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Organization expands along with membership
Business 400 hits two-year milestone
Business 400
Ron Perigo and Diane Campbell exchange business cards during a recent Business 400 networking meeting. - photo by Jennifer Sami

At a glance

• What: Business 400 Inc. second anniversary

• When: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. April 5

• Where: Forsyth Conference Center at Lanier Technical College, 7745 Majors Road

• Cost: $5 for Business 400 members; $15 for non-members

• On the Net:

When Ron Dinsmore started Business 400, he had no idea the networking organization would grow into what it has become.

“My biggest surprise was not understanding how bad it was needed,” Dinsmore said.

Business 400, he said, is the only networking organization of its kind in that it isn’t limited to one or two counties, but is open to anyone doing business along the Georgia 400 corridor.

“Unlike some networking events you go where you see the same people over and over, here we typically have between 40 and 60 percent of the people at each meeting who have never been to a meeting before,” he said.

The organization, which Dinsmore said has about 300 members, will celebrate its second anniversary April 5.

The anniversary meeting will run from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Forsyth Conference Center at Lanier Technical College.

Dinsmore said the organization began meeting at the conference center in January, after having gathered for the first 20 months at the Metropolitan Club in Alpharetta.

During each monthly networking event, members and nonmembers are invited to get to know numerous business people from Buckhead to Dahlonega.

Each meeting features vendor tables, as well as food samples and cash drawings.

“We’ve given away about $50,000 over the past two years,” Dinsmore said. “God has blessed us and been very faithful, so we want to give back to others.”

That desire was Dinsmore’s reason for beginning the group, he said.

“To help businesses grow and expand has always been my only motivation for this entire thing,” Dinsmore said.

Bruce Longmore, owner of Lenny’s Sub Shop in Cumming, has seen that come to fruition.

Longmore, who serves on Business 400’s board, said he believes his participation has contributed to the sub shop’s success.

“I joined Business 400 and Ron’s other group, Network for Success, which is a closed networking group that meets once a week, in anticipation of growing my catering business,” Longmore said. “I’ve gotten quite a bit of catering from both organizations.”

Other results have been somewhat unexpected, Longmore said.

“Retail at the restaurant has been pretty spectacular too,” he said. “I’ve gotten on average about 10 to 15 people in each week from Business 400 or Network for Success.

“I never really anticipated that. It’s been one of the pleasant surprises.”

Besides businesses like Longmore’s, Dinsmore said he also wants to help nonprofits. As such, he spotlights one to two charitable groups during each Business 400 meeting.

Faith’s House, an organization that helps empower single mothers, will be featured during next week’s event.

In addition to the monthly meetings, Business 400 also offers its members seminars on various business topics.

Dinsmore hopes to have a large crowd for the anniversary celebration.

“A lot of people have put a lot of hard work, effort and energy into building this [organization],” he said.

“We’ll have a couple of anniversary cakes and want to have a lot of fun.”