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Merchants looking to promote local businesses

Town of Wilson officials and some local business owners hope to launch a business association, and they are looking to a founder of the Town of Niagara's successful group for advice.

An informational meeting is planned for 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Wilson House Inn, 300 Lake St. The guest speaker will be Gary Strenkoski, who serves on the board of the Town of Niagara's Business and Professional Association.

Niagara's organization has nearly 500 members and is about a dozen years old, Strenkoski said last week.

"We get better and better each year, and we're all-volunteer," said Strenkoski, vice president of Strenkoski Bros. Construction Co. in the Town of Niagara.

Strenkoski said he feels his group serves an important role as a business advocate to local and state governments and by fostering relationships among business people.

"We have all types of business and all kinds of professionals from every walk of life," he said.

Wilson Town Supervisor Joseph Jastrzemski said forming a business association has been a priority since he took office last year.

"In order to grow and be successful, we need a business association," he said. "We need to help promote each other and tourism in our town."

Wilson Town Councilman James Muscoreil is chairman of the town's Tourism Committee and organized Tuesday's meeting.

"I see nothing but positive things coming from this," Muscoreil said.

He estimated there are about 60 businesses in this town of 6,000 residents, where the population swells during the tourist season due to its location along Lake Ontario.

Wilson Village Mayor Thomas Bateman recalled that Wilson had a business association many years ago, but he said it ran out of steam after only about five years.

"This is a wonderful thing," Bateman said. "Anytime you can get a group of people together with a vested interest in the community, you can make things happen."

Jim Bowman, owner of Wilson's Lakeside IGA, agreed.

"This is very important," he said. "In a small town, you don't have a large population -- from a business perspective -- to draw from. You use a business association to get your message out, and when all of the businesses work together, they'll thrive."

Muscoreil encourages all Wilson businesses to send a representative to Tuesday's meeting. He can be reached at 628-8052 for more information.

e-mail: niagaranews@buffnews.com

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