Steven Amadeo has been working at Miele's Italian Restaurant in Verona since he was 12 years old, when his parents purchased the business in 1974.
He has moved up through every job in the business, having been a dishwasher, busboy, waiter, cook and manager. Today, he is the proud owner of the restaurant where he grew up.
“I didn't choose the restaurant business, it chose me,” he said.
Amadeo joined the Verona Chamber of Commerce more than four years ago and has been serving as the chamber president since January.
“I wanted to give back to the community. I really never got involved with the town before and after being in town for so long I decided to participate more and volunteer. I am also a member of UNICO, another volunteer organization,” he said.
Amadeo recently sat down with Patch to talk to us about the business community.
How many members are there currently and how does this compare to previous years?
“We currently have about 25 members. In this past year we have gained quite a few new members and, unfortunately, a lot of businesses have gone under so we have lost a few members.”
“This year we are in a transitional year, we are trying to be more proactive. The economy got hurt and we are trying to help and do the right thing for businesses in town. We are looking forward to having our Fall Harvest Festival on Oct. 20 this year, sponsored by the Verona Chamber of Commerce.”
What type of businesses are doing well in Verona?
“The businesses that are doing the best are the ones that people need. Unfortunately, the economy has been a little rough so the businesses that aren't doing well are the ones that you don't necessarily need. The banks are doing well and so is West Essex Building Supply Company. Everyone needs a bank and you always need to do things around your home to keep it up. People aren't moving out and instead are fixing up what they have.”
What issues are the chamber currently working on?
“Some of the issues as of late are getting together with the town to organize a list of how to open up business in town, things that are required and people you need to contact. We recently had a conference with the town council on how to address making sure businesses look good, such as making sure everyone sweeps their sidewalks, awnings that aren't ripped or torn and basic upkeep of appearance.”
“Verona is a great town we need to keep it looking good. They recently put up new lamp posts in town and planted flowers, it looks very attractive. Verona can be labeled as a residential town that is business friendly.”
What do you feel is the toughest part of your job in acquiring new memberships?
“Getting people involved, networking and getting people to help themselves. Sometimes people are so busy with their own businesses that it makes it hard to make meetings and get involved and participate. We try to do a quarterly general membership meeting to get people involved.”
Who are your most recent success stories?
“We are having two grand openings in the upcoming weeks, “Salon Alchemy” on Bloomfield Avenue and a new cupcake store is opening up next week. It's nice to participate with people who have a new business and with the townspeople who can make it and do a ribbon cutting.”
For more information about the Verona Chamber of Commerce click here.