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Ellen Contreras

New Treasure Coast B2B monthly networking event had a great turnout

L-R: Tammy Crandell, Rebecca Danise, Rachel Brody, Ellen Contreras, Debbi Goodman Venturina, Cydi Brewer, Christina KlinglerEllen Contreras

Treasure Coast business-to-business networking events are making a resurgence after the pandemic. There is a nice variety of them – breakfast, lunch and after hours – to fit your schedule. Different themes make it interesting too – educational, speed networking, pass-the-mic business commercials, etc.

There is a new networking event entering the scene – Cocktails & Collaborations – held on the last Thursday of the month starting at 5:30pm at Filthy’s Fine Cocktails & Beer. Debbi Goodman Venturina, owner of Your Home Inspections in Vero Beach, is the brainchild of this event. Seeing the need for after-hours networking, she wanted to create an event to meet and connect with other business owners.
Cocktails & Collaborations B2B networking event at Filthy's Fine Cocktails & BeerEllen Contreras

Debbi met the one of the owners of Filthy’s, Angela Novak, at another networking event at COLAB of Vero Beach and shared her idea. Angela and her husband, Nick, recently renovated the bar that they have owned since 2008 and wanted to show it off to the community. Debbi then tapped me to help her co-produce it. We just kicked off the event on Thursday June 30th and it was a wonderful turnout.

Rachel Brody of Pride Air Conditioning personally greeted everyone at the door and collected business cards for the raffle prizes and sold 50/50 tickets. Half the pot went to the staff for tips as they worked so hard setting up the buffet and taking drink orders. The other half went to Opal Nelson, owner of Opal Essence, an international décor & event planning company.

Debbi, her husband, Dwayne, and I went around making introductions as there were a lot of new faces along with veteran networking pros, such as Anna Valencia Tillery, VP of Marketing for White Glove Moving, Storage & Delivery. She also owns the Treasure Coast Premier Women’s Network and produces the wildly popular trio of networking luncheons for businesswomen in Stuart, Port St. Lucie, and Vero Beach.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Filthy’s has terrific happy hour specials. Angela and Nick put out a delicious spread including Caesar salad, baked ziti, bread, and 5 of their specialty pizzas. Janet Sierzant of La Maison Publishing, whose family is from New York and Italy, told me she loved the pizza. I am from Long Island and have also raved about their pizza. She was pleased to find out they do takeout. Janet has a lot of meetings with her writers, and I told her she should bring her group over to Filthy’s for creative meetings and enjoy pizza and libations.
Cocktails & Collaborations B2B event - buffet - Filthy's Fine Cocktails & BeerEllen Contreras

Filthy’s is known for bringing in popular bands such as Soul Jam on the weekends. They also have bingo on Mondays as a fundraiser for Veterans with PTSD. On Sundays stop by for their amazing Bloody Marys. They have a separate menu with a variety of ways to customize your drink with skewers of food – caprese salad, meatballs, shrimp cocktail, olives, bacon, and more. If you haven’t been here in a while, or have never gone, stop in and check it out. You will also want to check out their assortment of uniquely crafted cocktails, hence the name Filthy’s Fine Cocktails & Beer. Curious about how they got their name? Check out the iHeart radio/podcast interview I did with Angela to find out.
Mindy of Filthy's Fine Cocktails & Beer holding one of their special Bloody MarysAngela Novak

The next event is on July 28th, and while the event is free, we are asking businesspeople to register in advance, so Nick and Angela have a headcount for food. To register, go to Make sure to bring plenty of business cards and a door prize if you would like.

Debbi and I appreciated how many people turned out for the first event, especially right before the July 4th weekend. There was also some stormy weather shortly before the event with a tornado warning and touchdown near the airport in Fort Pierce, but even that did not seem to keep people away.

The veteran networkers, as I call them, know the value of networking to build relationships, give and receive referrals as well as securing new business. Tammy Crandell of Journaventure Travel & Tours (and Baron Real Estate) and Rebecca Danise of Harmony Homes Real Estate Services & Property Management are kicking off their own iHeart radio talk show based on their group, The Bucket List Gang.

Christina Klingler, founder of COLAB Vero Beach, was also present to talk about expanding her physical footprint by another 3500 square feet of creative studio space for content creators, photographers, etc. She is also hosting the Summer Business Summit on July 30th & 31st, so check out her site for all the details.

For business owners who want to network but feel it is awkward, do not miss the opportunity to promote yourself and connect with others. Take the pressure off by bringing a colleague or significant other as your wing person. Come in, have a drink, grab a slice and, make it a point to speak with one or two people. Don’t worry about working the room. You will find out that everyone is friendly, and you’ll end up having fun and making a good connection or two. I also send out a copy of everyone’s business card so you can reach out afterward.

Everyone who came had a wonderful time and are looking forward to attending the next event on July 28th. I am looking forward to reporting on July’s event to share the turnout and what some of the movers and shakers are up to.

Disclosure: There are no affiliate links in this article and no compensation received by the author.

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