The Central Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce (CRIC) held its first Business After Hours networking night of 2014 last Thursday evening inside the newly remodeled Courtyard by Marriot Hotel at 55 Jefferson Boulevard. It served as the kickoff of 12 networking nights CRIC President Lauren Slocum and her staff will offer members throughout the year.
“This is a step above the norm; tonight is more than a Business After Hours … it’s a great opportunity to learn more about our fellow members and their respective operations in a no-pressure social setting,” said Carmine DeLuca, who serves as marketing manager for Lynch’s Cleaning & Restoration Service.
Artist and sports cartoonist Frankie Galasso said the event was “a few members making it special for the entire membership.”
Galasso was one of four CRIC members who provided specialty items, such as his newest creation that captured the Boston Red Sox 2013 World Series Championship and matching coffee mugs that people like Cindy Pearson of the Best Western Hotel in Warwick took home.
There were other tabletop offerings from Anita Kiernan of Retail Therapy Beauty Bar; Lea Chelade of Mary Kay; and John Johnston of neighboring Doherty’s Ale House, which now occupies the former Bugaboo Creek Restaurant.
Doherty’s Ale House also offered attendees its homemade pretzels and a beer tasting while Courtyard Marriott General Manager Sean Richard and Sue Gallogly served fresh vegetables with dip, pita chips and hummus, a variety of specialty chicken wings, fruit salad and popcorn.
Guests dined and talked with one anther inside the Courtyard Marriott’s newly renovated large contemporary-designed Bistro, which offers travelers and guests healthy food choices for breakfast and dinner.
Ninety-two of the Courtyard Marriot’s guest rooms were remolded in addition to the lobby and spacious Bistro.
CRIC staffers Denise Drouin, Sarah Stoves, Chris Allen and Yvette Mellin, as well as Sean Lynch, who owns and operates Lynch’s Cleaning and Restoration, said they were impressed by the Bistro area.
The same held true for Bill Bremer of Cedar Tree & Landscape Services, Inc. and Daniel Marantz, The Growth Coach, who served as special speakers during the CRIC’s new 60-second Business After Hours commercials.
“I’m excited about the way tonight’s Business After Hours turned out,” said Slocum. “It was great to start 2014 at a newly remodeled venue. They’ve even added a new king’s suite with kitchenette. They offer breakfast and dinner in the new Bistro and Doherty’s Ale House is only walking distance away.”
In keeping with tradition, the CRIC saved the best for last.
And that’s the night’s raffle drawings, during which CRIC Chairman of the Board Steven H. Kitchen, who doubles as vice president of corporate education at New England Tech, served as the evening’s emcee.
“He’s really making the drawing interesting,” observed John Lovegren of Lovegren Photography, as he listened to Kitchen speak about each raffle drawing prize. “This is another thing that makes these nights special.”
The night’s door prizes included a $10 Panera Bread gift card; two tickets for a wine tasting/tour at Shela Lara Vineyards & Winery; four Providence Bruins Flex tickets; Warm Amber Perfume by Mary Kay; Forever Orchid Perfume by Mary Kay; overnight stay at the Inn at Middletown in Middletown, Conn.; and the grand prize was an overnight stay at the Courtyard by Marriott, including a certificate for Park & Fly, shuttle to the airport and parking up to 10 days in a self-parking lot.
Slocum announced that the February Business After Hours will be held Feb. 19 at Pool & Patio in Coventry. For more details and reservations that help in planning, call 732-3100.