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February 17. 2014 8:15PM

Hooksett chamber expanding membership and services

HOOKSETT — As the Hooksett Chamber of Commerce nears its five year anniversary, efforts to recruit and retain local businesses have ramped up significantly.

In 2013, for instance, Christina Zlotnick was hired as executive director of the Hooksett Area Chamber of Commerce. Though her position is part time, Zlotnick has ventured into the local business community with the intent of growing the organization into a one-stop source for all Hooksett economic development needs.

That strategy includes regular information seminars and monthly networking events.

“Since I’ve been hired, a lot of my focus has been trying to bring more value to the membership,” said Zlotnick. “I’m also trying to grow the organization by planning more events and trying to identify what people and businesses are interested in hearing about.”

The chamber has grown to nearly 50 members, including Barrett Insurance, which joined last week.

“I’ve been a networker for a long time, so that part is important to me. It’s also meaningful to be a member of an organization that supports Hooksett businesses and brings businesses together for community events,” said company President Matthew Barrett. “The Hooksett chamber really seems to have a future here. It’s a good group of people who have been doing some great things in town, and it’s grown a lot in a relatively short period of time.”

“It’s all about networking,” said Zlotnick. “Thats why most people join, so whatever I can do to facilitate that is where I put my efforts.”

Janet Wilson of the New Hampshire chapter of Business Network International (BNI) will present at a luncheon seminar scheduled for Feb. 19, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at PSNH at 12 Legends Drive in Hooksett. Meals are provided by New England’s Tap House Grille and admission is complimentary for up to two representatives from chamber member businesses and $10 for perspective members and guests.

“(Wilson) is going to talk about some of the top mistakes networkers make,” said Zlotnick. “Basically, it’s about how to improve your networking skills in order to grow your business.”

On Wednesday, Feb. 26, the chamber partners with New Hampshire State Sen. David Boutin to host a panel discussion and Q&A session focused on the local and state business climate. The forum, which runs from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Hooksett Public Library includes information on current business-related legislation from Boutin, who chairs the Senate Capital Budget Committee and the Public and Municipal Affairs Committee.

The monthly events and seminars are, of course, important, but Zlotnick said the big upcoming event is the chamber’s first fundraiser, a March 26 comedy night at New England’s Tap House Grille featuring Mike Koutrobis.

The evening includes a three-course meal and beer pairings, in addition to a silent auction with prize items such as Bruins and Celtics tickets and a custom fly rod. Admission is $45.

For more information on the Hooksett Chamber of Commerce call 863-4720 or email hooksettchamber@gmail.com. Interested parties may also visit www.hooksettchamber.com or follow the chamber on Facebook.

roconnor@newstote.com


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