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The inspiration for this week’s column came as I reflected on the brunch supporting our County Executive’s campaign. Maryellen Odell is someone that I respect, and I truly feel she cares about the business community and is passionate about the economic well-being of our county.  During the meeting, she spoke about the need to make words like sewer and infrastructure into “buzz words” as these are the biggest challenges to our economic development.  Her words prompted some thought about road blocks. People tell me every day their opinions on what should be done to make things better. Well, this is my challenge to those people: GET INVOLVED.  Get involved today, join our board, get on a committee, help write our legislative priorities for 2017. Below are some roadblocks in doing business in this county that you and I can overcome together.

  1. Communicating who you are and what you do. The chambers, tourism, EDC/IDA and the county need a streamlined process for a new or existing business to post events, grand openings, specials, sales etc.
  2. Workforce development. This is the number one issue I hear from business owners. We need training and education and one place to find out who is hiring.
  3. A hotel is so needed for us to attract people to come to our events, attractions, parks, commercial recreation, shops and dining. We have so much to offer, but people either leave the county to get away with friends and family or drive right past us seeking destinations like Beacon or New Paltz that have overnight accommodations.

These are just a few ideas that come to mind. We need fresh blood to get mobilized and ensure a great future for Putnam County businesses. We cannot sit around and complain about our elected officials if we are not willing to help ourselves.  Please…. Get involved!

-Jennifer Maher, Chairwoman, the Putnam County Chamber of Commerce, “A business advocacy group”

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