Business community year in review 2019

Warwick. The Warwick Valley Chamber of Commerce and its Merchant Guild were especially active in 2019.

| 31 Dec 2019 | 12:01

Once again there were far more entrepreneurs throughout the Town of Warwick who decided to take a risk and expand or open new businesses in 2019 than those who closed their doors.

The Warwick business community saw a large number of new openings and like most other years, moves, expansions, anniversaries, good news and bad news.

Michael Johndrow, executive director of the Warwick Valley Chamber of Commerce for the past 12 years, reported attending 36 ribbon cuttings.

On Jan. 4, new members of the Board of Directors of the Warwick Valley Chamber of Commerce assembled for their first meeting of the new term

However, not all celebrations involved grand openings or anniversaries.

In March, for example, the Bailey family, which in 2018 had purchased and renamed what was one of the most iconic location in and on Greenwood Lake, returned to its original name, The Breezy, which everyone had continued to call it.

Fund raising efforts

It was also another year when local restaurants and musicians supported the seventh annual Mardi Gras fund raiser, which raised more than $16,000 for Backpack Snack Attack.

On March 31, Warwick ShopRite raised $15,159 in the Caring Cheerios Contest and was, for the third consecutive year, one of 50 winning stores eligible to choose two associates to appear on the back of 150,000 editions of its 20th anniversary special-edition Cheerios boxes.

In April the Warwick Valley Chamber of Commerce also released and distributed 45,000 copies of the new annual Warwick Valley Official Guide for 2019-2020.

That same month Thomas G. Roberts stepped down as Warwick Merchant Guild’s president and handed over the reins to Corrine Iurato, who had been its treasurer and chair of the committee’s numerous events.

The Warwick Merchant Guild is a committee of the Warwick Valley Chamber of Commerce whose mission is to maintain and foster a vital, vibrant and thriving retail business community in the Village of Warwick.


And in April, Frank Truatt, the owner of Radio Station WTBQ (AM 1100/FM 93.5) based in Warwick and station manager Taylor Sterling announced the acquisition of another radio station, WGHT (AM 1500), based in nearby Pompton Lakes, New Jersey. WGHT has a listening audience of 2.35 million ranging from North Jersey counties including Passaic, Essex, Bergen and others as well as New York City and the Metropolitan area.

Later that year WTBQ also celebrated the 25th anniversary of the revival of the station under Truatt’s stewardship.

The Computer Guy, which offers an array of computer services for residents and businesses, opened its third location at 2 North Church St. in Goshen. Thanks to its reputation for prompt and reasonably priced service, The Computer Guy had come a long way since 2010 when it first opened on West Street in the Village of Warwick. The business was a success and it soon opened another location on Meadow Road in the Village of Florida and in 2018 moved from its original West Street location to a new building in Warwick at 2 Overlook Drive.

And although there was heavy rain at times, the vendors were in place and shoppers turned out for the 26th annual Warwick Valley Farmers’ Market on Sunday, May 12

On July 30, Mayor Michael Newhard and members of the Warwick Valley Chamber of Commerce joined Vogel & Moore Insurance owner Ann Marie Moore, her mother and founder Ann Vogel and staff for a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the firm

Town of Warwick Supervisor Michael Sweeton also reported that work to redevelop the former Mid-Orange Correctional Facility had continued at an accelerated pace with five new businesses under construction, four under contract to purchase buildings or lots in addition to already established businesses on the site

But on a sadder note, Thomas G. Roberts, the proprietor of Ye Olde Warwick Book Shoppe on Main Street announced his plans to close the book store after a year and a half of plummeting sales. The store had been a part of the fabric of Warwick for the last seven and a half years.

Gloria Washington-Mines, owner of Gloria’s Total Beauty Salon & Spa, in Warwick’s Meadowcrest Mall at 127 Route 94 S, also decided to close the doors of the popular salon and move on to a new career.

Chamber has 520 members

The Warwick Valley Chamber of Commerce and its Merchant Guild were especially active in 2019.

In addition to signing up 63 new members, which brought its total membership to 520 members, the chamber continued sponsoring business mixers, networking and educational events, the Tourism Initiative, Operation Clean Sweep, the Warwick Valley Farmers Market, the annual Tourist Guide, Community Showcase, the 25th annual Taste of Warwick, Applefest and the presentation of awards to businesses and business leaders at its 80th annual Membership Celebration.

And last year participating merchants and organizations, with the cooperation of the Village of Warwick, continued traditional celebrations of the Sidewalk Sale, Ladies Night Out, Queen for a Day, Concerts at Railroad Green, free music in the Courtyard and Home for the Holidays.

The ninth annual Small Business Saturday on Nov. 23 was also declared a huge success

We know. We haven’t mentioned everything but let’s not forget the visits by Santa, the free horse and wagon rides and Apple Eve.

Happy New Year!