WESTFIELD – As business owners begin to reopen their doors under state COVID-19 guidelines – networking is an important aspect to spread the word – and the owners of the Westfield Starfires are offering an entertaining way to make business contacts and share in America’s favorite pastime — baseball.
“There’s been a lot of small businesses here and across the country that have been affected by the pandemic, and the Westfield Starfires are trying to support small business when we can,” said Chris Thompson, co-founder and owner.
The Westfield Starfires baseball franchise is owned by Starfires Baseball, LLC, an organization owned in equal partnership by Thompson and Donnie Moorhouse. The collegiate baseball team was launched in February of 2019.
The men will host a Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce networking night on July 8 in the Beer Garden at Bullens Field, starting at 5:30 p.m. Game time is 6:30 and the Starfires will play the Worcester Bravehearts. A rain date of July 14 has been set for the networking event.
Tickets for the evening are $10 for Chamber members and $15 for nonmembers. Admission includes one game ticket and a food voucher for one beer or soft drink and a hot dog. Pre-registration by July 6 is required by calling the Chamber office at (413) 568-1618. Tickets can then be picked up and paid for that evening at the Bullens Field box office will call window.
“This is the first time we will be networking since the virus shut down our world,” said Kate Phelon, executive director, Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce. “I know my Chamber members are anxious to reconnect and want to get ‘back to business,’ of course being as safe as possible.”
Phelon noted that social distancing protocols will be observed according to guidelines provided by Gov. Charlie Baker.
“We know being outdoors is safer, and that we can have six people at a table, so we will be following the state’s guidelines,” said Phelon. “We want our members to feel free to wear their masks if they want to.”
Phelon added she also expects to have hand sanitizer available for attendees.
“First and foremost, members and nonmembers alike must do what they feel comfortable with,” said Phelon. “There is no judgment on our part if they want to wear masks and stay six feet apart.”
Thompson said the Westfield Starfires are “big fans” of the Westfield Chamber, adding, “Kate and her team have been extremely supportive during the launch of our inaugural season and we have been collaborating on our partnership and how to grow the relationship moving forward.”
Thompson said the networking event at Bullens Field each season will be part of that ongoing partnership. Additionally, Thompson said he is looking forward to networking with business owners and organizations to see how they too could create unique marketing opportunities together.
“We offer a unique opportunity to get involved with us,” said Thompson, noting marketing options for businesses can range from offering tickets to clients and employees to conducting outings.
“The group sales process is a big part of our business,” said Thompson. “We are out marketing to community groups and we participate in networking events and sponsor breakfasts for the visibility because we want to be a part of the community.”
Those types of networking connections can be critical to any business and Phelon and Thompson are hopeful that next month’s event will be successful for everyone attending.
“Chris and Donnie did their homework when they were planning to bring collegiate baseball to Westfield and knew the Beer Garden would be a nice feature for their guests,” said Phelon. “The prices are good too – not like Fenway!”
In other Chamber news, the 59th annual Golf Tournament is slated Aug. 31 at East Mountain Country Club and early bird registration has been extended to July 15.
“This event is so important to the Chamber and our members in many ways,” said Phelon. “It helps to support the Chamber’s mission and is an excellent networking event for members to make connections.”
Phelon said participants not only enjoy a game of golf and dinner, but also have a chance to win “amazing” raffle and live auction prizes.
“It is also an opportunity to recognize our business sponsors, who we are so grateful for,” she said, noting businesses still have time to donate raffle prizes which can be dropped off at the office or a time can be scheduled to pick up a prize.
Also, a Block Party at Results in Wellness, 93 Springfield Road, Suite B, is slated Aug. 10.
“These block parties are an informal membership drive event in which a Chamber member will host the event,” said Phelon. “We invite our members, of course, but also all the businesses who are not members on the ‘block’ to attend to come and see what the Chamber is all about.”
Lastly, Phelon said the Chamber’s “infamous September Breakfast” is on schedule for Sept. 18 at the 104th Fighter Wing of the Massachusetts Air National Guard at Barnes Air National Guard Base.
“I have a packed agenda for this breakfast and sadly, it will be my farewell event,” she added regarding her upcoming retirement.
For more details on any of the events, call the office or visit westfieldbiz.org.