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A home away from home: Home-based businesses invited to take part in Chamber networking event

Karin Weigel

Home-based businesses in the area will soon have a chance to tell the community what they're all about, through a Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce's event in March.

March's Off the Clock event differs from the traditional setup. Typically, an individual business hosts the networking event the fourth Thursday of each month.

Since this is not an option for home-based businesses, the March 22 Off the Clock will instead be held at the Phoenix Event Center in Alexandria. It will feature a number of home-based businesses in the area, giving those business owners the chance to offer information about the services they offer.

From 4 to 5 p.m., attendees will be able to to visit with the businesses at their tables. From 5 to 6 p.m., business owners will speak about their businesses. There will be door prizes, food and drinks.

"There's a lot of people who have commented to us that they'd really like to host but don't have space, or their office is little, or they're home-based," Chamber director Tara Bitzan said.

One home-based business owner taking advantage of the Off the Clock event is Karin Weigel. Through her business, Cultivate 2 Conquer Consulting, Weigel utilizes Gallup Strengths Center's StrengthsFinder test to help individuals recognize their assets and apply them in their daily life.

"Other Off the Clocks are at a business and you see it and what they're about," Weigel said. "So this is a good opportunity for people that have home-based businesses, for other people to hear what they have or offer or sell."

Weigel became a chamber member this past summer, at the urging of a friend.

"I think joining the Chamber gets my name out there," she said. "It's a good opportunity for people with new businesses."

At the door, $1 will be collected from each attendee and donated to a local nonprofit voted on by the home-based business owners.

"It gives us the opportunity to pick a nonprofit we like," Weigel said. "It's a way to give back when we don't really have the chance to do that otherwise."

Off the Clock events are open to the public. Businesses wishing to participate in the home-based business Off the Clock must be Chamber members. If interested, contact the Chamber at 320-763-3161.

"If this one goes over well, we're considering the same type of thing in the fall, with more of an expo style format," Bitzan said. "Our networking events are popular in this community and there's always a good turnout."

Off the Clock

Participating home-based businesses for March 22 Off the Clock:

Bina's Service Corp & Databae Systems

Cultivate 2 Conquer

Du Nord Consulting

Keller Williams Realty

Mid-Minnesota EMS Education, Inc.

Quality Computer Services of Central Minnesota, LLC

RTF Communications

Beth Leipholtz

Beth is a reporter at the Echo Press. She graduated from the College of Saint Benedict in May 2015 with a degree in Communication and Hispanic Studies. Journalism has always been her passion, but she also enjoys blogging and graphic design. In her spare time, she's most likely at Crossfit or at home with her boyfriend and three dogs.

(320) 763-1233