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‘Fireside chats’ planned to promote dialogue in business community

Members of the town’s Economic Development Committee have planned a series of “fireside chats” to promote dialogue among the business community.

During a Town Board work session Tuesday, committee chair Jennifer Del Vaglio outlined proposed topics and reasons for holding the event series.

“There are a lot of people that are trying to do new startup businesses or have smaller businesses and maybe have some roadblocks, or are not sure where to take their business for the next steps,” she explained. “But also in the community, we have a lot of successful businesses,” that could serve as mentors to drive economic development and employment locally.

Each event will be moderated and held at The Lin Beach House in Greenport on the second Tuesday of the month starting Oct. 8 with a forum on the service and retail industry.

November’s event will focus on the food, beverage and agriculture industries, December will be for construction and real estate and January’s event will cover hospitality and tourism businesses.

Ms. Del Vaglio said they are aiming to have at least three local business people speak about their experiences at each event.

Denis Noncarrow, the town’s government liaison officer, said the events are part of the committee’s effort to stimulate development.

“We have a lot of people with startups and new ideas who are asking how to move ahead,” he said.

Last spring, the committee partnered with the Cutchogue New Suffolk Library and Stony Brook Small Business Development Center for a series of seminars that covered forming a business plan and guerrilla marketing.

Ms. Del Vaglio said they are planning to host a similar series at the library over the winter to cover topics such as banking, tax preparedness and hiring.

Supervisor Scott Russell, who said the fireside chats were a great idea, noted that businesses looking to open in Southold should also be aware of local zoning rules.

“Ultimately the last thing that they’re going to really need to know is zoning,” he said. “A lot of the ideas out there are great, but they need to be consistent with what the town code requires.”

He noted that the town has, in some instances, tweaked the code to accommodate “new trends.”

Ms. Del Vaglio agreed and pointed out that chief building inspector Michael Verity is slated to speak at the Sept. 16 committee meeting, but that his insight could be helpful at a future forum.

“I think the more education is out there, the less roadblocks you have,” she said.

Photo caption: Denis Noncarrow outlines the plan at Tuesday’s Town Board work session. (Credit: Tara Smith)

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