Business group plans honors

The Bronx Business Alliance will hold its first annual awards dinner at Pelham Split-Rock Golf Course on Thursday, September 17.

The fundraiser will honor four individuals who helped the Bronx Business Alliance grow into a resource for the business community in community boards 9, 10, 11, and 12.

The group was founded as a business study group and has grown in leaps and bounds in recent years.

The gala will honor Assemblyman Carl Heastie, Bronx Chamber of Commerce chairman Joseph Kelleher, New York City Department of Small Business outreach team director Bernadette Nation, and Councilman Jimmy Vacca.

“If it were not for the Bronx Business Alliance there would be no Westchester Square merchants association or business improvement district effort,” said John Bonizio, president of the BBA board of directors.

“We were able to increase the Bronx Business Alliance’s funding by 400% recently by going to all of the local elected officials.”

Bonizio said that BBA executive director Margaret Arrighi has done a great job at getting together all of the merchants in communities around the north Bronx to “organize, educate and liberate our merchant corridors.”

Arrighi said that much of the credit goes to the people who will be honored at the gala on September 17.

“Carl Heastie got the funding which enabled the Bronx Business Alliance to go from a study group to having its own storefront,” Arrighi said. “What we found when we started putting our outreach operation together was that in order to have economic revitalization it was necessary to have the different business associations work together.”

In addition to Heastie, Councilman Jimmy Vacca was also instrumental in enabling the reach of the Bronx Business Alliance to spread into his district. Bernadette Nation is available 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week when disaster strikes the merchant corridors in the Bronx Business Alliance’s service area.

“When we had disasters in Westchester Square and on White Plains Road, Bernadette Nation was meeting with merchants at 5 a.m. in the morning and getting them services,” Arrighi said.

Arrighi said that Joseph Kelleher, who works for Simone Development, which runs the Hutchinson Metro Center, will play a key role in the redevelopment of the Westchester Square area.

For more information, please call the Bronx Business Alliance at (718) 231-2847.

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