17Jan, 2020

Greater Heights Area Chamber of Commerce Education Meeting January 15, 2020

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Wednesday, we had a full meeting with returning businesses and schools along with new businesses and schools. It is exciting to see our committee continue to grow and build partnerships.

April Petronella is working with The Leader to gain more exposure for our committee and the school needs and she is going to work with Chamber Intern, Kayler Walker, to locate grants to help fund some scholarships for our students.

All Saints Early Childhood Catholic Center partnered with Booker T. Washington Day Care providing toddler supplies.

Waltrip High School needs businesses to come and speak to classes (pick a class and time) about careers as well as they have volunteer needs (leading to potential job next year) in working with the Special Education Classes. A Vision Board workshop on Jan. 23 is open for the community with light dinner and the Spring Tours for the Middle Schools is beginning.

Space and Serenity, Tiffany Mensing, is building a format for schools to express their needs (clothes, prom dresses, decorations, etc.) so she can connect other organizers as they work with the different client’s items.

Roberto Zamora, HISD Wrap Around Specialist Manager for the North area, has needs for his eleven schools: shoes, uniforms and family resources.

Kathryn van der Pol of Liberty Hoepfl Garage, is opening a charter school, Heritage Classic Academy, beginning in 2021; it will focus on character building and citizenship through the study of classic materials; it will be located in the northwest area beginning with Kindergarten and going eventually to the 12th grade.

Houston Community College NE is having their Spring Registration Fest.

Huntington Learning Center-Heights is hosting a College GPS event at Heights High School on Feb. 1; all middle school and high school students and parents are welcome.

Helms Elementary is having their Western Dance for the Pre-K students on Feb. 28 from 4 pm-7; volunteers are needed.

Willie Diefenbach-Jones with SendOutCards is looking for parent groups and school organizations that wish to make a little extra money; great way to help send a student to camp or athletic needs.

Garden Oaks Montessori has their Externship Program for the 8th graders in March and needs business to partner with them for a student to shadow them for a day up to the whole week. The GOM UnGala is Feb. 25 and donations are needed to help with the event: Wine Pull, silent auction items and sponsors overall.

Katherine Smith Elementary needs new or used softball equipment as they are forming a team. Please donate.

Ryan Shumberg with Spark Soccer, an indoor soccer company, and new Chamber member, would like to partner with pre-schools and schools to help with soccer skills and teams.

Black Middle School is seeking donations for their silent auction/gala coming up in March; the theme is the Roaring 20’s.

Houston Highway Credit Union can host a financial reality event for your school and/or PTO (retirement planning, or budgeting).

The Chamber is giving back to the schools and non-profits through the pre-sale ticket program for the Crawfish Festival. If your group is interested, please contact me. You get $10 for each ticket sold. Great way to raise money to send a student off to Washington D.C. camp, soccer classes, or school supplies or organization needs.

As you can see there are many opportunities for your business to partner with a specific school need or make a longer partnership overall. You can grow your network through school venues and parents. If you need contact information for anyone above you can email me at and/or come to our next meeting on Feb. 19 at 10:30, Baptist Temple, Heritage Room.

15Jan, 2020

Louie Gill Becomes Chamber President

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The Chamber Board of Directors and members have welcomed Louie Gill as the new president of the Greater Heights Area Chamber of Commerce.

Gill brings extensive business and military credentials as he assumes the leadership of the more than 550-member Chamber. A native of Jacksonville, Florida, Louie holds a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University and a master’s degree from Saint Leo University in Florida. Prior to joining the Chamber, Gill was CEO, CFO and executive director of the Southeastern Georgia Habitat for Humanity. In addition, he was CEO/Director of Finance and Operations for Community Federal Credit Union.

Adding to his business experience is his additional military expertise as a veteran of the U.S. Army. His military titles included serving as Battalion Operations Sergeant Major/Chief Operations Officer in Phoenix, AZ and as Brigade Operations Sergeant Major/Director of Operations at Fort Knox, KY.

“I am deeply honored to be asked to lead the chamber.” “We have a strong base of dedicated members, successful events and strong ties to both the community and our local elected officials.” Gill’s hire came about two months after the chamber named a new chairperson for its board of directors. Teresa Briggs of Houston Highway Credit Union succeeded Dee Farino in October.

