The start of a new year brings a new president to Kings Park’s Chamber of Commerce.
who takes the place of long time chamber president Charles Gardner, is the owner of several local businesses and properties in Kings Park, including Tanzi Plaza and Kings Park Hardware, and says he islooking forward to his new role. Tanzi was the chamber’s vice president in the late 90’s and early 2000. He stepped away from the role to be part of the town of Smithtown’s Board of Zoning, of which he is still a member today.
Patch recently caught up with Tony to chat about his new position as president.
Patch: What do you see as some of the challenges facing the downtown area and Main Street?
Tony Tanzi: I just want to see more vibrancy. I think we’ve got the bones of a great downtown. We have great access to the water and to parks. The chamber could be a great resource for property and business owners to build on what we’ve got.
P: What made you want to get more involved?
TT: I think the downtown is under utilized. I’d like to be able to see how we can take advantage of the people who visit Sunken Meadow for more than just visiting. The chamber can do a little outreach. I’d like to see if there are agencies that enable us to reach out to retailers that may give us leads on new businesses that are interested in coming into to town.
P: Parking is often mentioned as a limiting factor to the downtown area.
TT: It is kind of the whole chicken before the egg thing. We have enough parking for what we have, but we suffer because we don’t have enough business. It will take some planning. I am a business owner and I have some property in downtown. I have experience with bringing in retail and I think the chamber should be a partner with trying to help out property owners and business owners. Finding out what we are missing and what others think we seem to be missing.
P: Is a Starbucks in Kings Park’s future?
TT: If you view Kings Park as a pie and a certain amount of business goes to each retailer, you don’t want to split the pie, you want to compliment it. I am not for or against any retailer. Some of the bigger retailers don’t think we have a demographic, but I think the numbers are here.
P: There have been some positive changes to the downtown area recently, including two new businesses. What are your thoughts?
TT: The downtown has made huge changes in five years. We finally have a great group of restaurants and I think that is the first step. Musical Moments, without a doubt, is turning downtown into a place for people to congregate. I think they have had a positive influence and if we could expand on those, it can only help.
P: What are some of the things you’d like to accomplish as chamber president in the upcoming year.
TT: I’ve just been put back on the board, but I think we can be one of the leading forces with grants or private funds. Things like the hike and bike trail where you can get government grant money. I’d love see something like “Clean up Kings Park”, where we can move forward with having the streets swept, make it more like that old downtown, that small kind of feeling. I guess it sounds corny, but I’d like that.
I'm just excited and flattered to be chosen. I hope I can do a good job. I will certainly have tough time filling the shoes of Charlie Gardner!