South Charlotte

Meetings’ goal is ‘getting to know you’

It’s a simple concept. A Ballantyne social hour that meets twice a month, after work at 5:30 p.m.

The group, Ballantyne Brews, is free and not tied to any church, organization or community group. Just a way to meet other people in our area.

Allen Starrett of Starrett Law Firm is the primary organizer, along with Scott McKearney from ESPN.

“We tried to establish a social hour in my building, but later decided to expand it to the entire Ballantyne Corporate Park,” Starrett said.

Starrett uses Facebook and email to confirm the location of each meeting, which occurs on the first and third Tuesdays of each month at 5:30 p.m. The group meets at local restaurants in or near the corporate park.

With 200-plus names on the email list, the group has been meeting since September 2013.

“We say to ditch the business cards, because we don’t really want it to be a networking or business motivated group,” Starrett said. “It is purely social and open to anyone, but it’s intended for folks who are nearby. There is no criteria, such as married or single.”

Starrett said it makes sense to do business with people you trust, so ultimately the group does help in that manner.

“The better I get to know people, the better I can relate to them, and that opens up opportunities down the line,” Starrett said.

As the group grows, weekly get-togethers are his hope.

“Right now we have about 30-35 people who come,” he said. “A number of people come regularly, and some attend periodically.”

A business group, too

Starrett, along with Brad McKeiver and Charles Neil, also organize Ballantyne Briefings, which is more of a business-oriented group.

They meet quarterly, and it is a resource for the business community in the form of a speaker series.

“If you attend, you can expect a short but powerful message, and then some time to talk afterwards,” he said.

Ballantyne Briefings has been meeting since January 2013, with topics such as key business trends, cyber security and business etiquette.

Business owners and professionals are welcome to attend, and the group will be smaller than Ballantyne Brews.