Burlingame businesses lend one another a hand

A chef, a real estate developer and a magazine editor sit around a cluttered table Thursday morning in a downtown Burlingame restaurant.

The group members, from a dozen different trades, are not playing hooky from work — they are networking and helping one another’s businesses grow, and they have been doing it weekly since September.

They are part of the Burlingame Business Group, a local startup that plucks top representatives from fields such as law, accounting and the Web to create a growing dream team of local business people.

Slava Zamalin, a real estate agent with the Burlingame Prudential Realty office, co-founded the group in July and wants group members from 35 business categories. She and co-founder Joe Puerzer, a local financial adviser, started the group after finding other networks were too unorganized and unspecific to the region.

They help each other with leads, give tips to small businesses looking to survive and share ideas to enhance everyone’s knowledge of their commercial community.

Already, the efforts have been worthwhile. One member working with a flooring outlet hoping to move into Burlingame “married” the company to broker and group member Ken Housley, who just happened to know of a great spot for the business to take root.

“I get inspiration meeting here and I go out and set the world on fire again,” said Housley, who works for Coldwell Banker Commercial. “This keeps me from retiring.”

During meetings, each member gives a 60-second “elevator” pitch on themselves and their business so members feel comfortable referring clients to one another.

“Maybe I can become a salesperson [for other members], an extension of Slava, or Ken, or anyone else in the group,” member Charles Vezinaw said.

mrosenberg@examiner.com

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