In the midst of a difficult year for the beach community, the Brigantine Chamber of Commerce has named a new interim president and launched an advertisement targeting the Philadelphia market.
Michael Brennan, who was named as successor to local newspaper publisher Emmett Turner, said the chamber plans to modernize and expand its outreach efforts in advance of next summer.
"We want to let people in Pennsylvania know we're here and ready for you," said Brennan, a 55-year-old real estate agent and appraiser. "The plan is to improve marketing for our members and the city because, you got to face it, we're competing with every island on the shore."
That began Tuesday with a full-page advertisement in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Turner, who plans to continue on the chamber's board of directors, said the ad was an effort to combat negative portrayals of the resort community after Hurricane Sandy.
"We needed to get the word out to let people know we are here, we are up and running and in business," he said.
After five years as president, Turner said "it seemed like the right time" to step down. Brennan said Turner had at times been like a "one-man show," particularly in organizing events.
In the last year, Brennan said, the chamber has embarked on an effort to modernize its operations, purchasing its first computer. While its website was flagged for a possible virus Wednesday, he said the chamber is working to fix the problem.
Last summer, he said the chamber ran a successful campaign of adding 30 new businesses to its rolls, but Hurricane Sandy hampered those efforts. Now, the chamber plans to ramp up another marketing campaign.
"We want to put Sandy behind us," he said. "Moving forward, we want to get (the city) back to its heyday."
This summer was a difficult one for real estate and some businesses in Brigantine. The city has reported that some fees were down and Brennan said the real estate business was off about 16 percent.
But, he added, there are signs of recovery, such as expansions to establishments such as Andre's Italian Restaurant and new developers renovating the long-vacant former Steak 38 restaurant on Brigantine Boulevard.
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