The Levittown Chamber of Commerce met on Tuesday evening at La Focaccia restaurant, discussing the overall state of business in town.
Louise Cassano, a member of the chamber's board of directors, gave an update on the chamber's "Campaign to Revitalize Hempstead Turnpike."
With businesses closing down and vacancies popping up around town, the chamber has been running ads in the pennysaver each month for the past six months to get the word out about locations in town that are available for business.
"We’re now in the next phase of the campaign, a more positive approach which denotes the businesses that are re-opening," Cassano said. "The last edition had full-page ads congratulating new businesses opening up in town."
Unfortunately, Cassano said that as soon as new businesses are opening, even more are closing.
"We just heard tonight that the Indian Restaurant [Kiran Palace] just closed down," Cassano said. "That seems to be what’s happening all over town. So, there’s still a lot of work to be done, and that’s what we’re emphasizing in the campaign."
One thing the chamber has been doing is sending out letters to landlords around town, asking them to get in touch. There are opportunities for them to get some money that comes down through HUD, to the town, and allows them to revitalize their store fronts to the extent they want to revitalize, Cassano said.
"We have not heard back from these businesses yet, but we’ll continue to follow up with the businesses and hopefully set up a meeting with them," Cassano said.
Also present at the meeting was Jamie Bogenshutz, Executive Director of the YES Community Counseling Center, located at 152 Centre Lane in Levittown.
YES is a community-based, non-profit organization which has a staff made of social workers, mental health counselors, addiction specialists, and medical professionals who are trained in state of the art practices to help those in need, according to their website.
The center is getting ready to launch their grand opening ceremony in Levittown in September, which will increase the amount of services that the center provides. Currently, the center only operates the Commerce Plaza program out of Levittown, a six-week business program for fifth and sixth graders.
"The programs we run in Massapequa will be in Levittown and it will be focused on adolescents and family, so it will be dealing with kids who are struggling with issues in the community, drugs, alcohol," Bogenshutz told Patch after the meeting.
Bogenshutz said she feels that it's a tough time for teenagers everywhere, not just in Levittown.
"I wouldn’t say Levittown kids look different than Plainedge kids or Seaford kids - there are kids who are getting into trouble and not making good choices, and it doesn’t matter where they live," Bogenshutz said. "It’s just kids who sometimes make poor choices. For us, we just want to be able to provide a resource."
The center operates with the help of local volunteers, donations and the support from sources like the New York State Office of Children & Family Services.
"We’re going to do the best we can with what we have," Bogenshutz said.
What do you think about the state of small business in Levittown? Tell us in the comments below.