Chamber of Commerce showcase highlights Greenwich’s best

HAN Radio’s Rob John Kovach and Rob Adams spent some time with Greenwich Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Marcia O’Kane at the event and the entire broadcast can be heard at HANradio.com. —  Ken Borsuk

HAN Radio’s Rob John Kovach and Rob Adams spent some time with Greenwich Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Marcia O’Kane at the event and the entire broadcast can be heard at HANradio.com. — Ken Borsuk

In a close-knit community, word of mouth can mean the difference between a successful business and a failing one. So on May 14, the Greenwich Chamber of Commerce gave the town’s small businesses a chance to spread the word.

At its annual Business and Culinary Showcase, the chamber welcomed more than 400 guests to the Eastern Greenwich Civic Center to enjoy an array of food from area restaurants and forge new connections with local businesses.

“We have held this event for 15 years, I’ve been with the chamber for two years, and over the last two years we’ve had a record number of participants,” Executive Director Marcia O’Kane said during the event. “This year we have over 70 exhibitors, the largest ever. We wonder what we’re going to do next year because it’s so popular.”

She continued, “We’ve got over 400 people in attendance, and this is way the chamber promotes small businesses. What we do is advocate, promote and connect businesses. We call them our A-P-Cs, instead of A-B-Cs,”

Wednesday’s showcase, billed as the largest business networking event of the year, continued a trend of chamber events designed to let members mingle with each other and the public. Engagements like the monthly After Six meetings and March’s Women Who Matter luncheon embody the chamber’s networking initiatives, with the annual Business and Culinary Showcase serving as a capstone.

The showcase had a diverse list of attendees from restaurants like Bobby Q’s, Pizza Post and The Mumbai Times joined by gyms like Equinox and New York Sports Club as well as Realtors, the First Bank of Greenwich, the Greenwich Newcomer’s Club, Greenwich Hospital and Greenwich Library. Hersam Acorn’s HAN Radio broadcast live from the event and the show can be found online at Hanradio.com.

Chamber CPA Steve Wortman attended the showcase for the first time this year and was impressed by the healthy turnout. “It’s a nice crowd,” he said. “I didn’t think it would be this full or vibrant, maybe less people, maybe less exhibitors, but they fit a lot in here.”

Exhibitors packed the floor in hopes of promoting their businesses, tempting guests with a variety of free prizes, special offers and good food. The showcase offered a mix of businesses new and old, all hoping to make a splash with new clientele and build relationships with one another.

First time exhibitor Snip Doggy Dog opened up shop in Old Greenwich less than a year ago, but enjoyed a great response from the community at the event. General Manager Frank Ciambriello said he hopes that the publicity will help promote the dog grooming boutique’s even newer Fairfield and Westport locations.

Paul Lowe, managing director of Greenwich Admission Advisors, joined the showcase as an exhibitor for the first time after sponsoring the chamber’s Women Who Matter event. Greenwich Admission Advisors has served the town for five years, working to create personalized strategies for prospective college and private school students looking to reach upper-echelon institutions.

“This is a fun event! You get to meet a lot of entrepreneurs who are going through the process of being an entrepreneur,” Dr. Lowe said. “Many times we are locked into our business and we don’t know what’s going on outside in terms of other businesses, and here we get to meet CEOs. You get to form synergistic relationships with other businesses.”

Pizza Post has been serving Greenwich for 42 years, but owner Matt Criscuolo couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to meet and greet loyal customers outside of the family’s East Putnam Avenue restaurant in Cos Cob. Visitors were able to choose from a variety of slices, while the Pizza Post staff showed off one of the portable ovens they use for catered affairs.

“It’s good to remind people that we’re here and get our name out,” Mr. Crisculo said. “We’ve been providing pizza to Greenwich High School and various other high schools for ages, we get some fun sports stars coming in there, movie stars, everybody! All I can say is I love the community, I love the people — everybody likes to support small businesses and I hope they continue to do that.”

Even after 15 years, the Business and Culinary Showcase continues to be a hit, and will likely remain a Chamber of Commerce tradition for years to come. Guests and exhibitors agreed that the showcase was a great opportunity to build new relationships and foster growth for small businesses.

The chamber’s next networking event will be an After Six meeting on June 18.

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