“I am excited about the future of the chamber with Louie at the helm,” Briggs said in a statement. “His previous civilian and military leadership positions will ensure the chamber’s continued growth and success, and help us stay focused on creating new and dynamic ways to provide value to our members and the Greater Heights area community.”

20Dec, 2019

Education Committee Values Contributors, Cites Needs and Seeks Additional Partnerships

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Great Partnerships are being forged through the Education Committee; Tiffany Mensing with Space and Serenity gathered the Christmas and holiday supplies to help make Heights High School Winter Holiday Festival spirited. In the past, Hermann and Sons donated uniforms to Waltrip Ladies Soccer and this one act has led to increased interest as well as dreaming of going further with their education. HEB Heights has great opportunities to build community service hours by being Super Bowl Caring ambassadors. Texas Charity Partners, a new chamber member, is looking to give away supplies for teachers (yea! No money out of your pocket). Katherine Smith has been the recipient of Imperial Guard Alumnae, a non-profit Chamber member, organized food bags for each child, coats and clothes for the children and toys from Houston Highway Credit Union. Waltrip High School and Booker T. Washington High School and Day Care program also were recipients of clothing donations from the Imperial Guard Alumnae and from the organizing by Space and Serenity. The Chamber Community Fund also contributed to the area children needs. Willie Diefenbach-Jones with Send Out Cards is working with the teachers and parents in the community, so they enhance their abilities to provide for the children as well as with area business to obtain scholarships for the graduating seniors.

So how can you participate in building partnerships with the schools? Contribute to the development of mentorship with the young men and women at Black Middle School, help raise the funds for a Spark Park dedicated to the younger children and community around Katherine Smith. Marshall Middle School needs clothes for their kids along with volunteers to help with the community closet. Reach out! Become involved; the Education Committee can be the venue for networking. Upcoming partnerships continue to build as Waltrip High School and Katherine Smith Elementary will be hosting a financial workshop by Houston Highway Credit Union; Garden Oaks Montessori is already participating. Come to our next meeting, January 15, 2020 at 10:30 in the Heritage Room at Baptist Temple, located at 230 West 20th Street.

16Dec, 2019

Chamber Accepting Applications for 2020 Scholarship Program-Deadline is March 15th

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The Greater Heights Area Chamber of Commerce is currently accepting applications for the 2020 Scholarship Program for deserving high school students in the area.

Each year, the Greater Heights Area Chamber of Commerce awards scholarships to  outstanding high school seniors  in the area.  Those students are honored at a luncheon to be held in May.  Since the inception of the program, the Chamber has awarded over $350,000 in scholarships to area students.  Those scholarships are made possible through generous donations by our members.  We are pleased to continue that tradition this year and are currently taking applications for the 2020 scholarship program.  Deadline to apply is March 15, 2020.  To apply, please read and complete the 2020 scholarship application 


2Dec, 2019

Chamber Annual “Economic Forecast” Luncheon on January 30

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One of the most highly anticipated Chamber events takes place on January 30 and that is the Economic Forecast Luncheon. The presentation features Dr. Bill Gilmer, Director of Regional Forecasting at the University of Houston’s Bauer Commerce. Dr. Gilmer’s forecast and projections provide a guide for planning and business operations in 2020.

His analyses factor in the Global and National economic outlooks and how the implications of those will impact the regional and Houston economies. Dr. Gilmer’s insights have been enjoyed and applied to business strategies by Chamber members for many years. Today’s local economic climate continues to be affected by energy companies, oil prices and employment trends. He will address the implications within the region of the ramping down on new and expanded chemical plant investments that have been completed along the Houston Ship Channel. Those completions will have a direct bearing on employment.

Citing national economic trends, Dr. Gilmer recently said in the Houston Chronicle: “The U.S. economy is still strong, which is helping the local economy continue to expand. However, with the global outlook souring amid trade tensions, growth is likely to moderate in the coming years as the U.S.- China trade war continues to takes its toll on business investments at the same time as a slowing global economy. “

It appears that many forces are at work that will impact the region and Houston’s economic outlook for 2020. Make your plans to hear Dr. Gilmer address these significant developments at the Chamber’s annual Economic Forecast Luncheon.

For more information, or to purchase tickets, click here.

