East Dallas Networking Group Awarded Newtorking Group Of The Month March 2018
Serving Community and Business in East Dallas for over 10 years
East Dallas Networking Provides Businesses with Place to Connect
How they got started
For businesses on the east side of White Rock Lake and beyond, East Dallas Networking has been the place to be every Thursday for lunch for nearly 10 years.
The organization was started in 2008 by Dr. Chuck Kobdish, an East Dallas chiropractor and owner of BackMenders, and former Greater East Dallas Chamber of Commerce President Greg Solomon. They were among four people who attended the first meeting.
Weekly Meeting on Thursdays
Today, about 65 people congregate weekly at Highland Park Cafeteria in a shopping center off Buckner Street just south of Garland Road. EDN’s continued ability to provide a forum for small business owners to learn from each other is one reason it was selected at Lonestar Business News as the Networking Group of the Month for March.
“There have been a lot of people who have come and gone but we have a lot of great folks who have really helped build this group,” Kobdish said. “Jessie (Simmons) and Mark Weber have been instrumental. We have a lot of people who have been here since close to the very beginning.”
Simmons, an owner of an air conditioning and appliance repair service, is EDN’s treasurer, while Weber, proprietor of a computer service company, is secretary.
“While I’m the only founding member still around, I truly attribute the success of the group to ALL our members, many of whom have been around a long, long time,” said Kobdish, a former financial planner. “Jesse and Mark have been heavily invested in EDN for many years now, and deserve much of the credit.
“We have built businesses. There are people who have been here since the very beginning who have doubled their business in a year and continued to double and triple their businesses. We’ve done a great job of building these businesses here in East Dallas.”
One reason for EDN’s success is its $2 weekly fee which attendees pay in addition to their lunch. Businesses also can become sponsors for just $120 annually. This fee is to cover the service of the waitress and supplies and anything left over goes into their charity fund.
“EDN was built to be fun, affordable, and helpful and we are all those things, You find another group that costs you two bucks a meeting. That’s a cheap group. That’s an affordable group. If you spend an hour a week with EDN you will have fun, it’s affordable and you likely will get business out of it.”
Active in their Community
EDN’s success also has extended far beyond its members through community advocacy and business education. This includes hosting semi-annual food and clothing drives assisting people served by the White Rock Center of Hope.
Since 2010, EDN has donated more than $31,200 to various East Dallas charitable organizations including Aberg Center for Literacy, Alley’s House, Dallas Children’s Theater, C.C. Young Benevolence Fund, East Lake Pet Orphanage, Epiphany Dance Arts Artistic Outreach, Exodus Ministries, Ferguson Road Initiative, For the Love of the Lake- Celebration Tree Grove, Heavenly Mimi, Housing Crisis Center, Promise of Peace Community Garden, Sanger Elementary Career Day, Sanger Elementary Save the Campout, White Rock Center of Hope, and the Wilkinson Center.
Several years ago, a subgroup called East Dallas Networking Accountability (EDNA) Group was started where a small number of members meet monthly to help other businesses discuss their business goals and success or failure in meeting them and why.
How it works
EBN meetings follow lunch and start with Kobdish making announcements, then asking first-time attendees to introduce themselves, how they learned of the group and a bit about their businesses. One recent newcomer was Annette Cox, who doubles as an independent ambassador for Plexus Worldwide health and wellness and Cox Consulting which helps large companies with banking and financial needs. She was introduced to the group a year ago when Simmons repaired her refrigerator.
“I really enjoyed it. It was good the way people recognize each other and introduce each other for business opportunities,” Cox said. “That’s the purpose of a networking group but it’s clear it really happens in real life here. You don’t always see that.”
Among the benefits of a group like East Dallas Networking is learning of the diverse array of businesses owned by people bragging about them in 30-second elevator speeches. Among those at a meeting in late February were people in mortgage, health services, attorneys, financial planners, commercial printers, realtors, insurance, plus various trade and other professional services.
After that come testimonials to thank people for their businesses, announcements and one-on-one meetings that also take place before the main session. Yes, EBN truly is a place to meet people in just about every type of small business.
“You can find anyone you want here and be connected to the chamber of commerce,” Simmons said.
If you have a favorite networking group that you think should be our next networking group of the month, please nominate them here!