New UWS Networking Series Connects Large and Small Businesses

By Emily Frost on October 11, 2012 4:09pm 

UPPER WEST SIDE — Mom-and-pop business owners mingled with corporate representatives at a first-of-its kind Upper West Side mixer Wednesday night.

Concerned about the growing prevalence of chain stores — especially banks — in the neighborhood, Community Board 7 hosted its inaugural Business-to-Business (B2B) networking session to help small and large companies coexist.

City Councilwoman Gale Brewer said she counts no less than 70 banks in the district and this summer the City Council passed measures to protect the neighborhood's small businesses.

Several dozen business leaders packed into CB7's headquarters at West 87th Street and Broadway to sip cocktails, munch appetizers and search for common ground. 

"We want people to talk to each other and say, 'Oh you're my neighbor,'" said co-host Michele Parker, of CB7's business and consumer issues committee.

Co-chairman George Zeppenfeldt-Cestero emphasized the importance of face-to-face interactions, as representatives of Reebok Sports Club, TD Bank and Luke's Lobster filled the room.

"Young people believe it's all about social media," Zeppenfeldt-Cestero said, "but people also want to look at you, shake your hand — they want to meet you."

The committee hopes to host more B2B networking events on a quarterly basis. 

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