Fourth annual Spring Fling builds business relationships

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A fling can refer to one of several things, each with a connotation of something light and ephemeral. However, the fourth annual Spring Fling business expo, staged by the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce, was intended to build lasting relationships among chamber businesses and local community members.

A fling can refer to one of several things, each with a connotation of something light and ephemeral. However, the fourth annual Spring Fling business expo, staged by the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce, was intended to build lasting relationships among chamber businesses and local community members.

Attendees and vendors at the early-evening event on Thursday, April 27, were encouraged to “fling” business cards to each other so as to exchange contact information throughout the sold-out business social mixer. Forty-eight vendors displayed their products and services at tables around the La Mesa Community Center.

The gathering’s conviviality was fueled by food and beverages donated by 16 local restaurants, cafes and distributors. The program included special recognition of the 22 new members who have joined the La Mesa Chamber for this, the chamber’s 10th year in existence. Tickets for the Spring Fling were priced at $10 each in acknowledgement of the anniversary.

Mary England, president and CEO of the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce, said the evening was a good reflection of the growth in La Mesa’s business community.

“The success of this event is testament that small businesses want to get their products and offerings out to the public,” she said. “The chamber creates relationships, and relationships make good things happen.”

Local musician Chris Brogan, serving as master of ceremonies, said the current-day emphasis on social media and online presence for businesses cannot replace personal interface.

“There is nothing like the personal connection of meeting face to face,” Brogan said. “It’s been demonstrated over and over that business relationships last longer when people shake hands and get to know each other in person.”

Businesses represented ran the gamut from companies offering financial services and household services, to a variety of personal health and fitness services.

Chris Cather, owner of the Golden Spoon, was one of the new chamber members at the event, and he supplied event-goers with delicious samples of frozen yogurt and cookie concoctions from his dessert café’s mobile freezer.

England had earlier noted the challenge of the first time ever staging a freezer at the chamber event.

Cather purchased the Golden Spoon in October and joined the chamber at the beginning of this year. He comes from a family background in this industry, as his great-grandfather owned a pharmacy with an ice cream parlor.

“I have been talking to a lot of people I wouldn’t have otherwise,” said of the opportunity to hold a booth at the Spring Fling. “This helps me with beating the drum, increasing brand awareness and brand marketing.”

Cather said being a member of the chamber has been a growing experience for him as a business person.

“These members really hustle,” he said. “I’m getting an education trying to keep up with them.”

Jennifer Jordan is another new chamber member. She is co-owner with her husband, Scott, of JDog Junk Removal & Hauling.

The Army veterans have been in business for six months as a veteran-owned, veteran-operated company. Their business has seven employees, is ready to hire two part-timers, and is seeking a larger property for their operations.

Patriot Window Cleaning was the second new chamber business at the event that is veteran-owned and veteran-operated. Bruce Rubio owns the year-old pressure washing and construction clean-up firm with his brother.

Rubio, a long-time East County local originally from Jamul, said the Spring Fling surprised him.

“I am very impressed with how this turned out,” he said. “We are excited to be part of the event. There are good people in La Mesa. I shop local, I live local.”

England said that the chamber is eager to encourage and support transitioning military veterans as they start up business endeavors in and around La Mesa.

The Spring Fling also featured a silent auction and raffle prizes, with items and services donated by area businesses. Event sponsors included Mission Federal Credit Union, Carl Burger Dodge Chrysler Jeep RAM World, and San Diego County Credit Union – La Mesa.

More information about the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce, membership opportunities in the group, as well as the organization’s upcoming events, can be found online at www.lamesachamber.com, or by phoning (619) 465-7700.