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Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce Initiates ‘Network Cafe’

Photo by Alan Olson Greco’s co-owner Eric Bennett cuts the ribbon at a small ceremony welcoming the restaurant to the Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce. Also pictured are representatives from the Chamber and from the city of Wheeling.

WHEELING – The first meeting of the Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce’s Network Cafe initiative, aimed at promoting networking and cooperation between local businesses, took place at the Chamber’s newest member.

Greco’s Restaurant held a ribbon cutting Tuesday morning to commemorate the pizzeria’s partnership with the Chamber. Shortly after, the first luncheon of the Network Cafe was held, with local organizations and municipal representatives coming together for lunch.

Mike Howard, who serves as vice-president of membership, events and education for the Chamber, said the initiative aims to get business owners and representatives talking amongst each other at their monthly events.

“It’s for business owners, sales folks, financial advisors, people that are members of the chamber to come together for coffee, breakfast or lunch … and just network, get business names (out there) and talk about business issues,” he said. “We’ll do this once or twice a month and see how it goes at the coffee shops, restaurants, or even businesses that want to host us.”

Howard said the Network Cafe will be a boon to smaller businesses in particular who may not have the advertising budget to regularly put their names out there.

“What it’ll do is bring awareness to smaller business establishments that don’t have as much marketing as we bring our people there for an event,” he said. “… We hope this will go on for a long time, and make an opportunity for businesses to grow and flourish.”

Any business interested in hosting the Network Cafe events may contact the chamber at wheelingchamber.com, or reach out to Howard at mhoward@wheelingchamber.com.

Eric Bennett, co-owner of Greco’s, said he was happy to be a part of the Chamber, and to get the networking opportunity through the Network Cafe.

“The more community involvement you have, the more relations you make,” he said. “… It just makes your community relations a little better, to support Wheeling as a whole, its growth and its future.”

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