Navesink Business Group Brings Community Vibe to Networking
The area group of business owners and professionals meets every other Wednesday
It's Wednesday morning in Red Bank and the Danish Cafe is filling up fast with business people looking for more than fresh raspberry danishes and coffee, as the aroma helps newcomers find their way to the cafe inside The Galleria.
By 8:15 a.m. a group of 25 professionals and business owners has packed the narrow dining room for a twice-monthly breakfast meeting of the Navesink Business Group, formed by a handful of business people in 2006.
The meetings are quick and informal and follow the usual pattern of mix and mingle. After everyone is settled it's time for individual introductions to the group, a spotlight on a member business, this week Suzanne Stingo SMS Telecom Management and local happenings such as the HEADS exhibit and Red Bank Art Walk, plugged by Megan Prenderville of Frame to Please.
Some of the faces in the crowd are ones you'll find in other local groups such as Two Rivers Women in Business Consortium and the Eatontown Industrial Park Association run by Anna Mayer of the Donato Group.
Each member gets a chance to plug his or her business, but in many cases they hardly needed to as fellow members jumped in to say, for instance, what an innovative gym Koko Fit Club is, or that Tina Bulwin of Flowers on Front "is a creative and innovative florist", or how Charli Bohm of Spa at The Galleria gave Stingo a chic updo for her niece's wedding.
Two-year member Ellen Korpar, an independent health insurance broker in Red Bank, said it's the "synergy of the memberships" that keeps her coming back.
"We get to know each other and work together and socialize," she told Patch, while chatting with member Susan Patterson.
"Plus it's every two weeks," said Patterson of Ultrasonic Mobile Cleaning in Shrewsbury. "I see you guys more than I see my own siblings."
The group centers its networking around charitable efforts with groups like Lunch Break and Operation Homefront, a national group that gives financial and other assistance to military families and wounded warriors.
At its most recent meeting, group leader Rob Lowe encouraged members to join Operation Homefront's back-to-school efforts with a purchase of a backpack filled with school supplies to be delivered to children of military personnel in the tri-state area.
Navesink Business Group member Joe Gavin of Comfort Keepers used his chance to address the group to ask the members to buy into an ad journal for an upcoming gala at the Two River Theater which will benefit Lunch Break. Gavin who volunteers at the soup kitchen said he was drawn in by the energy of the place. The same is true, he said, of Navesink Business Group.
Asked why he attends Navesink Business Group, Gavin said, "leadership," referring to Lowe.
"He does a really good job of rallying people around good causes," he said. "Rob is really the heart and soul of it."
Gavin said group members have brought him referrals for his senior care business and that he has helped members who maybe couldn't afford his services to find other options.
"They're good people and it's hard to find that type of camaraderie," he said.
The Navesink Business Group will meet again at the Danish Cafe at 8 a.m. Aug. 22. Click here for more information about joining.
More from NBG about Operation Homefront's back-to-school efforts: