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Making Connections, Building BusinessesMaking Connections, Building BusinessesABy Alissa Reinhardccompanying the population explosion across the North West side of San Antonio has been a myriad of new businesses; delicious,local restaurants, one-of-a-kind boutiques, dental and medical offices – the list goes on and on. The only thing missing was an organization that could help these local business owners and other professionals connect with one another – a medium for networking, a space for an exchange of ideas, a sense of camaraderie amongst entrepreneurs.Ronnie and Gina Barbera, business owners themselves, recognized this void along the Alamo Ranch / 151 corridor. They understood the importance of an outlet where entrepreneurs could network with others in a comfortable setting. Thus, the Alamo Ranch / 151 Business Association (AR151BA) was born.The Barberas also publish Alamo Ranch and Helotes Highlights, a community magazine that has expanded over the years throughout the northwest quadrant of San Antonio; and Kidsville News, a children’s newspaper distributed to over half of Bexar County in elementary schools. The Barberas are dedicated to community service and the importance of the youth in our society. They are also the founders and driving force behind the popular holiday event Winterfest, attracting thousands the last four years.“Alamo Ranch/151 Business Association was the last piece of the puzzle,” explained Gina of her and Ronnie’s newest venture. “We envisioned creating a business association focused solely on the area to foster communication and synergy within the business community. We have really enjoyed doing our part to unify this thriving community through business growth and interaction.”In addition to building business relationships, the Barberas were committed to taking their idea one step further. They wanted to find a way to give back to the community that their business and so many others operate within. The Barberas decided that a portion of every AR151BA membership fee would be donated to a scholarship fund benefiting local graduating high school seniors from Warren, Stevens, Brennan, and Taft High Schools.“We have always been very committed to the communities in which we live and work,” explained Ronnie. “That commitment is especially directed toward our youth. Children are our future and we want to be a part of their future by helping them in any way we can.”AR151BA hosted its first official meeting on April 28, 2015 at Hill Country Retreat-Del Webb. The event sold out, attracting a crowd of 150.2016 scholarship recipients withBusinessmen and women from all sectors were represented, including medical, retail, restaurants, finance, home-based, hospitals, education, hospitality, and more. Since that inaugural event, AR151BA membership has continued to grow.When a new business joins AR151BA, they are welcomed to the organization by presenting a new member with a plaque or they can choose to have a special ribbon cutting ceremony. Specifically, a red ribbon is used signifying strength and passion. Seven balloons are also released during the event – an important number with Biblical references meaning completeness and perfection.The number seven marked another important milestone for AR151BA in its inaugural year. The organization was able to donate $7,000 in scholarship funds to graduating high school seniors.“Our goal for our first year was $5,000 and we exceeded that, providing $7,000 in scholarship funds,” said Ronnie “It was a huge accomplishment for us, being so new to the community, and a testament to all of our members who signed up to be a part of AR151BA our very first year.”Celebrating its second anniversary on April 28, 2017, AR151BA continues to open new doors for businesses while helping them make a difference in their community at the same time. Each AR151BA meeting is unique, offering business owners a chance to mix and mingle over lunch, enjoy evening cocktails, and take in advice from guest speakers who provide insight, tips of the trade, guidance, and more during the well-attended events. Topics rangeNISD Superintendent Dr. Brian Woods.from tried and true marketing practices to how to make your business more profitable, customer friendly and productive.In addition to uniting businesses and professionals, encouraging networking, and opening doors for new opportunities, the Alamo Ranch / 151 Business Association will continue to strive to give back to our youth and the community as a whole. In 2017, more events are planned including a golf tournament, to help raise money for even more scholarships to graduating seniors in the Northside Independent School District and across the city of San Antonio as a whole.“We are very excited to see what the future will bring,” stated Gina. “We are encouraged by our membership and the number of our members who are renewing with us. We are very fortunate and blessed. And the opportunity to provide scholarships for even more graduating seniors this year means the world to both Ronnie and I. I’m thankful for our members who share our vision.”If you’re interested in becoming a member of the Alamo Ranch / 151 Business Association, visit or call 210-744-3488.ASSOCIATIONBuilding Business Connectionswww.ar151ba.com2017-2018www.GreatNWGuide.com17Business DevelopmentHCNA/151RBUSOINMEALSAS

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