Last summer, Spare to Share was looking for a way to better connect with the people in our community. We are all about creating communities among groups of people that have a common bond, whether it’s in your building, office or for an organization you are a part of, all through an easy to use app. In creating these connections, people stay in their building or organization longer and generate more value from doing so.
Naturally, we were looking for a group that understood just how important the relationships and sense of inclusion are to successful growth. We got put in touch with the River North Business Association and after attending a couple of events, we decided to join. Nine months later, being a part of such a great group of people has led to new business, great friendships and a desire to grow with our community for years to come.
What might start as nervously walking into a networking event and reading nametags, it soon turns into friendships, meaningful conversations, and connection to a vibrant, welcoming group of people. It’s this strong sense of community that keeps people coming back to RNBA year after year.
I thought it’d be interesting to ask a few of our members what community means to them. I interviewed our longest-standing member, a fellow new member and one in between...
Friedman Properties, one of the original founders of the RNBA, believes community is something they have to work to create and continue to foster. Bob Zimmerman, their Executive Vice President & Managing Director, says “Our commercial real estate firm has been a strong advocate of the [RNBA], since its inception 30 years ago. As a stakeholder in River North, we understand the incalculable value of a strong and collaborative business community. The RNBA fosters strong community connections through regular face-to-face gatherings… We hold events throughout our business community in support of our area businesses and have real conversations, getting to know the people driving these enterprises. I eagerly look forward to each and every event with the certain knowledge that I’ll be connecting with old friends and will get an opportunity to meet a handful of new ones.”
For Seoul Taco, a delicious Korean-Mexican Fusion Restaurant new to RNBA, being a part of the organization for the past year has provided tremendous value. Eric Hamblett, Marketing & Communications Manager, concurs with Bob, "Community means being genuinely interested in growing the quality of experiences and relationships in River North. When friendships develop with our b2b peers, the value that's created is always more than we bargain for. Seoul Taco's community involvement not only gives more visibility to our menu, but also helps us create exciting campaigns that are achievable with newfound trust."
By the way, if you haven’t stopped in yet to try some, your taste buds are missing out!
Community is important for a range of different businesses and industries. It is a core value for Concierge Preferred, who keeps everybody in the know about all things to do in the neighborhood. Theresa Hattar, a Senior Account Executive, highlights this, “Concierge Preferred is part of many organizations within the city, but few have the sense of inclusion and neighborly feel of RNBA. To be in the RNBA means to be part of a community that not only values your business, but you as a person. Concierge Preferred has made invaluable relationships over the past 9 years through the RNBA and it’s because the RNBA has never faltered in its main goal: to cultivate a community full of connections.”
Whether you’ve been a member for a long time, like Friedman Properties or Concierge Preferred, or just beginning to immerse yourself like Seoul Taco or Spare to Share, the group of people in RNBA and the sense that everyone is looking out for each other is sure to lead to great friends (and new business). So come on in and stay awhile!
Adam Sirvinskas leads sales and marketing at Spare to Share, which helps tenants connect within buildings, leading to increased retention, and helps property managers save time on operations. He has a background in sales, marketing, working with kids and volunteering overseas. He earned his B.A. from Macalester College in Mathematics and Hispanic Studies and is passionate about sustainability, helping others and creating a greater sense of community.