Stort Valley Spirits hosts local business networking event

Business / Mon 6th Nov 2023 at 04:05pm

ON November 1st, Stort Valley Gifting welcomed more than 65 local companies to their first Local Business Networking held at their Hamper Hub, in West Place, Harlow.

The free event was organised by Emma Robson, Director of Stort Valley Gifting, with the support of Newhall resident Rupy Virdee of The Ultimate Story, a full service events agency.

Attendees had not only the opportunity to network with each other in the newly opened private events space, but also to try samples from local artisans including Temprd Chocolate, Tiptree Patisserie and Essex Spirits Co which were then available to purchase from the shop front.

The bar served drinks from local producers including, amongst others, Harlow based Redchurch Brewery, The Belgian Brewer in Bishop’s Stortford, and The Chelmsford Brew Co. Those preferring to stick to soft drinks enjoyed alcohol free offerings from Loughton based Sipp’d and Unltd. Alcohol Free Beer from Hertford.

The idea for a free, local networking evening, was conceived after Stort Valley Gifting moved back to Harlow in July and Emma realised there was a demand for something that was free of charge and held in the evenings.

Emma said “When we set up Stort Valley Gifting in October 2020, we joined a local networking group which enabled us to make valuable connections within the community. It was through networking that we first connected with St Clare Hospice and subsequently we have supported them through events and donations, as well as being founder members of their Corporate Partnership Network.

When Stort Valley Gifting moved back to Harlow we used local suppliers where we could, from our office furniture to our CCTV, phones, internet, even our paint and carpet came from smaller independent businesses..

“Then, we thought why not make the most of our events space and use it to connect other local businesses in an informal environment. We didn’t expect the uptake we got – over 90 businesses signed up and we were delighted to have over 65 people come along on the day. Being a part of the Harlow community is so important to us. We are passionate about championing the local food and drink we have in the area through our local produce gift hampers, and, via the people we have met, have built up a network of both suppliers and producers.

“We strongly believe that working with other local companies can only be of benefit, allowing people to develop long-standing relationships and helping the local infrastructure”

The event was promoted predominantly through social media, including via Your Harlow, the area’s online news provider, and within a week over 40 people had signed up. Attendees came from as far as Basildon and companies ranged from IT providers to gyms, accountants, plumbers and removal firms. The feedback received from the event has been positive and Emma is looking to host another networking in early 2024.

Asa Burches, Director of Seo2Print, a printing firm based in Little Hallingbury said “ Wow, what an evening. We made some great connections. Free networking is difficult to find locally, particularly in the evening so it was a superb opportunity for us and we look forward to the next one. It is nice to see the support between so many local companies- spending locally is essential to the growth of the local economy. I even ended up ordering a local produce hamper for one of my clients after tasting some of the delicious produce available!”

For the next event Emma is looking to grow the numbers and to invite a local food company to attend with a pop up. She hopes this will allow another small business who may not have a physical presence, to increase their brand awareness.

For more information on Stort Valley Gifting, or on the next event you can visit their website www.stortvalleyspirits.co.uk or contact Emma Robson on [email protected].

Stort Valley Gifting are based at 5 West Place, Harlow, CM20 2GY and offer local food and drink produce, gift hampers, corporate gifting, personalised and branded ribbon, private events space and tastings.

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