Leslie Forrester believes that relationships are the key to the success of a small business and most of her relationships are thanks to the Greater Riverview Chamber of Commerce’s (GRCC) Taking Care of Business (TCOB) Relationship Building Network.

TCOB, as it is fondly known to its almost 200 members, is a relationship building group that meets each Thursday from 7:30-9 a.m. at The Alley at South Shore. All TCOB members are also members of the GRCC but any representative of a business or group is welcome.

“We’ve had candidates for office, volunteers representing local charities and community organizers and activists as well as representatives of small, medium and large businesses in the area,” said GRCC Board Member Leslie Forrester of Quality Life Massage Therapy.

During the meetings, new members are given the opportunity to introduce themselves and speak about their group, established members also speak during the “Business Minute” and “30 Second Commercial” portions of the meeting and there is always a speaker.

“There is a warmth, humor and energy that is difficult to put into words,” said Forrester. “For many regular attendees, they can’t imagine starting a Thursday any other way.”

The group began meeting in 2004, according to Forrester, in the living room of one of TCOB’s founding members. Attendance is not mandatory each week, but Forrester believes most meetings have between 50 and 75 attendees.

“We are there to grow business, yes, but that is almost secondary to the relationships and friendships we develop,” said Forrester. “We recently had one member perform a marriage ceremony for another, for example.”

The group sponsors a monthly luncheon with the GRCC and is very involved with the various events the chamber puts on from Trick or Treat Street to the annual golf tournament. They also use social media to promote each other’s businesses and leave reviews.

Any business or organization that is a member of the GRCC and wishes to pay the additional $60 a month fee is invited to join the group. Any one attending the meeting must also pay $2 cash at the door. Visitors are welcome to attend twice before joining.

For more information, call the GRCC at 234-5944 or visit www.riverviewchamber.com.