madison-county-buy-localFor businesses who want to be part of the buy-local movement, an upcoming Business “Speed Dating” night might be worth a try. This networking event, which is being organized through Madison County’s ‘Buy Madison’ Program, will help local businesses make connections by creating an opportunity for quick interactions. If all goes to plan, some of them may even be working with each other by the end of the night.

The event will be held at The Kallet Civic Center in Oneida from 6 to 9 p.m. April 18. It’s free and open to all businesses located in Madison County. Cash bar and hors d’oeuvres included.

Businesses must register to participate at

The evening will begin with presentations from two Madison County businesses who have found success in working with other local companies. Madison Bistro, a restaurant in Wampsville, will share how it is able to regularly source meats and produce from local farms for their menu.

Kriemhild Dairy from Hamilton will also present on their success with local marketing. Kreimhild’s high-end dairy products, including their Meadow Butter and Crème Fraiche, can be found in stores all over the northeast.

It’s not just food industry businesses who can benefit from this event, said County Administrator Mark Scimone.

“This event has real potential to inspire collaboration between some of the best businesses Madison County has to offer,” Scimone said. “Between the shops in our village centers, our natural agro-tourism industry, unique and historic hotels and B&Bs, our strong recreation tourism industry, the robust antique scene, and the emerging hops-based economy, it feels like there are a lot of connections just waiting to be made.”

After presentations, event organizers have planned a round of “business speed dating.” This moderated part of the night might feel a little similar to real speed dating. Participants will line up on either side of a table and sit down for a brief conversation about how their businesses might work together. After a few minutes, time will be called and one side will get up and shift down a seat. The goal is to get local businesses talking to as many other local businesses as possible in a quick yet meaningful way.

The organizers are encouraging participants to bring marketing materials, business cards, product samples, or anything that will help showcase their business.

The Buy Madison program works to strengthen the local economy by providing free support to Madison County businesses and by educating county residents about the benefits of buying local.

Jamie Kowalczk, assistant director of Planning for Madison County, helps manage Buy Madison. She said that the speed dating idea came from a desire to create a fresh and fun way of holding a networking event to benefit local companies.“The nice thing about this format is that it

“The nice thing about this format is that it allows a lot of interactions to happen efficiently and in a way that’s fun but still professional,” Kowalczk said. “Business owners will be more likely to talk to somebody they might not have connected with at a more traditional networking event because they’re going to quickly go down the line and talk to every single person in it. We are looking forward to seeing what creative and innovative connections our local businesses are able to make when they get together in this way. We hope it goes beyond what we even could imagine at the planning stage.”

Businesses do not have to be part of the Buy Madison program to attend the event, but they do have to be located within Madison County. Anyone with questions can call the Madison County Planning Department at 315.366.2377. To register, visit

By martha

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