DARIEN — A flurry of business cards, handshakes and “elevator speeches” took over the Geary Gallery and Accent Framing establishment Tuesday night as business owners and partners were introduced into the Darien Chamber of Commerce.

According to the event’s guest list, the Chamber will have 20 new individuals join as members representing several incoming businesses including Bankwell, Healthcare Pathfinder and Salt Cave of Darien.

Not all the incoming members were entirely new to the Darien community, particularly one.

The Ox Ridge Riding & Racquet Club, which recently changed its name, has been a Darien institution for 104 years but is just now joining the Chamber as a member. The move comes in the wake of the Club’s rebranding and the addition of an equestrian complex and a new 18,000 square foot Clubhouse.

Chance Arakelian, an equestrian trainer and Alison Potter, a business manager, attended the event representing Ox Ridge Riding & Racquet Club.

“There are major remodelings going on at Ox Ridge,” Arakelian said. “It’s a change from where we’ve been and we’re excited for what’s next.”

The Ox Ridge Riding & Racquet Club predates the founding of the Chamber itself which was founded in 1957. The Darien Chamber of Commerce is a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce according to Executive-Director President Susan Cator.

The upcoming Noroton Heights development, scheduled to break ground this spring, was something John Breznen, executive board member of the Chamber, brought up.

“We’re excited to see what businesses come down and what new local or independent stores develop with the Noroton Heights project in the coming years,” Breznen said. “Darien is a unique community in the sense that a lot of ‘mom & pop’ stores can be maintained in town.”

According to Breznen, the Chamber hosts four to five events to welcome new members but around 20 meet and greet events occur throughout the year in order to foster engagement between local businesses.

All of the incoming members were excited to network and spread the word about their businesses.

Danny’s Cycles, which recently opened last October and is located on Post Road, was represented by Ed Mantaring. “This is our first months in Darien and we’re just getting to know our neighbors and the community. The Chamber is an important part of Darien’s DNA,” Mantaring said.

Cator invited the new members to present their interests and business ventures in the gallery room an hour into the event.

“This is a fabulous event for people to meet each other,” Cator said. “These events are important because local businesses and networking amongst them make for a great community.”

Cheryl Williams, vice chair of the Chamber’s executive board, was weaving around the gallery, greeting new and familiar faces. “I’m excited to see the momentum tonight and it’s great to show the new members around,” Williams said.

Tom Geary, the owner of Geary Gallery, has been a member of the Chamber for 35 years and counting. His gallery, with more than ample room for the nearly 50 people in attendance, was hosting the welcoming event for the first time.

“The cars are lined up all along the Post Road,” Geary said. “I was worried about the parking at first but it hasn’t been a problem at all.”

humberto.juarez@hearstmediact.com