on your backs?

  • Thank god Walter has no chance of being re-elected. He would single handely destroy suffolk co. If he would have let us build a motorsports facility we would have been paying taxes for years now and giving jobs to the residents. Hundreds of businesses would have been benefiting and thousands of people would be better able to support their families. Levys another one who said he is motorsports positive and has done nothing, get rid of them all.

  • Lol amazing….. utterly amazing….

    A town supervisor looks a developer in the eyes offering 40 mil for 300 acres to build a motorspots facility that would have drawn and created jobs, instead he blew it off because he thought there was ANOTHER … Gold Coin Federal govt weapons contract like grumman coming back….a govt that is broke will not be funding any projects like that….

    Now they have nothing…..

    Levy, yet again with his blunders, appoints walter to a planning council…..

    C”mon steve you blew yaphank almost as bad as cardniale and crew blew epcal, along with walter and crew….

    None of them have any idea wth they’re doing…

  • Just a bunch of BOBBLEHEADS patting eachothers backs and tickleing thier ‘taints.Levy & Walter have shown thier support of MOTORSPORTS, bobblehead style.Please don’t think you can continue to YES the LONG ISLAND MOTORSPORTS ASSOCIATION to death,election time is coming and the cronies will be going.

  • i cant believe it! cardinales have been trying to buy mattituck since i was in high school. i think that they owned all of the a&p(remember when- the “woods” behind and the cemetary were the place to hang out) plaza when i left. didnt “ole” man cardinale give a building to each one of his family members and their significant(s) to begin this monopoly. and now almost more than 25yrs have passed and now the chamber of commerce of mattituck(affectionally called “hooterville” in the day)(even one of the major farm stands of the late 70s and early 80s called itself “hooterville farm”) the president of the chamber of commerce is a cardinale…………..that is really scary. and the picture of her all wrapped up with theodoru vp of this new bank…….even scarier!!!!!…….red flag…..wake up!!!!! oh yeah he did go around to local businesses(i wonder how many of these “local” businesses are out-of-towners(a far cry from a north forkey i bet)) (i wonder if he has a “scarface” poster in his home gym)to be kind(areyoukind?) and “neighborly” or to mark his territory(assure the assets).tax incentives for businesses who come to the mattituck “hamlet”. “hamlet” and cardinale /theodoru shouldnt be said in the same breath. what these guys got in mind is a lot more sinister than a “hamlet”. oh yeah one more thing i wonder if they will take food stamp cards at the new love lane market. so long “hooterville”—- hello” psuedoville”…………………..oh wait…………hi deb

  • o.k. o.k. just one more thing————–please dont corrupt scott russell….. it looks like he may end up being north forks last chance to survive in this world of deception and greed. re-elect RUSSELL in the fall.

  • If the survival of the North Fork depends on any one person, hope is faint. If Scott Russell is our only hope the fox is already in the chicken coop.

    Do you remember when the Mattituck Strawberry Festival served local strawberries?

    Have you visited Main Street in Southold recently?

    Traffic on the North Fork gets worse every year. Today being the first sunny warm Saturday there was a 5 minute delay to make a left turn onto the Main Road ALL DAY LONG. All the traffic counts and studies in the Planning Board fail to take into account the unique mix of rural, seasonal, suburban and interstate traffic between Riverhead and Orient Point.

    Our future depends on breaking free of the partisan politics Russel excels at. Together we can plan and act to protect and restore the natural environment and enable and promote our local economy.

    Whoever stands for our common interests, the true purpose of government, will get my vote.

  • If the survival of the North Fork depends on any one person, hope is faint. If Scott Russell is our only hope the fox is already in the chicken coop.

    Do you remember when the Mattituck Strawberry Festival served local strawberries?

    Have you visited Main Street in Southold recently?

    Traffic on the North Fork gets worse every year. Today being the first sunny warm Saturday there was a 5 minute delay to make a left turn onto the Main Road ALL DAY LONG. All the traffic counts and studies in the Planning Board fail to take into account the unique mix of rural, seasonal, suburban and interstate traffic between Riverhead and Orient Point.

    Our future depends on breaking free of the partisan politics Russel excels at. Together we can plan and act to protect and restore the natural environment and enable and promote our local economy.

    Whoever stands for our common interests, the true purpose of government, will get my vote.

  • I WANT TO RETRACT THE ABOVE COMMENT(after exhaustive research and time i need to change my point of view—-SCOTT RUSSELL SHOULD IN NO WAY BE RE-ELECTED) (READ ALL OF my COMMENTS TO COMPREHEND THIS CONCLUSION…………peace.

  • BENJA(you are absolutely right……………YOU HAVE BEEN ALL THE TIME!!!!!!!………….isnt that why scott is interfering with your ability to access town council meeting(s) video!?!?!?(READ my above RETRACTION.) and please dont tell me that they dont serve “local” strawberries at strawberry festival————-dont tell me they are from chile…..please dont tell me this………can i join you in any way i can “to protect and restore the natural enviroment” of the north fork. as far as “local” economy i truly believe if “we” just get rid of RUSSELL and CARDINALE(my “heart” remains in mattituck(especially new suffolk avenue)into new suffolk.) the ability to elect those “whoever stands for our common interest” will follow and the “local” economy will recover. do you listen to alex jones at …….”counteract 1984 with 1776″—-alex jones. if the british empire doesnt get here first. PEACE TO YOU COMRADE!!!

  • g- just informed me…………”the witch is dead the witch is dead(please pretend that the emoticon of a musical note is here) yeaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!!!!! one down!

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