Chris Hane in Bellport

Chris Hane, the co-owner of MVP Automotive in Bellport and Brookhaven, was sworn into another two-year term as president of the Bellport Chamber of Commerce last month.

He and the rest of the board took the oath of office at Bellport Country Club.  

We recently visited with Hane to talk about the current business landscape in the South Country area, and learned his advice for local business owners  — and all chamber members.

Q: What is the current state of the business community?

A: “Some people are telling me they’ve had record-breaking years. Generally I’ve heard good things, especially with people looking to expand their businesses.”

Q: How would you describe the scene in Bellport Village, specifically?

A: “Downtown Bellport Village is stronger than ever; we have close to every vacancy filled on Main Street. There’s a lot of foot traffic during the summer, for sure. And our Bellport Day had another record-breaking year, attendance wise. The streets were packed. We also had another massive Halloween parade.”

Q: What would you say is the biggest challenge for the village?

A: “Getting people to come down. A lot of people don’t even realize that there is this quaint Bellport Village. Most people think of the old Bellport Outlets, they don’t think of an old, New England-style town. The chamber has tried in the past to promote our historic downtown Bellport and we continue try to do that.”

Q: South Country is such a large and diverse area, how do you accommodate all these different businesses?

A: “What I always say is this, whether you have a business here or just want to do business in the area, become a member and go to the meetings to network and just get yourself known. We’re going to promote the chamber but we want to be able to help people promote themselves as well, either through the different sponsorships that are available, or just through getting involved in different activities. Come out and help out at an event, so people get to know your face. Just show up for something.”

Q: How would you describe the chamber’s relationship with the village government?

A: “Bellport Village has been an amazing partner. They are so willing to work with us on any event — I just have to try to remember to give them enough advance. They’ve never said no to anything we’ve wanted to do. They’ve even come to us wanting to do more. We’re excited to work with them.

Q: What about people who might not have the time to participate?

A: “Get on the [chamber] website. People are hitting the website and finding things That in itself is value enough to become a member, even if you can’t show up or participate.”

Photo: Chris Hane in front of TOLA. in Bellport Village last month. (Credit: Michael White)