Randy Cohen was one of those people who thought a networking group could never help his real estate appraisal business, but a year after the launch of the Jewish Business Network of Middlesex County he admitted he was wrong.
“I never thought this would work or benefit me, but it actually has,” said Cohen, owner of DK Real Estate Appraisal in Kendall Park.
Besides meeting many “nice people” who have become friends, the South Brunswick resident has received referrals from accountants, lawyers, and real estate agents for his private appraisal business — and has returned the favor numerous times.
“These are the people I need to meet because private real estate appraisal has changed, and I do tax appeals, divorce, and estate sales,” said Cohen. He added that most network members are owners of small businesses.
The JBN, which holds an early-morning meeting the second Thursday of each month, is sponsored by the Chabad of South Brunswick. It will celebrate its first anniversary at this month’s gathering on Thursday, Sept. 8.
Cohen, a co-coordinator of the group, said he asked Chabad director Rabbi Levi Azimov to launch the Middlesex County group after he visited the Jewish Business Network sponsored by the Chabad of Western Monmouth County and was impressed by what its members were accomplishing.
Azimov said he had also heard from friends and colleagues in other places who had launched Jewish business networks “so we decided to also do it, and it’s been a success beyond words.”
The group’s first meeting last year drew fewer than 20 people, but, Azimov said, by the fourth or fifth gathering more than 50 were showing up — “people from all walks of life, all affiliations, or no affiliation.”
The meetings are held at The Place on the Lake in East Brunswick and feature breakfast, a speaker, usually from within the group — this month it happens to be Cohen — and the opportunity to mingle. Azimov said men are also given the opportunity to put on tefillin.