Talk-Walk, hosted by, brought together business leaders and entrapeneurs for an afternoon of networking. Video by Jack Howland/Poughkeepsie Journal

When Latoya Flood first thought of opening a Kingston soul food restaurant inspired by the home-cooked delicacies she grew up with, a name quickly came to her: Ruby Mae, the first names of both her grandmothers.

That was the easy part. The 29-year-old said her long-gestating business, which is set to open June 2, encountered a slew of problems in the run-up to its opening, including roof leaks and oven mishaps, delaying its original opening date by more than a month.

On Wednesday, Flood took a break from preparing the restaurant to attend the inaugural Talk-Walk on the Walkway Over the Hudson. There, among entrepreneurs and business experts, she said she learned a lot about what it takes to run a business.

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“Take your time and make sure it’s to the level that you want it to be at and the excellence that you desire,” she said of the advice she gleaned at the event. “And then let it grow from there.”

Hosted by, Talk-Walk was about bringing together business leaders for an afternoon of networking and activities in the City of Poughkeepsie. Amid a heatwave with temperatures in the 90s, visitors poured into an area lined with tents and business representatives.

The activities Wednesday included a dessert competition in which local participants vied to be named the region’s best in a variety of categories. There was also a walk on the walkway and time for attendees to mingle with business experts and leaders.

“We want the takeaway certainly to be to recognize extraordinary women whose names might not be bold-faced or are bold-faced,” said Toby Nadler, a Purchase, Westchester County resident and the founder of “But we also want to include the men who develop a business relationship going forward.”

Although this was the first year of the networking event, Nadler described it as a continuation of the organization’s “salon” events honoring female business leaders. She said she wanted to honor women in business as well as give people a chance to establish relationships and learn something new.

Vera Moore, the founder of the cosmetics and skincare line of the same name, had many people approach her booth seeking advice. In return, the one-time actress shared the story of her business, which she…