Roger Rutherford is a well-known figure in the Village of Port Jefferson.
He’s not only been the general manager at Roger’s Frigate candy and ice cream store for the last 26 years, he’s also active in the business community. Rutherford has been involved with the Port Jefferson Business Improvement District for the last eight years.
“I live in Rocky Point, but I refer to Port Jefferson as my home,” he recently told GreaterPortJeff. “It’s something that is very dear to me.”
Now, Rutherford is doubling down on Port Jefferson after a contested mayoral election and the stepping down of former BID president and Tommy’s Place owner Tom Schafer.
Before resigning in July, Schafer — who also owns Harbor Grill in the village — appointed Rutherford, the board’s vice president, as his interim replacement.
“Our bylaws are very clear, after something like that transpires we must hold elections at the earliest date,” said Rutherford. The vote for the position will take place sometime this winter.
In the meantime, Rutherford’s aim is clear.
“My goal is to really execute the projects that the BID has been involved with to their fullest potential while keeping the taxpayer in mind,” said Rutherford, who plans to vie for the president position during the election.
The BID, under Rutherford, is moving forward with keeping the sidewalks and streets cleaned by rolling out a new, $15,000 hot-water pressure street cleaner.
This was a collaborative effort with the village government.
“The village paid for the machinery and the BID agreed to pay for the labor,” said Rutherford. “We want to keep the streets clean for our patrons.”
The BID is also moving forward with a $75,000 marketing campaign to promote the village.
“We want to highlight that we are more than a summer destination,” said Rutherford. “There’s a lot going in the village that hasn’t been out there to public, new restaurants, shops, and seasonal events.”
On Aug. 7, the BID’s board agreed to place ads on television, at railroad stations, and at bus stations. Some of the money will also be used to revamp the BID’s website and social media, too.
Port Jefferson restauranteur Lisa Harris — who owns East Main & Main, Prohibition Kitchen, the newly opened pie shop, Torte Jeff, and the soon-to-be-opened, Southern-inspired eatery Fork and Fiddle — is excited about the advertising effort.
“It’s important to showcase that Port Jefferson is a year-round location, ” said Harris.
Harris also told GreaterPortJeff she’d be interested if the BID used some of its budget to create an interactive map of the business district.
“I think that would do a great job in promoting everyone’s business,” she said.
Steve Muñoz, the owner of the Amazing Olive, would like to see continued collaboration between the BID and other organizations in the village.
“We need to do a better job at collaborating and communicating to make everything work,” said Muñoz, who is the founder of the area’s retail association, and a board member of the Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce.
Most recently, the BID worked with the village to partially fund a video promoting the area. Click here to see it.
“I am happy to see the BID, village and other partners working together to make our village a more beautiful place to live, work and visit,” said Rutherford.
Top: Interim BID president Roger Rutherford.