Rivertowns Now Have Their Own Uber-Chamber of Commerce
by Barrett Seaman
Maggie Segrich is really into networking. Now, with the formation of a Rivertowns Chamber of Commerce, which will have members from Hastings, Dobbs Ferry, Irvington and Ardsley, she is taking it to a new level.
Shortly after she opened Alice & Chains, her bespoke jewelry shop, now located in Dobbs Ferry, she launched a Women Entrepreneurs group in Irvington. After relocating to Dobbs in 2016, she began reaching out to small business owners there, sponsoring events, hosting coffees where people could share ideas on how to promote their businesses.
“It’s kind of like speed dating,” Segrich said of her networking sessions. “You sit down at a table with someone, introduce yourself and your business and hear about theirs.”
An event she held at Harper’s Restaurant in Dobbs Ferry last March, specifically for women owners, drew people from other area villages, prompting her to think about expanding. After every event, she said, people would come up and ask her, “Can you do more?”
As of the end of August, the new four-village chamber had 86 members, ranging from solo practitioners to large non-profits like St. Christopher’s Home and Mercy College. Each village will have its own committee with representatives on the Chamber Board.
Irvington might, for example, focus its efforts on its fall Rocktoberfest, featuring music and entertainment, where business owners can set up kiosks. Dobbs Ferry will have its annual Ferry Festa, where the intersection of Main and Cedar Streets is closed off for pedestrians. Ardsley has an Ardsley Day. Segrich’s mission is to allow these localized efforts to benefit from a larger pool of knowledge.
The new uber-chamber fills a void. None of these villages currently has a functioning Chamber of Commerce, similar to the Greater Sleepy Hollow-Tarrytown Chamber.
“We do often look at what they’re doing,” she said, adding that she also relied on advice from the Greater New York Chamber, which has about 30,000 members.
Still very much in its infancy, the new Rivertown’s Chamber will need to staff up in order to deliver. Small businesses will be asked to pay $75 to join; solo practitioners get in for $50, while larger enterprises, like Mercy College or Stop & Shop, will pay more.
The next meeting of the new group will be September 27 at 7 p.m. at Doubleday’s Restaurant, 83 Main Street in Dobbs Ferry. Future monthly meetings will be elsewhere.