The Throggs Neck Merchants Association swore in its new president Bob Jean on Wednesday, January 25.
The other new officers are Richard Rosario, vice president; Angela Molinini, secretary; Hussein Nouri, technology director; Patrick Caruso, government liaison; John Marano, resident advisor; Steven Kaufman, legal counsel and Lilyana Pekic, event coordinator.
“It feels really good,” said Jean who added he is excited to get to work with the community.
Jean, who has served on the TMNA executive board for three years, felt he “always wanted to do more” for his community ever since his days as a union rep for the Communication Workers of America Local 1101.
During his time with the union – a time in which Jean had been working as a repairman for Verizon – he said he saw the work union members did for the community which inspired him.
Since leaving Verizon in 2002 he has worked to give back to the Throggs Neck and Pelham Bay communities.
He owned Health Unlimited on Hobart Avenue in Pelham Bay for seven years and has owned a florist, Anthony’s Flower Farm, on East Tremont Avenue for six and a half years.
Each fall from October 1st to 9 p.m. on Halloween, Jean hosts a pumpkin patch for children at Anthony’s Flower farm.
Children and their families are invited to paint and carve pumpkins.
The proceeds from the pumpkin patch go towards toys for needy children around the holidays.
Jean said he isn’t looking for a pat on the back with his work and believes his new position will give him and the TNMA a chance to continue that work.
“It might sound a little cliche,” said Jean, “but I truly believe you can move mountains with people if you treat them the right way.”
In addition to community outreach, Jean and the local business owners have also been working on establishing a Throggs Neck Business Improvement District.
“The BID process is going well,” he said.
While acknowledging the process was moving forward, Jean said he couldn’t offer too much info on the BID’s formation since the parties involved are still in the initial stages.
“We’re still trying to get all our ducks in a row,” he said.
John Cerini, the first president of the TNMA, and its founder in 2006, believes with Jean at the helm, the TMNA is in good hands.
“I’m confident Bobby can do this,” said Cerini. “From the few meetings we’ve already had you can see his enthusiasm and I’m really excited about what he can do.”
Cerini said Jean has already discussed implementing better networking and communication between merchants.
In addition, the TMNA could even be considering a community discount card which would mean discounts for residents of the Throggs Neck community at Throggs Neck stores.
Cerini said he is also looking forward to the creation of a Throggs Neck BID.
He said he understands the skepticism that may come from having to pay fees associated with the BID but he believes it will be an investment in the community.
“We need to invest in our community and invest in ourselves,” he said.
Cerini added that a BID will help the Throggs Neck business community compete with nearby malls and chain stores outside of the area.
He also said he is hoping the BID wll attract an anchor store to draw more shoppers to the Throggs Neck shopping area.
Kaufman, who is a local attorney, held the president’s post for the past four years.