Growth and expansion are not bad words

To the Editor:

We need to take a close look at what is going on in our area. Has anyone noticed how many Altamont businesses have closed, cut back hours and cut back days? That’s very alarming!

Think of how different the area would be if we did not have local businesses. I am sorry but this saddens me so. Driving past businesses does not support them. They are not being paid to be part of the beautiful architecture in the village.

Over 20 years ago, I was searching for a place to call home and raise my family. I drove into Altamont on the day of the PTA garage sale and saw The Hungerford Market, the antiques store, the Penguin Diner, the Home Front Café, and more. I could see us making memories here. I was hooked.

I want other people to experience what I did. I spent countless hours in the bagel shop chatting with neighbors, shopped at the plaza to get all my deli items, then would walk to the Penguin to get ice cream.

We need to look at making memories and supporting our local businesses so we do not become a drive-through village.

The Guilderland Chamber of Commerce has seen the rising need to get involved in the area. I have started the A.B.C., the Altamont Business Council, a chapter of Guilderland Chamber of Commerce. We understand the need to maintain an identity with the area.

I have been hosting monthly public meetings to listen to the local business owners and understand their hurdles. We have had meetings with the elected officials to start a dialogue and held discussions about growth, support, and expansion.

And no, they are not bad words to hear. The key is controlled growth and being involved. Simple.

The chamber offers a level of support that is immeasurable. We have resources, supports, and staffing to assist in supporting and maintaining a robust business community.

I know I cannot be the only one that sees the need to make a change! Please band together with us to make a difference! Live and shop local! Support your neighbors and their businesses.

Michelle Viola Straight

President/CEO

Guilderland Chamber

of Commerce

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