Richard Bland College of William and Mary hosted the third annual mixer and 97th annual meeting, nicknamed, Party with a Purpose for the Hopewell and Prince George Chamber of Commerce. The event, according to the chamber, was a gathering which was laid back, easy listening and fresh tasting. It was a place for networking and the space allowed for people to hold a private conversation or join a large group. There was also a musical performance by the band, Partner’s and Friends.
“We used to do an annual banquet,” Steve King said. King was a speaker at the event. “The members decided they wanted something a little less formal, and have a little bit more time to actually talk to each other.”
King explained that the members wanted less of a program, and more time to actually network and meet people. King also said the event was first formatted this way last year. Last year it was held at Richard Bland College by the barn area.
“It seemed to be such a success that we repeated it again this year,” King said. “We do this as more of a social event and then they do the awards ceremony in the first quarter of the year.”
The event included a VIP option for $5000, which had 20 reservations, as well as recognition at the sponsors’ reception. The signature option was $2500 with 10 reservations, the platinum level option was $1000 with seven reservations, then there was a gold level option with five reservations for $500, a silver level option with two reservations was $250 and the bronze level option with one reservation was $100.
“The chamber is very responsive to what the members are saying that they want and what will help them in their businesses,” King said. “Rather than us just coming up with a program and expecting everybody to come to it, they listen to the members.”
King said that the event was a reflection of what the members wanted instead of a formal banquet.
“I think it just shows how flexible the Hopewell and Prince George Chamber can be,” King said. “Whatever the members say will help them the most, that’s what the chamber wants to do.”
Members rallied around the chamber which was evidenced by the number of sponsors. People who attended came to strengthen their relationships, as well as develop new ones. They also came to garner support for community initiatives such as trail-building, education, community service, wellness and ‘Made in Virginia’ products. At the event, they were able to sample products including local kale, chocolate truffles and pecan tarts which were made from the pecan grove in Richard Bland. Partners and Friends even composed a new song about Virginia to honor the opportunity to play for businesses and community supporters.
“I grew up in Hopewell, so I’m a local guy,” King said. “I know a lot of these people, I went to school with some of them. It’s nice to have this regional chamber between Hopwell and Prince George together where we can expand our resources.”