CHATHAM, NJ - Randy Dembo has lived in Chatham for 40 years and he's noticed that he has one of the best views of Main Street from his Legends Gallery storefront.
"I've seen the revitalization of downtown Chatham right across the street from me at Sorriso Kitchen, where people come to town and line up to get seated," Dembo said.
Dembo also got to witness another step in the renaissance of the Chatham downtown that took place on Tuesday night when the first meeting of the newly-formed Chatham Business Alliance was hosted by Karen and Jimmy Bellas, the owners of Sorriso Kitchen.
More than 30 people showed up for the meeting and Vicki Fife, Borough of Chatham Council member and Turpin Realtor, made the opening remarks (see the video below).
Those in attendance for the initial Chatham Business Alliance (CBA) expressed excitement about the prospects of the organization.
Axlyn Sommer has been in Chatham for 25 years as the owner of T.M. Ward Coffee, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary this month. She gave her backing to the CBA and volunteered to serve on the board.
"I'm so excited," Sommer said. "The numbers are going to make the difference for all of us. We all want the same thing."
Susie Kelleher of the KW Law Group at 291 Main Street in Chatham wrote the bylaws for the CBA and filed the application to become a 501c non-profit organization. Kelleher and her business partner, Ben Weisfelner, will serve as the co-presidents of the CBA.
Tracey Tango of Art with Heart Designs will be the vice president; Vicki Fife will be the recording secretary; Anupama Roy of HSBC will be the treasurer, and Melissa Drozdoff of the Chatham Courier will be the recording secretary. Ellen Eppie of Turpin and Sommer are board members.
The Mission Statement of the CBA is "To promote business opportunities, economic development and community growth."
The Vision Statement: "To improve Chatham's business environment by giving the business community a voice and a platform to be heard."