by Ardie Arvidson
During a special area-wide Business Networking International breakfast on Wednesday morning at Victors in Florence, a ribbon cutting was held as the three chapters joined the Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce.
Chamber ambassadors joined in the celebration.
Five chapters of Business Networking International (BNI) were represented at the meeting. They were BNI Pee Dee, Florence — Wednesday breakfast (7:30) at Victors, BNI Business Builders, Florence — Thursday breakfast (7:30) at Bazen’s, BNI Palmetto Business Referrals, Florence — Monday lunch (12:30) at The Peddler, BNI Business and Networking Group (BANG), Sumter — Wednesday breakfast at Central Carolina Tech; BNI Soaring to New Heights, Hartsville — Tuesday breakfast at Cobra Club Room in DeLoach Center at Coker University.
These five chapters have a combined membership of about 180 members. About 200 people attended the event.
The ribbon was cut by BNI Pee Dee Chapter President David Fountain. Presidents of the other two Florence chapters are Ashley Klynstra of Palmetto Business Referrals and Susan Evans of Business Builders.
The mission of BNI as stated on its website, www.BNI.com, “is to help members increase their business through a structured, positive and professional referral marketing program that enables them to develop long-term, meaningful relationships with quality business professionals.”
Worldwide, there are more than 9,400 chapters. It is one of the largest referral organizations worldwide.
Fountain said he joined BNI to network and grow his business. He wanted people to know that UPS does more than shipping. He joined for printing.
Fountain said he made a promise to himself to do something different in 2018, and he joined BNI. He said only one profession in a category is represented in each chapter.
One member attending on Wednesday, Charles Saverance of BNI Soaring to New Heights Chapter in Hartsville, and director consultant for BNI Pee Dee and BNI BANG, said “I have been a member for eight years (actually got my eight-year pin today).” He said joining the chamber offers these chapters greater opportunities to network.
The area director is Kay Kennedy-Niziol from Murrells Inlet.