Eastlake Businesses See Eye to Eye

Carl Robinette

Thu December 5, 2013 4:22pm

In fewer than three years the Eastlake Business Association went from a couple of business owners with an idea, to a fully functioning organization with a few big ideas about giving back to the Eastlake business community.
The organization was established in January 2012 when members of the business community in Eastlake decided to create a networking association that catered to Eastlake businesses and business owners.
“Many of us are already members of groups like the Chula Vista Chamber of Commerce,” said Bernardo Vasquez, the association’s president. “The niche that makes this group unique is that it’s dedicated to the Eastlake area. Eastlake really is a unique area. The business owners on this end of town were really missing a venue where they could get together.”
The association, which meets every Monday at Oggi’s Pizza and Brewing, was designed to bring like-minded individuals and business together. The idea is that when businesses meet face to face and establish relationships within the community it stimulates local referral business.
“The initial goal was just to bring business together to build relationships,” said Vasquez.  “As broad as that goal was, I think it’s really been achieved. People are actually helping each other with each other’s businesses.”
Now with more than 30 paying members and a couple of years under its belt, the business association is looking to expand its impact to the community at large. The board of directors is currently in discussions regarding charity causes that they hope to support, and decisions will be made on that front over the next few meetings, said Vasquez.
“I joined to help build a network of people in related businesses, and basically be able to help their businesses at the same time I’m helping my own,” said John Carrol, vice president of the business association. “With those who attend we’re able to educate them and help somebody else build a business and grow. My goal is just to continue to enhance local business with relationships with others through the EBA.”
The association’s weekly meetings often offer presentations from guest speakers and other experts to discuss topics that vary widely but always have impact on the Eastlake community.
Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox spoke at a meeting in September about issues concerning the South Bay, while other topics have included law enforcement in the Eastlake area and business topics like how to address your clients and target audience.
Last year, member company Pink Star Marketing generated $50,000 in business through the business association, said Crystal Alonso of Pink Star.
“I joined the EBA to build relationships with other businesses,” Alonso said. “It just makes other business owners aware of your product and service. So when they know someone who is in need of those products or services they can refer them based on the trust they have built through the EBA.”
Eastlake Business Association meet-ups are free and open to the public Monday afternoons at Oggi’s Pizza and Brewing on Birch Road.