Chamber’s newest leads group creates more networking opportunities for businesses

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By Sandy Barnes

To help local businesses make vital connections, the Evergreen Area Chamber of Commerce has formed leads groups. Representatives from non-competing businesses network and become acquainted with each other during weekly meetings, which are held at various locations in Evergreen.

To create additional opportunities for those who would like participate, a new leads group has begun meeting on Friday mornings at HearthFire Books and Treats in Bergen Park.

Led by Dawn Kempf of Remax Alliance Evergreen, this group now has several members representing health insurance, mortgage, professional development and other businesses.

Clell Routson, leader of another leads group that meets at the Muddy Buck, is helping the new group become established.

“A lot of people have the wrong impression about leads,” Routson said. “The purpose of a leads group is not to sell each other.”

Instead, leads group members form relationships that foster their businesses, he said. People who know each other well are more likely to make referrals to clients, Routson explained. And each member of a leads group may know as many as 200 people in need of services that businesses offer, he said.

Because of the non-competitive status of its structure, only one representative from a business category can belong to a leads group, to which regular attendance is required.

“One thing we need to have is commitments,” said Maureen DeJongh of Blue Chip Benefits. “We need to look at businesses we don’t have and invite them.”

During the meeting last Friday at the bookstore, members introduced themselves and briefly described their businesses. Those in attendance included acupuncturist Charles Holman, Nicole Rueth of Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp., and Kappy Kling of HearthFire Books.

At future meetings, those in the group will take turns giving 15-minute presentations about their businesses while in the “hot seat.”

The group also is planning to have monthly speakers at future meetings.

Chamber president Lin Browning said the leads group is another way of helping Evergreen businesses thrive and grow by providing an opportunity to build relationships.

The chamber also offers workshops and classes to help members understand how to use the organization for marketing, Browning said. Business-after-hours gatherings provide networking opportunities as well, she added.

“Ribbon cuttings also are a great way to network,” Browning said.

Those interested in joining the leads group at HearthFire Books may apply at www.evergreenchamber.org. The group meets from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. on Fridays. HearthFire Books is at 1254 Bergen Parkway in the Bergen Village shopping center.

Contact Sandy Barnes at sandy@evergreenco.com.