Brandon Arnold and his business partner, Adrian Gram, meet regularly at the Pizza Peel and Tap Room on Central Avenue to discuss their long-haul trucking company, Hatch Transportation. At one such meeting, another small business owner noticed what they were doing and asked if he could join them to discuss how they do business.
That impromptu meeting got Arnold thinking that other entrepreneurs may want to get together and discuss business ideas.
“I thought, there’s got to be a lot of other like-minded people around here who want to a part of something like this,” he said.
To gauge interest, Arnold put out a notice on Next Door in April. He was pleasantly surprised by the response he received.
More than 100 people replied within two days. Interest ranged from people who already owned a business and needed help to others who had a vision and wanted to know how to get started.
The first meeting of the Plaza Midwood Entrepreneur Club was on May 11 at the Pizza Peel. Over 30 people were in attendance. They wore name tags, but other than that it was laid back with no set agenda and definitely no pressure. People mingled and swapped business cards. They took advantage of the open air photo booth that wedding and portraiture photographer Isil Dohnke brought with her.
C. Fred Peterson attended the meeting. He has owned his small business security consultant and locksmith business since 1999. Peterson was interested in the group because it was targeting small business owners in a particular geographic location and was not industry specific.
“I do a lot of business in the area and I knew that everyone I would meet would be from this area,” said Peterson. He left with four leads, two of which have already turned into business.
Amy Anderson and Scott Heffers own Heffers Handyman, their two-year-old home improvement company. They went because the idea of meeting with like-minded entrepreneurs sounded interesting.
“Basically this 28205 zip code supports its own,” Anderson said.
They walked away with a job lead and a potential employee.
Arnold was pleased with the turnout and atmosphere. He wants it to be an informal gathering of people who want to share ideas and who live in the same general area. Right now, the group is open to everyone, even those outside the Plaza Midwood area. If it gets too large, he will enlist help from others.
“If more people want to get involved, I will definitely need help planning meetings and organizing the group,” he said.
Thursday, June 23, 6:30 p.m.
Advent Coworking, 933 Louise Avenue, Suite 101
Photos 1, 3: ISIL DOHNKE Photography; Photo 2: Brandon Arnold; Photo 4: C. Fred Peterson; Photo 5 Credit Heffers Handyman