Business association growing quickly


PROSPECT — The Prospect Business Association has gone through a growth spurt since its inception nine months ago.

“We’re at the nine-month point right now. We’ve already done seven social events or meetings. We have 50 paid members right now. I’m hoping to get to 100 by the end of the year,” Prospect Business Association President Matt Buonaiuto said.

The association was started in February after an initial meeting of business owners in town was organized by Mayor Robert Chatfield. The town’s business community was previously served for 50 years by the Prospect Chamber of Commerce, which disbanded in the fall of 2008.

After establishing a board of directors, the association turned it attention to promoting businesses in town. The association has hosted numerous events for business owners to network and get to know each. Most recently, the association organized an event Nov. 18 at Plumb Farms Flowers to celebrate the company’s open house for the holiday season.

“That’s basically what we’re doing. We’re trying to promote these businesses by going there and having people show up and look around,” Buonaiuto said.

Buonaiuto said the association is also trying to make the public aware of its existence and how important it is to patronize local businesses.

“We’re focusing on how can we get out to the public more and have the public understand that if they hire somebody, they should really be hiring local,” Buonaiuto said.

Buonaiuto said the association it also is trying to boost its cyber presence.

“Our website is constantly changing. We’re trying to find the perfect way to do it,” Buonaiuto said.

The website,, allows people to see what businesses are in town and order tickets to events. Businesses can also join the association online. The association charges a $100 yearly membership fee.

“The small one-man business like me can say, ‘OK, it’s only $100,’ and for the larger companies $100 is nothing,” Buonaiuto said.

The association is run by all volunteers. Buonaiuto said the association is looking for somebody that can help come up with ideas for the website.

“The website looks good now but I’m hoping it looks better in another month or two,” he said.

Buonaiuto said he wants the website to be the first place residents look for services rather than using search engines, such as Google, which will list businesses both in Prospect and other towns.

“I think the main perk of it is this is going to be the main business community of Prospect,” Buonaiuto said. “Basically, what I’d like to see is, if somebody wanted to get a ring, I would like them to shop local. They can come to our website and type in jeweler. Prospect Jewelers will come up and they can click on that and go right to their website.”

The association is about more than networking, Buonaiuto said. The association also advocates to the town government on behalf of its member businesses.

“I’ve gone to a few Planning and Zoning (Commission) meetings to talk about signage in town, which is an important issue to every business in Prospect,” Buonaiuto said.

Buonaiuto said the association was able to work with the commission and ultimately reach a mutual understanding on placing sandwich boards next to businesses.

“So we are making an impact,” Buonaiuto said.

The next large event for the association will be its first party Jan. 24 at Aria Wedding & Banquet Facility on Murphy Road. Tickets are $45 and can be purchased through the association’s website, Buonaiuto said. There is a limit of 200 tickets available.

“It’s going to be fun. It’s going to be one of those things that I hope becomes an annual tradition that everybody looks forward to,” Buonaiuto said.

Looking to the future, Buonaiuto has high hopes for the association.

“I’d really like to have every business in Prospect be part of this group. I don’t know if that will ever happen but it would be really nice to have a majority of them,” Buonaiuto said.