Chamber of Commerce receives $15,000 grant to support marketing campaigns


Mila Banfield

The Easter Bunny’s visit to Pelham was one of the marketing efforts supported by the Chamber of Commerce in the past year.

The Pelham Chamber of Commerce has received a $15,000 grant from the Westchester County Business FIRST program that will be used to support marketing programs for local businesses.

The program was rolled out last year by the county’s office of economic development to aid small businesses and nonprofits impacted by the pandemic. Administered through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a total of $10 million in funds are available, with a competitive application process.

This is the second grant the chamber has received from the county. The first $10,000 award was used to fund several town-wide marketing initiatives, including Small Business Saturday, Go Green to Spend Your Green, Hunt for Heads, Pelham’s first Random Act of Kindness Day, Spring Into Pelham and bringing the Easter Bunny to town and offering professional family photos for all.

The chamber plans to use the second grant to continue its marketing efforts into 2022.

“It’s our goal to continue to execute meaningful events that connect our community to our local businesses and leave our residences feeling proud to be a part of a special community,” said Chamber of Commerce President Cristina Chianese. “It’s crucial to remind the community why to shop local. We live in a town where our local businesses owners know us, they anticipate our needs right as we step in the door, they greet our children and our families with warm smiles and a deep sense of hospitality. Have you ever walked into Decicco & Son’s with a little one? Their kind and friendly staff are quick to greet you and invite you to a butter cookie at the bakery. I can assure you this does not happen in big box stores.”

In each of its campaigns, the chamber aims to remind people about the many local offerings in town, evoke emotional connections with businesses, showcase the value of supporting Pelham companies for the greater good of the community and create experiences that larger stores and websites like Amazon can’t. 

“We would like to thank a few very special people for making this grant possible,” said Chianese. “First, if it was not for Gloria Benkwitt working around the clock to organize the necessary financial documents required for the application process, we would not have received this grant. We also want to thank Shari Rosen Ascher, director of small business and chambers of commerce for Westchester County. She has been one of our biggest cheerleaders with ongoing support and encouragement. She is one of the greatest assets any chamber in Westchester has. And lastly, our county executive, Mr. George Latimer. Mr. Latimer makes himself available to us monthly for our calls to provide updates and to respond to our members’ questions and concerns. As a former marketing executive himself, he understands the value and importance of all the work we do through our chambers and he continually finds ways to support us.”