A group of Mansfield business owners have banded together to network, socialize and make new businesses feel welcome.
The Mansfield Business Alliance, the city’s newest chamber of commerce, launched January 3 with 25 members and within two weeks was up to 60.
“Business owners have said ‘thank you so much,’” said Joe Jenkins, a Mansfield native, Farmers Insurance agent and the founder of the new group. “They want that connection.”
The idea came to Jenkins about a year ago, he said.
“I ran into the mayor when he was doing a ribbon cutting in Mansfield,” Jenkins said. “I said ‘What are you doing here?’ He said somebody has to welcome these businesses to town. I said we should have a group of businesses to welcome them.”
So Jenkins began to think about what a new chamber of commerce should look like and do.
What will the Mansfield Business Alliance do? Ribbon cuttings, coffee conversations, a philanthropic event and business after-hours are the first priorities.
“The whole point of those ribbon cuttings is when people are starting a business, they put blood, sweat and tears and a lot of money into it,” Jenkins said. “This gives them validation that this is important. Having all these other businesses there is a big deal.”
Jenkins remembers how important the ribbon cutting was when he launched his business. And when he launched the Mansfield Business Alliance, the ribbon cutting was a huge success.
“We had 130 (people) at the ribbon cutting,” he said. “I got emotional driving home from the ribbon cutting. I knew there were other businesses that felt the same way I did. I just didn’t know there were so many.”
The new business alliance has already held another ribbon cutting, coffee conversation with the city manager and a business after-hours that drew 100 people. And the group is hoping for many more – conversations with Superintendent Kimberly Cantu, State Rep. David Cook and State Rep. Chris Turner.
Annual membership is $250 for a business, $100 for an individual.
“In order to serve on the board or have a vote, we require that your business be inside the Mansfield ISD,” Jenkins said. “You are allowed to join if your business is outside the MISD or even if you are just an individual that wants to know what is going on in Mansfield.”
For more information, go to mansfieldbusinessalliance.org.