Pat Russo is the new Chamber president

The Wilton Chamber of Commerce announced on Oct. 1 that its new president will be Pat Russo, a longtime resident of Wilton who is a real estate agent with Realty 7. Mr. Russo will replace attorney Tierney O’Hearn in the position.

Speaking by phone last week, Mr. Russo told The Bulletin he was honored to be elected to the role of president.

“I’m excited about it because it’s one of those things that shows people have confidence in you to run. I think I can add value to the office, and help make the Chamber even more relevant to the town,” he said.

As a businessman himself, Mr. Russo said, one of his favorite aspects of Wilton’s commercial community is its hometown feeling.

“Unlike other towns, we don’t have a lot of big chain stores. We have a lot of mom-and-pop stores that we like to support. They add a certain flavor to the town. It’s very one-on-one. They’re based in the area and they’re trying to survive,” he said.

In recent years, the Wilton Chamber of Commerce has achieved higher levels of membership than ever before. Recently, expanding membership has been helped by the new storefront the Chamber opened in Wilton Center, Mr. Russo said.

Though much of its efforts focus on Wilton Center, Mr. Russo said, the Chamber also has plans to help South Wilton grow and succeed during the course of his tenure.

The new president is excited to work alongside the town of Wilton, whose executive leadership has always been helpful to the Chamber, he said.

“They’re always giving input, making suggestions, and keeping us up to date. We’re also excited to work with the Economic Development Commission, with a focus on driving businesses to look at Wilton, stay in Wilton, and stay competitive.

“We go hand in hand because making Wilton an attractive and convenient town benefits everybody,” Mr. Russo said.

One of the reasons the new Chamber president has remained dedicated to volunteering in town is other residents’ equal devotion.

“I’ve been involved in a lot of other groups in my 18 years of being in Wilton. You can see the enthusiasm, and it’s obvious people feel responsible for the health of the town,” he said.

This devotion to the town doesn’t end at community service, he said.

“We’ve all been faced with challenges and increased costs. But here we are doing things that are relevant to the health of the town, and that includes shopping in Wilton Center. Look at the Village Market, for instance. Yes, you’ll have businesses that come and go, whether it’s a result of the Internet or a flawed business plan, but people are always interested in starting new ventures in Wilton.”

A local Realtor for 11 years, Mr. Russo works with Realty 7 on Danbury Road.

“I have a job as a Realtor and I occasionally do commercial sales as well. I work in Wilton and surrounding Fairfield County towns,” Mr. Russo said.

“Realty 7, owned by Peg Koellmer, has been very involved with this community, and it’s not owned by one of the big chains. We’re an organization that’s rooted in the town, and we represent our clients at the highest level.”