Chamber celebrates Mardi Gras, networking

VIENNA – Mardi Gras came to the Mid-Ohio Valley early this year as part of the Chamber of Commerce of the Mid-Ohio Valley’s Business After Hours function Tuesday at the Grand Pointe Conference Center.

Jill Parsons, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of the Mid-Ohio Valley, said the after-hours events take place on the third Tuesday each month. They are designed to allow members to get together in a relaxed setting to network with other business people.

Parsons said the reservations for the functions have been set through 2014 and into 2015. At times, she said, there may be other Business After Hours events.

“We have every Business After Hours for 2014 scheduled and we’ve started a waiting list in the event one of the scheduled businesses would have to withdraw,” she said. “We’ve started to take reservations for 2015.”

Parsons said the Business After Hours lets others know about a business.

“From the host’s perspective they get a chance to showcase their facility or their products and services of their team,” she said. “From the chamber’s perspective it’s our goal to get our members here so they can interact with one another and learn about that organization.”

Tuesday’s event was co-hosted by Wingate by Wyndham and the Grand Pointe Conference Center

Belinda Glodowski, general manager of the Wingate by Wyndham, was one of the hosts of the event. She said the hotel was taking advantage of the opportunity to showcase the business.

“It gives us a chance to meet area businesses and have them visit our hotel,” she said. “Because of our proximity to Grand Pointe, it is a great partnership. There is no facility locally, like the hotels in Charleston, where they are all under one roof with a conference center. It give us the opportunity to sell the hotel and conference space together.”

Tammy McClung, director of sales and catering at Grand Pointe, said after hours opens opportunities for a business.

“It just give a lot more opportunities to bring people in to see it and see how close they can actually do conferences, have sleeping rooms, it’s all accessible,” she said. “They can see how well-kept the place is and how easy it is to park here and see setting up here for business meetings and fun times.”

Chuck Helmick, of Results Radio, said the main reason to attend is for the networking opportunities.

“The networking opportunities is the big part and with the food,” he said. “A lot time you can’t get out to see clients and here you can run into different business owners.”

Becca Green of Fairfield Inn and Suites said the event was a way to be more involved in the community.

Dan VanDyke of Comfort Suites in Marietta said meeting more people and networking are the attraction for the event.

“Just to meet people and network and by coming here you get to see a venue any business could potentially use,” he said. “I think everybody is curious to see what’s inside.”

Mike Koker of Fairfield Inn and Suites said the after-hours events allow companies to be part of the community.

“We like to stay active in both communities, both Marietta and Parkersburg, so we occasionally go to the Parkersburg chamber for networking,” he said.