Small business owners learn to collaborate at Southington brewery

Small business owners learn to collaborate at Southington brewery


SOUTHINGTON — Arm wrestlers, soap makers and woodworkers mingled with business owners of all stripes during a recent event at Kinsmen Brewing Co. on Canal Street.

After attending too many networking meetings where she saw potential but something was missing, Sammy DiVito decided to create her own, calling it the Connecticut Small Business Party.

“I wanted to connect with other small business owners that are kind of on the same page. I love tradesmen and artisan level entrepreneurs,” DiVito said during Thursday’s event at the brewery. “I wanted to create something for people like me. There are true, lasting relationships that develop out of what we do here.”

Thursday’s meeting was the second DiVito organized, with the first held at Hog River Brewery in Hartford. She plans to have one every three months, with the next in the first week of November.

“We’re fostering a community of people who support each other and are looking to grow and expand their businesses and have fun while doing it. That’s the most important part,” Divito said. A business owner herself, she said her company, Rustic Doors and Décor, has seen a marked increase in interest.

“If I want to make a table, and I’m a woodworker, there’s a metal fabricator here who can make the legs for me. And if I think I’ve made a great website, there’s a marketing person here who can make it even better.”

“I think it’s awesome, a good way to meet people,” said Marc Piatek, a Southington resident who is a member of the Connecticut Arm Benders, an arm wrestling team which competes across the country.

The club had a table set up where anyone could give it a try.

While he does compete nationally and his coach, Ron Ermini, is traveling to Hungary next month to compete in a worldwide tournament, Piatek said he’s in it for the fun.

“People need to see you over and over again,” said Aylah Clark, who works with Whole Health Wellness Center. She said that much of her business comes from connections with people and networking events.

“I’m also here to get arm-wrestling advice,” she said.

For Brenda Sullivan, meeting so many fellow area business owners furthers her goal of keeping her business, Farm to Bath, as local as possible.

She and her husband, Paul Sullivan, run a farm where she grows herbs, flowers and other ingredients for her skincare products.

Just going to farmers’ markets keeps her in a bubble of seeing the same faces, but coming out to the brewery put her in a whole new circle.

“I want to know stuff. I want to learn,” Sullivan said. Not being technologically inclined herself, she said that she could find people who can give her advice on programs, for instance.

“I think it brings more awareness of what’s around here,” said Caroline Patenaude, who came to the brewery to enjoy the beer.

While she wasn’t there for the party, she said she was happy to see more potential for local businesses in the area.

“Whatever gets Southington more active businesses,” she added.

Dan Kardos, who runs Rusticly Ever After with his wife, Chloe Kardos, said he met other artisans who they can learn from to improve their linen and woodworking business.

“We both can make our businesses more diverse,” he said of such collaborations. “You get know what someone else has to offer and what you can offer to someone else. If we can collaborate together and come up with something new people want, everybody wins.”

Support Quality Local Journalism

Latest Videos