Biz N.D.G. was formed as the debate over the disruptive Monkland Village street festivals raged on in the community before ultimately being cancelled this year. John Mahoney / Montreal Gazette
The newly formed Notre-Dame-de-Grâce Business Association hosted such a networking event in January deemed so successful that organization heads have decided to do it again — bringing west-end entrepreneurs and professionals together to talk shop, exchange business cards and build connections.
“We’re trying to create and cultivate that culture of networking for support among N.D.G. and west-end business owners,” said founding board member Michael Simkin. “This is what we think we can do to both support and promote local economic development in our territory, which is N.D.G.”
Business X360: Édition N.D.G. 2.0 is scheduled for Friday, from noon to 2 p.m., at Prime BBQ Co., located at 6450 Somerled Ave. “We’re hoping merchants will be able to get away for an hour or two to grab some lunch,” said Simkin, a lawyer with Legal Logik. “We’re going to have brokers, financiers, bankers and obviously lawyers are going to be there.”
The N.D.G. Business Association, nicknamed Biz N.D.G., has been developing and discussing business-boosting strategies since its formation in September. Biz N.D.G. replaced a business association that was focused solely on Sherbrooke St. W. when, during the annual general meeting, members voted to dissolve the old association and instead cover all of N.D.G. under a new name. While the new board solidifies its mission and plans to grow as an organization, there have been regular networking events on a smaller scale.
“But these bigger events really serve as a way for people to build contacts with those that can actually help their business grow,” said Simkin. His law firm is sponsoring the event alongside several other companies and community organizations. It costs $10 in advance or $15 at the door and that price includes a BBQ buffet lunch. “We had over 100 people at the first one and we should have over 100 people at this one.”
Biz N.D.G. was formed as the debate over the disruptive Monkland Village street festivals raged on in the community. There were many residents and merchants who didn’t like the loud music, street closures and large crowds that these two annual events brought to the area. On the other hand, there were many that supported the Grand Prix and Flavours of Monkland festivals as they attracted tens of thousands of people.
Eventually, the two summer festivals were cancelled in February by Danny Roseman and his team, largely in reaction to the public outcry. Roseman was organizing the events with his company, Monkland Village Productions (MVP), while serving as president of the Monkland Merchants Association (MMA). Many questioned the line between his non-profit association and his for-profit business. Since then, the MMA has mostly gone quiet. There have been no posts to its Facebook page since February and its website redirects to MVP.
One person who spoke out against those festivals was Peggy Regan, owner of Le Gryphon d’Or Tea Room, located at 5968 Monkland Ave. Now she is Biz N.D.G.’s board president.
“It’s not primarily our purpose to organize events,” said Regan. “That’s not really what we’re about.”
There are still mixed feelings in the community about the festivals, said Regan, with some members wanting “something to be happening.” The association is assessing what members want, she added. Meanwhile, Biz N.D.G. is supporting the upcoming N.D.G. Arts Week in August.
The annual art-focused week, with its series of cultural activities, is something, she said, “that we are really getting behind, helping to promote and getting involved with not as a substitute for the street festivals, but as an emphasis in a different direction.”
Karla Osorio attended the January networking event. She owns Moushi, a sushi restaurant located at 5209 Decarie Blvd. She said there were a lot of people at the last networking event and she met people from all areas of business. She was able to promote her business some, she said, but she also got involved with N.D.G. Arts Week planning.
“N.D.G. needed an association to bring entrepreneurs together and it’s fulfilling its objective,” said Osorio. “They’re getting everybody together. As an entrepreneur, that’s sometimes something you lack because you don’t know where to go for resources or to meet other people that have similar businesses to yours.”
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