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Bank creates community board

Pine Plains — The Bank of Millbrook, which in October 2010 acquired Stissing National Bank, is forming an advisory board made up of businesspeople from Pine Plains and Stanfordville.“We felt it was important to hear from the business community about what we can do as a bank to promote business and to encourage business within the communities that the Stissing National Bank serve,” said George Whalen III, president.He said the bank’s intent is to learn about the communities’ needs as well as its opportunities. Whalen said he relied on the advice of community leaders to help handpick who would be on the Stissing Business Development Board.“We included some former directors of the Stissing National Bank with the thought that they would have great history, insight and knowledge into those two communities,” said Whalen. “Then we selected non-Stissing board members who are business people and would bring a wealth of knowledge and information to the group.”The founding board members consist of Tammy George, owner of the Paige George Literacy Foundation.; S. Wilson Carter, owner of Pine Plains Fine Wine and Spirits; Dominick Calabro, owner of Factory Lane Auto Repair; Nasir Mahmood, owner of the Pine Plains Pharmacy; John Battistoni and Jerry Chestney, retired and former board members of the Stissing National Bank; and Mark Burdick, owner of Big Rock Farms. There is not a set of scheduled terms for the board members. However, Whalen said there is an understanding that it is a fluid committee that will change over time. The board has had two official meetings; one was held last summer while the other was held more recently. The goal is for the board to meet three or four times a year to discuss a variety of topics focused on the local business community. The Bank of Millbrook has already started to make changes that grew from the advisory board’s first meeting. The Bank of Millbrook is working on some major façade renovations at the Pine Plains branch. Whalen said the Bank of Millbrook found a historical photograph of the Pine Plains branch’s original building from the early 1800s.“We wanted to bring it back to its original look,” said Whalen. “What we did was we showed the committee the historical photo and then a potential facade change with some signage and shrubbery. The committee discussed it and there was a lot of enthusiasm and excitement that the Bank of Millbrook would invest significant dollars into the downtown district.”After receiving a positive response from the board, the Bank of Millbrook has already started on the renovations, including work on the façade, signage and shrubbery.“That was one thing that comes to mind that we did talk about at that board level and were acting on starting today. I personally am very excited about it,” Whalen said.

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