Riverhead’s young entrepreneurs show their stuff at ‘Chamber Tank’

Three Riverhead High School students selling Blue Wave Bandanas will be given a free vendor booth to sell their products at the next Cardboard Boat Race in downtown Riverhead. 

Three other students plan to open their own vegan restaurant. 

Those were some of the results of “Chamber Tank,” a collaborative effort between the Riverhead Chamber of Commerce and Riverhead High School.

The program is based on the popular “Shark Tank” television show, but the so-called sharks are local business owners and members of the Riverhead Chamber of Commerce.

They worked with business teacher Diana LaSpina and assistant principal Nicole Taylor, who collaborated to set up the program. 

The chamber members met with students on seven consecutive Wednesdays.

A total of 24 students on 17 teams participated and on Tuesday night, the winners were announced at the Residence Inn on Route 58. Five groups were awarded $600 prizes and four others received $250 prizes. 

“Our expectations were exceeded by these presentations,” said chamber president Bob Kern. “We are thinking about them all the time because they are the future.”

“I can tell you that, as the business community, we literally are texting each other and talking about this program,” said vice president Glenn Vickers. 

Students Joselyn Valentine, Ashley Censoprano and Wednesday Palacios formed the Blue Waves Bandanas team, which made bandanas for pets. They’ve already got a business and have designed their logos, Ms. Taylor said. 

“They’ve learned so many skills that are crucial in life,” she said. “We’re very proud of them.”

How did they come up with this idea?

“We just decided out of nowhere to sell bandanas for dogs,” Joselyn said. 

Colin Lynch, Zach Maligres and Kaden Lynch plan to open a vegan restaurant called “Veggie Daddy.”

“Our biggest product is a veggie burger and it tastes pretty good,” Colin said. “We have other stuff on the menu but we’re still working on that.”

Chamber member Dean Del Prete told the students he works with two food providers who are willing to sell the team’s product .

Julian Cortez and Brandon Riccio have a project called “Auto Shield.”

It’s a shield that’s mounted to a car ceiling that projects the registration onto the driver’s side window in the event the driver is stopped by police. Julian said he got the idea when he got pulled over.

“Everybody is nervous when they get pulled over by the police,” he said. 

Drivers using the shield wouldn’t have to fumble around looking for the registration, which might look suspicious to an officer.

Julian said Mr. Kern has offered to help him get a provisional patent for the idea. 

“This is just the beginning of this program,” Mr. Kern said. “It’s going to get bigger. Everyone that we invested in, you deserve the investment.”