SUFFERN, N.Y. -- Is social media saving Suffern?
Before 2014, there wasn’t one single entity in Suffern that shared community news and promoted businesses, says Alex Evans.
Evans, who manages public relations for the village’s Chamber of Commerce, said the organization was on Facebook then, but only 160 members “liked” its page -- now it’s well over 800.
Membership has likewise climbed, from 40 in 2014 to 100 now.
The Chamber uses an online marketing company to send out email blasts on everything from lists of restaurants to sports events.
“It’s created quite a buzz,” Evans said.
“People used to think that nothing happens here,” she said. “That’s clearly not the case.”
Some of that excitement centers on the revival of the Lafayette Avenue corridor, the village's main drag, where the first brand-new building in more than 50 years opened last fall. The Suffern Building Works houses an architecture firm and other businesses.
Just a few years ago, there were a dozen empty storefronts there, now that’s down to three, she said.
To continue that “upswing,” Evans said, Suffern would like to see more “diversity” in businesses.
Right now there are restaurants, a pet groomer, and a consignment shop that is going upscale.
A book or antique store would be nice, but mostly, Evans said, Suffern would love to have an independent outfitter that sells gear for hiking, fishing and camping.
Suffern partners with Sloatsburg, Tuxedo and Harriman to promote amenities in the Route 59 corridor, such as hiking trails.
Among those amenities is Torne Valley Vineyards in Hillburn. Near a rock-climbing spot, it is a popular venue for visitors, concerts and weddings.
Suffern, known as a “quaint” village, wants to re-brand itself as a “trail town,” Evans said.
Other signs of life include luxury apartments going up on Orange Avenue.
The Chamber works with the local historical society to boost tourism by posting events – such as its street fair and farmers’ market – on the society’s Facebook page.
Suffern has "great bones and definitely has substance," Evans said, "It just took a social media campaign to connect the dots."
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