Chamber Champions Networking

Business After Business Events Benefit Economic Landscape & Community

Even as the shift to more remote work has virtual alternatives taking centre stage, in-person business events remain valuable for networking. Zoom calls and work-from-home environments dominated the last three years, but the true value of face-to-face time quickly became apparent.

The Trail & District Chamber of Commerce is helping business people put a face to the name with the revival of important networking events.

The final Business After Business in-person event of 2023, hosted by Realtor Thea Hanson
Business After Business in-person event attendees networking and making connections

“Most small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have no corporate structure; therefore, their local Chamber of Commerce fills this gap,” says Executive Director Erika Krest. “Business After Business (BAB) events are designed to deliver curated networking opportunities for the growing Chamber network.”

In 2023, the Trail & District Chamber of Commerce reinstated these events, and the response has been overwhelming. Five successful BAB events took place last year, with more to come in 2024. Members and non-members alike are invited to attend on the third Thursday of each month to enjoy the valuable experience of connecting with fellow professionals. As the Chamber continues to foster these opportunities, businesses are encouraged to host their own or mark their calendars and get ready to mingle with their community.

The Value of Face-to-Face

Realtor Thea Hanson of Thea Hanson Personal Real Estate Corporation hosted the final BAB of 2023, commanding attention with the first business networking event held in Rossland in many years.

“I heard from people that you don’t want to miss a party by Thea Hanson because it’ll be the party of the year,” she says, laughing. “It was very well attended. It went on for probably at least an hour after it was supposed to shut down because we had such an incredible time chatting and connecting.”

Thea Hanson, accompanied by her mom and executive assistant, Maggie Stayanovich, at their Business After Business in-person event in 2023

Thea Hanson, accompanied by her mom and executive assistant, Maggie Stayanovich, invited the business community to mingle, network and celebrate at a Chamber Business After Business event at the end of 2023. The well-attended gathering provided an opportunity to celebrate her team and foster community in Rossland.

Attendees from Rossland, Trail, and Fruitvale councils and staff, South Kootenay brick-and-mortar business owners, and local entrepreneurs and contractors toasted to a successful year of business. Hanson, a realtor with over 15 years of experience, continues to thrive in partnership with RE/MAX All Pro Realty in Trail and, more recently, in Rossland. Hosting a BAB event gave her the opportunity to highlight her team, share milestones, and announce their move to a new downtown Rossland location on Columbia Avenue.

“In face-to-face interactions, you move beyond just being a business; you put a face behind it, which is incredibly important,” she adds. “Meeting someone in person allows you to connect on a personal level. It’s not just about the business; it’s about fostering strong relationships. Face-to-face encounters provide opportunities to meet others in the community, leading to meaningful connections and conversations that may not happen in another setting.”

A Peek Behind the Curtain

John Abenante of Earthy Organics, a commercial certified organic farmer that has been in business for nearly 20 years in Fruitvale and a former BAB host, echoes her sentiment. He believes that meeting and entertaining community partners, colleagues, and new friends in-person allows for the development of rapport and personal relationships. He says his farm was the perfect backdrop for hosting an interactive event for the business community.

Jeanine Powell and John Abenante, Owners/Operators of Earthy Organics Farm

“I’ve been a Chamber member for nearly 10 years, so I wanted to host a BAB to get people up to the farm and see what it’s all about, and have a discussion about local food and why I’m so passionate about organic farming,” says Abenante. “Hosting is a lot of fun and so is attending! You’re meeting different people and learning about what others do, but also it gives you the opportunity to share about your business and explain the whole aspect behind the curtains, so to speak.”

BAB events provide a platform for all businesses to network, whether they are newcomers developing personal connections or long-serving professionals providing mentorship and introductions for others. Upcoming events, including the next BAB, hosted by the Selkirk Technology Access Centre in Trail on Thursday, Feb. 29th from 5:30-7:30 p.m., promise to continue to be valuable opportunities for networking and community building.

“In a small setting like our community, word-of-mouth and face-to-face business is so important,” adds Abenante. “You can advertise as part of your business plan, but nothing replaces in-person networking. First impressions go far and Chamber events provide that opportunity.”

Interested in becoming a Chamber member? Our membership page has information on member benefits.

Keep an eye out for more Chamber Stories, published regularly in regional newspapers such as The Trail Times, The Trail Champion, and/or The Rossland Telegraph as well as online. Please also follow us on social media: Facebook / LinkedIn / Twitter / Instagram and sign up for our newsletter.

Tentatively Scheduled Business After Business events in 2024:

February: STAC – Selkirk Technology Access Centre, Trail

March: Waneta Plaza, Trail

April: VISAC Gallery & Teck Interpretive Centre, Trail

May: Trail Times, Trail

TBD: Earthy Organics, Fruitvale

TBD: Beaver Valley Nursery School, Fruitvale

TBD: Ralcomm., Trail

October: KSCU – Kootenay Savings Credit Union, Trail

November: Thea Hanson Real Estate, Rossland

Please stay connected with the Chamber for updates, as BAB event hosts and schedules are subject to change.