NORTH ROYALTON – Sitting across from one another, business owners and city officials had the chance to “speed date,” taking a few minutes to get to know one another, the foundation for what will hopefully become lasting relationships.

Roughly 30 business representatives and city officials participated in the community’s first business networking event, coordinated by the North Royalton Family YMCA Board of Directors on Feb. 12. The event is meant to create another platform for businesses to get to know one another but also discuss and brainstorm ongoing opportunities to support not only each other but the community as a whole.

This idea is the brainchild of YMCA board member Lisa Bargmann, owner of the Holistic Halo Salt Spa. She had no idea what to expect, much like a blind date, but was pleasantly surprised with the outcome.

“I’m overwhelmed by the response,” she said. “Business owners that service North Royalton are interested in networking and getting to know each other, and that’s a great thing for our community. I think this is a great start to building lasting relationships among good folks in the community.”

Businesses and city officials alike thought this was a great idea, so much so that a second date has been planned from 7-8 p.m. March 12 at The 3 Spot, 13855 Ridge Road in North Royalton. Finger foods and soft drinks will be provided. The event is open to all businesses that service North Royalton.

“I believe in community. That’s what equals success,” said Danielle Romstadt, owner of Madelyn Rose Consignment and Boutique. “There are some other great businesses I was not aware of in the community, and I look forward to future partnerships.”

Mayor Bob Stefanik, Community Development Director Tom Jordan, Council President Larry Antoskiewicz and Ward 3 Councilman Dan Langshaw all attended, too.

After the meet and greet, there was a brainstorm session led by YMCA Board Chair Amy Kuntz, who is also the coalition director of the Partnership for a Healthy North Royalton, discussing possible partnerships; potential future activities such as social gatherings, participation in the Bicentennial Sidewalk Sale in late July, a vendor fair, and participation in the North Royalton Area Business Connection Facebook page for local small businesses; ways to give back in the community and more.

One take away was clear to Jim Nowak, director and founder of Family First Caregivers of Strongsville and Brecksville and member of the YMCA board: the business community is better when it serves one another.

“We’ve got to take care of each other, we’ve got to be loyal to each other.”

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