Article by Brian Louwers, C&G Newspapers/Warren Weekly
If you own a business in Warren or want to do business here, Mark Tremper wants to meet you.
Tremper, who works as the vice president of marketing for a credit union across town and runs his own marketing consulting group in Warren, said his involvement in other chambers of commerce and business associations led him to the realization that his hometown lacked an organization for its own business community. He said that really hit home when Forbes magazine named the Warren area to its list of “Best Places for Businesses and Careers” last year.
“I was kind of waiting for the perfect opportunity,” Tremper said. “When I heard that, I was like, ‘You know what? We’re No. 9. We don’t have our own chamber. We don’t have our own business association that’s city-based.’”
He’s hoping to a build synergy and cohesiveness among Warren businesses as director of the new Warren Business Association.
Tremper said the association started holding introductory meetings in October, began accepting memberships in January and will hold an open house at the home of one of its new members, Central Michigan University’s Warren Center, on April 5.
The small but growing list of members includes Galeana’s Van Dyke Dodge/Ram, a fixture on Van Dyke since 1974.
Dennis Christina, the dealership’s commercial/fleet sales manager, said people looking for new vehicles for their businesses don’t usually walk onto the lot to shop.
He said meetings like those hosted by the Warren Business Association are good places to meet and network with other business representatives — people who may either buy products or refer other customers who will.
“Business owners know business owners,” Christina said. “They might know someone they can refer to, and they have. It’s a big help.
“The friendships, the relationships grow businesses,” Christina said.
Warren Parks and Recreation Director Henry Bowman, another member of the association, said spending time building relationships pays off professionally if your job depends on networking with businesses and other groups in the community.
“The networking groups have a lot of value because it’s building relationships with other community businesses, and relationships are how business is sold,” Bowman said. “I think these one-on-one relationships, where you can call somebody up and you can develop this relationship with someone, not only do you know somebody better, but you know someone you actually trust.
“That’s the No. 1 thing: building these relationships with people you can trust,” Bowman said.
Tremper said the group holds three meetings each month: an early breakfast meeting, one at lunchtime and one in the evening, to accommodate the schedule of anyone wishing to attend.
Memberships in the Warren Business Association range from $180 for an individual to $200 for a corporate membership.
The group emails a newsletter to members each week to keep everyone in the loop about what the association is doing, and about what’s going on in the surrounding regional associations and chambers.
“Not that we’re competing with them. A big part of what we’re doing is that we want to work in partnership with these chambers and groups,” Tremper said.
The Warren Business Association’s open house will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. April 5 at the Central Michigan University Warren Center, located at 28241 Mound Road, Suite C.
For more information, call (248) 795-5424 or visit www.wbaconnects.com.