It’s been 10 years since a small group of local business owners came together with one sole mission in mind – to help build each other up rather than tear each other down. This was the beginning of the Bensalem Business Association, a networking organization that today boasts approximately 50 members hailing from across Lower Bucks County and Philadelphia.
In honor of this impressive milestone, the BBA hosted a 10th anniversary celebration dinner on Wednesday, July 10, at UNO Pizzeria & Grill, 801 Neshaminy Mall, Bensalem. More than 40 people were in attendance, including current and past BBA members, for an evening of food, friends and fun.
Representatives from the offices of Mayor Joseph DiGirolamo, Rep. Gene DiGirolamo and Sen. Tommy Tomlinson were at the restaurant, each presenting the BBA board of directors with a recognition citation. A flag that was flown over the Capitol and a citation from the U.S. House of Representatives was also presented on behalf of Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick.
“We were overwhelmed by the support we received from the local government officials,” said BBA president Dave Rubin, of Computer Troubleshooters. “I was touched by that. I wasn’t expecting that in any way, shape or form. I thought that was very nice.”
Each BBA member received a commemorative multi-use pen/stylus/light, while those who have been a part of the organization for 10 and 5-9 years were gifted certificates of appreciation for their active membership.
For Rubin, who has been involved with the BBA since its inaugural year in 2009, it was a pleasure to see so many come together at UNO for the event.
“I think the members loved it. The turnout was really good. We didn’t have all of the members, obviously, but we had a large part of the members show up for this. Some I haven’t seen in a while, some I see all the time. So I thought this was a really good example of how much they want to be a part of it, how much they recognize it,” he said.
When asked to reflect on the past decade, one memory in particular stands out in Rubin’s mind – the BBA’s first July social at Bar Louie. This was an alternative to its monthly July meeting, which Rubin said was always lightly-attended.
“I would say that was a proud moment just because we didn’t know how it was going to turn out. It’s July,” he said. “Would someone actually want to come out and talk to members?”
The answer was “yes,” with nearly 30 people showing up.
“It wasn’t the alcohol that brought them. A lot of people weren’t even drinking. They just sat around and talked. Normal stuff. Some people talked shops, some people talked about their kids and summer vacations. It was nice,” he said.
According to Rubin, although the BBA is first and foremost a business organization, its work isn’t always about networking.
“We’re also people and hanging out sometimes is pretty cool,” he said.
In addition to creating a sense of community among members, the BBA is working to expand its reach into the community at large through various fundraising initiatives. This sense of philanthropy is something Rubin plans to make a key component of the organization over its next 10-year stretch.
To date, the BBA has donated regularly to the Women’s Animal Center, the Bensalem Historical Society and Just For The Kids Foundation, a local nonprofit that raises money for projects in the Bensalem Township School District.
“If you have good people, and those people are good business people and they do business in the township, that helps the township. That helps the community. If you have angry people, things don’t get done or people just like to play the blame game. I like people that take responsibility,” he said. “We do what we can for our community.”
On Oct. 12, at the Eddington Room in Bensalem, the BBA is hosting its first “Beef n’ Beer,” which will benefit veterans through the Wounded Warrior Project.
“They do a lot of great work for not just wounded warriors when they come back, but the mental aspects of it. They help the families,” Rubin said. “Our members are really behind it. I’m expecting great turnout. I see that getting bigger and bigger as the years go by. We’re a business association, but it shouldn’t always be about business. It should be about helping.”
As he looks ahead at the next 10 years of the BBA, Rubin said he’s excited and hopeful for its long-term success. He stressed that members will continue to have a voice, with annual open forums taking place. They can also expect a continuous slew of networking opportunities and engaging socials, including the BBA’s holiday dinner in December.
“When it comes down to it, it’s about the members. They have to want to come to a meeting,” Rubin said. “I think the energy’s good. These guys, they keep coming back because they see value. And as long as they see value, then we’re going to be here.” ••
For more information on the Bensalem Business Association and its upcoming “Beef n’ Beer,” visit bensalembusiness.com/fundraiser.html
Samantha Bambino can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org