This is from the Poughkeepsie Journal last week. It's a great example of what the Chamber of Commerce can facilitate. With a little direction and good leadership, I think the Chamber could be a great partner with our efforts.

Mary Abdoo & You is getting a new look.

A handful of local businesses, led by the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce, will remodel the interior of the 58-year-old dress shop on Main Street in the City of Poughkeepsie as a gift to its new owner.

Lifelong city resident Jeanne Biever, 39, bought the business from the Abdoo family in August 2007. The store's longtime owner, Mary Abdoo, died at 92 following an October 2006 car crash. Abdoo's sisters, Freda Abdoo and Gemile Marrone, were also in the crash; Marrone died a year later as a result.

The store has carried bridal dresses and evening gowns since March 9, 1951, when it opened. Biever said she added "cute cocktail dresses," which she buys in the Garment District in Manhattan, tuxedos and dresses sold on consignment.

"I thought this would be a wonderful business to be in," she said.

Biever said she had previously worked in the restaurant industry, but always wanted to own her own business.

She said the chamber approached her with the idea to give the store a fresh look.

"They came to me and said, 'Guess what?' " she said.

"It's like the TV shows do when they go in and rebuild a home," Charles North, president and CEO of the chamber, said Tuesday at a news conference.

The store will get new paint, a new rug and a "whole new look," said Joel Sasser, president of FW Interior Design of Wappingers Falls. "Small businesses helping each other, especially in this economy, really pays off," he said.

Biever said she was "blessed."

"It has been a tough two years. A lot of people say, 'Get out of Main Street. Move.' Absolutely not," she said.

"She's always worked for someone else. This scared her to death," said her father, Duane Biever, a city resident, about his daughter's taking over the shop.

FW Interior Design is leading the redesign with help from chamber members Gloede Neon Signs, Hudson Valley Office Furniture, Get Real Surfaces, Davis Furniture, Krebs Carpeting , J. Spilbor Painting and Decorating, Lola's Café and Gourmet Catering and Lowe's Home Center in Poughkeepsie. Work wil begin next week and is expected to be done by the end of February, chamber spokeswoman Tammy Cilione said.

Hannah Abdoo was happy to hear the chamber is helping with the shop. She said Mary Abdoo was constantly keeping it up and added it's not an inexpensive project. "I'm really delighted that it's there," she said of the store. "I really hope and pray that Jeanne is doing well."

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Comment by Elizabeth Celaya on February 3, 2010 at 2:39pm
Jeanne Biever has been involved in some of our Middle Main efforts. This is the kind of community commitment we need, for new businesses as well as long-established anchors.

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