Statewide business after hours draws 1,000
Rhodes-on-the-Pawtuxet was the place to be Tuesday night for business professionals looking to make personal contacts.
A total of 112 vendors, mostly members of a Rhode Island-based Chamber of Commerce, transformed Rhodes-on-the-Pawtuxet into a massive exhibition hall for the annual Statewide Business After Hours (BAH).
â€śThis was networking at its finest,â€ť said Stephen M. Lombardi, executive director of the East Greenwich Chamber of Commerce. â€śAn endless amount of great display tables and an overflow crowd; this was very well done.â€ť
And the once-a-year event, which was coordinated by the Central Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce (CRIC) thatâ€™s based in Warwickâ€™s Apponaug village, also featured fine food from Russell Morin Catering that was served at four different stations and a variety of beverage offerings.
An overflow crowd estimated at more than 1,000 people visited displays set up by various Rhode Island-based businesses and non-profits that ranged from AAA, Dave & Busters, and Fort Adams Trust to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Solid Point, Workforce Partnership of Greater Rhode Island, and VR Industries.
â€śThis was a very active event with lots of conversation,â€ť said Jay White, an energy consultant with AmbitEnergy. â€śThis is a lot of people interacting with each other; it looks as though the walk-ins also increased from last year.â€ť
Deborah Ramos, who serves as president of the North Central Chamber of Commerce (NCCC), said, â€śThis was great and well-attended for sure. There was lots of mingling, talking and limitless networking; hopefully it proved successful for all those people who attended.â€ť
Ramos headed a delegation that included NCCC ambassadors â€“ business professionals who consistently promote the Chamber and its many membership offerings â€“ Bill Trabulsie of East Coast Commerce Solutions, Nancy Carrott of Goodwill Industries of Rhode Island, Patricia Nolin of Rhode Island College and Kelly Pats, who works with Ramos as an events coordinator.
Stephen C. Boyle, president of the Greater Cranston Chamber of Commerce, said Tuesdayâ€™s BAH was a triple success.
â€śOur table was very busy,â€ť Boyle said. â€śThis was a phenomenal event; there were lots of walk-ins and we actually signed up three new members. We also sold out all of our tables.â€ť
The Greater Cranston Chamber of Commerce also received compliments for its recent stand for advocating a reduction of health costs for small businesses.
Although Central RI Chamber President Lauren Slocum was unable to attend Tuesdayâ€™s statewide BAH because of illness, her team that consisted of Denise Drouin, Sarah Stoves, Emily Johnston, Stephanie Additon, Josh Oâ€™Donnell, Chris Allen, Yvette Mellin, Jo-Ann Schofield, Mark LoRusso, Bunny Feiler and Lisa DiRaimo anchored the CRICâ€™s registration table and kept the music, food and prizes flowing throughout the night.
Raffle prizes ranged from gift certificates to restaurants and shops to discounts on hot tubs and swimming pools.