Chamber Chat: New Organization Serves Tri-County Businesses

The Tri-County Business Association was formed in the spring of 2007 by local business leaders who envisioned a networking vehicle for professionals with businesses serving Lake, Sumter, and Marion counties.

The idea was to create a casual atmosphere in which local proprietors could meet other business leaders and market their services and products in a social setting. At the time, no other organization was in place to accommodate various businesses located in The Villages and the surrounding area.

The first Business After Hours event was held in March 2007, and the launch of the TCBA was met with overwhelming enthusiasm. The positive response has since grown exponentially, as the association’s membership exceeded 82 members by the end of 2007, and shows no signs of slowing.

The activities, goals, and expenditures of the association are directed by the membership. Currently, Business After Hours events are held on a monthly basis at a member’s business location. The dates of the event are selected by the host, and reservations are encouraged because the host coordinates refreshments and accommodations. These gatherings are designed to be comfortable and relaxed, letting guests socialize at their leisure. The flexible nature of the engagements not only allows guests to discuss business matters freely, but also to have fun catching up with old acquaintances.

Quarterly business breakfast meetings are held to discuss matters concerning the association and its future endeavors or projects. The TCBA board consists of five founding members who are available to discuss any ideas from the membership about the association’s participation in local activities. Viable ideas are presented to the membership at the breakfast meetings. To minimize costs, members are sent announcements via e-mail on upcoming events involving a fellow business member, such as groundbreaking ceremonies, open houses, and promotions.

There is no limitation on the number of related businesses that can join the Tri-County Business Association, nor are there any restrictions as to the type of business that can join. As the organization continues to evolve and prosper, the board hopes to expand the number of activities and projects that the TCBA supports. With continued creative input from members, the TCBA expects to be the organization that professionals use to grow their business in the tri-county area.

TCBA membership is open to any business with a physical location in the tri-county area. Annual dues are a modest $75 per member, which includes access for up to five principals from each business at functions. The TCBA welcomes new visitors to scheduled events and invites any questions regarding its activities.

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