Business leaders from Stettler came together on Wednesday night, March 29, for a Stettler Board of Trade (SBOT) mixer hosted by Andrea Hatch at the Cabinet of Curiosities. Around 20 participants from various local businesses took part in the event, which was part art class, part business mixer and part wine and cheese reception.
“We stayed late until about 10:30 p.m. just networking and the discussions that came up were really good,” said Stacey Benjamin, SBOT executive director.
These business mixers are great opportunities for business owners and managers to get to know one another and identify opportunities for helping others out, Benjamin added.
The SBOT typically holds these events every two months, with a different business hosting every time.
“A lot of our businesses that host come to us first,” Benjamin said, adding that “we’ve got quite a few businesses that are interested in hosting throughout this year already.”
“We love to go explore and see what the businesses have to offer and showcase their business,” Benjamin said.
Painting was a new experience for many of the people in attendance, which made the event special.
“We’ve never done anything like a paint night before, so it was unique,” Benjamin commented.
Teela Lynn, SBOT office assistant and organizer of the event, noted that basing the event around an activity made the networking aspect easier for those involved.
“I think it was a nice event where people could relax and network because they had that aspect of the painting that took their mind off the awkward forced networking experience,” Lynn said. “It’s really hard to talk about your business and to talk up yourself, and sometimes having that distraction really does help.”
Andrea Hatch, owner of Cabinet of Curiosities and the host of the evening, noticed that the combination of painting and conversation helped produce better artwork as well.
“When I’m teaching somebody to paint, if I get them thinking about something else while they’re painting, they tend to relax, which means the picture tends to be better, and the conversation can often be better too,” Hatch said.
The idea for the evening, Hatch explained, was to strip away some of the formality that usually comes with business events in order to make people feel more comfortable talking to each other.
Many Stettler locals will recognize the Cabinet of Curiosities as one of Stettler’s one-stop shops for art and framing supplies, but Hatch’s business extends beyond what most people see in the shop.
“Because I’m so specialized, I wanted to broaden my trade market area so that people from outside come to me rather than me having to go to them,” Hatch explained. “So now I have people from different parts of the country that ship me things to either repair or frame.”
Hatch put her art expertise into action on Wednesday night, and each person who attended went home with a canvas of their own work.