GALION — Community Business Connections is a networking organization of small businesses with members from Galion, Marion, Delaware, Mount Gilead, Bucyrus and Mansfield. The group’s mission statement is: It is our mission to assist fellow members of Community Business Connections (CBC) to grow their business by referring individuals and businesses to one another. We believe in our community. It is our desire to be of service to local charities while promoting our members’ businesses. They are looking for new members interested in networking and community service projects.
They meet every other week at the Harding Center in Marion. Pat Case, president of the CBC, said meeting topics follow the needs or interests of the members, which makes them less formal than some business groups. Each meeting includes a brief educational talk from business coach Rich Herb on topics such as how to make good first impressions with customers, marketing newsletters and trends to pay attention to.
According to Case, the CBC members work to offer insights, answer questions and help each other in whatever ways they can.
“CBC is an amazing group of individuals, and in my case has been beneficial to the point that I have been able to provide our printing and website and direct mail services to nearly all the members,” said Dan Price, president of A-1 Printing, Inc., in Galion. “But as important as that is the relationships we all share and willingness to help each other and the Marion community. We’re looking for people interested in developing long-term relationships. We really develop a lot of trust with our members. We get to know how they run their businesses, and we can make referrals to members about
“Each of us has had a different reason for joining, but the camaraderie helps each of us build and grow our own businesses,” Case said.
Carolyn Asher, CBC vice-president, pointed out that business size doesn’t matter.
“Big or small, we still need interactions to continue building and supporting our own brands,” she said.
The group islooking for members from any service-oriented business: florists, caterers, cleaners or those with independently operated medical services such as audiologists, optometrists or therapists. Although only one member from a particular business type can belong, the group tries to accommodate everyone they can.
“We try to be as flexible as possible for anyone who’s interested in what we offer,” Case said.
Another aspect of the CBC that distinguishes them from other business groups is their focus on community service. They invite community organizations to their meetings not only to learn about them but to understand how they can contribute to them.
“Hearing from community groups educates us about their needs and how we can support them and reach out to help,” Asher said.
So far the CBC has contributed expertise, money and time to a number of local charitable groups. The group also has adopted needy families at holiday time, manned the phones for the Red Cross and provided holiday dinners. They helped provide art classes to the Boys and Girls Club, provided design advice for the first local two-story Habitat for Humanity home, and on New Year’s Eve day — the one day all police have to work — the group provided food for all shifts the police worked.
“We’d like to incorporate something for the firefighters. We’re interested in groups who want to speak to us. We’d be happy to invite them,” Asher said.
The group’s community service projects have grown as membership has grown. Any business people interested in learning more about the CBC can go to their Facebook page or visit their website at www.communitybusinessconnections.com.