25Nov, 2019

Chamber Education Committee Blends Business and Education

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The Chamber’s Education Committee, chaired by Cindy Reibenstein with co-chair Willie Diefenbach-Jones, has created a very successful union involving Chamber members and leaders from area schools. Monthly meetings bring out diverse groups whose collective emphasis is to assist, support, and provide much needed aid in multiple activity areas for school leaders, students, families and the Heights area community.

Recent and on-going activities for the Chamber are dedicated to providing food, clothing and home goods for those in need. Many Chamber members have stepped up to the plate and donated, participated and given, or offered freely of their time as volunteers or coordinators. Just to name a few, they are: Houston Highway Credit Union, Keller Williams (Natalie Murgia), American Legion Post 560 (Naro Mak), and Signature Care. There remains an urgent need for others to provide assistance with being a school partner which may also include coaching or being informational resources for student parents. School activities such as festivals, printing needs, portable building leads, holiday productions, child-care and many others operational areas represent just a few of the current chief concerns.

The latest developments involving the Houston Food Bank has necessitated dropping food distribution days to twice a month and that can bring hardships. Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays represent acute needs for food to be given to needy families. Volunteers are needed to help with distribution. Thanks, are given to the Waltrip Imperial Guard Alumnae and Business Network International (BNI) for clothing and food deliveries.

The Education Committee continues to reach out to members and businesses that are interested in becoming a partner for one or more schools. By creating a partnership, there is an immediate gratification of helping students in their academic and social learning process, providing valuable essentials to disadvantaged families, and contributing to the betterment of our community.

Thank you to the following schools in attendance at the November committee meeting:
Garden Oaks Montessori, Waltrip High School, Heights High School, Northside High School, Clifton Middle School, Booker T. Washington, Helms Elementary, All Saints Catholic, Sinclair Elementary and Katherine Smith Elementary.

Our appreciation to these supporting businesses:
HEB, Send Out Cards, EEPB, Serenity and Space, HITS, Houston Highway Credit Union, Natalie Murgia of Keller Williams, Naro Mak of American Legion Post 560, BNI, Signature Care and the Imperial Guard Alumnae of Waltrip.

The Education Committee will meet on December 18 at 10:30 at Baptist Temple located at 230 West 20th Street. If you would like to be involved and become a member, please contact Cindy Reibenstein at

12Nov, 2019

Holiday Shopping Reminder

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Yes, we know the turkey and pumpkin pie are memories, so many individuals have and will be turning their thoughts to gift buying. So, in the spirit of helping, we ask that you keep the local merchants in mind when shopping for products or services. The Chamber’s “Buy Local First” initiative promotes businesses many of whom are owned by Chamber members and others who live in our community. These merchants are more interested in the community and often hire people with a better understanding of the products they are selling. Personal service and taking time to get to know customers is a hallmark of local businesses. Your patronage for area merchants helps in maintaining the uniqueness of the Greater Heights area businesses, strengthening the local economic base, enhancing employment opportunities and creating a climate of growth that contributes to building stronger community cohesiveness.

7Nov, 2019

Chamber Proudly Recognizes November Anniversaries

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Anniversaries are very special and the Chamber takes pride in recognizing an important date for our members. Whether it is your first or twenty-fifth, it signifies members that consistently value the benefits of being in a progressive organization. Your Chamber provides opportunity. The opportunity to build recognition among a network of fellow businesses that can use your services or products. In addition, your fellow members provide referrals to your business. Our appreciation goes to these members celebrating anniversaries:

30 Years
Circle Saw Builders Supply, Inc.
17 Years
Alpha Electric Co.
Opera In The Heights
10 Years
Prosperity Bank
8 Years
BNI Heights of Professionalism
Culturally Creative Travel
6 Years
Salon in the Heights
The Duplifund Group
Branch Banking & Trust (BB&T)
4 Years
Mildred Holeman Realty
3 Years
Karbach Brewing Company
Space & Serenity
2 Years
re:store Construction Company
Cogi Logistic Solutions LLC
1 Year
Dentini Pediatric Dentistry
All Saints Early Childhood Center
Houston Winery
Northside Columbus Club
IV Bars of Houston Heights
AAA Texas
R Bar


28Oct, 2019

Chamber Seeks Donations for Houston Area Schools

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For students to succeed in life, basics must be met and our area schools have identified a serious need for food and household items. Many of the area HISD schools are classified as Title 1. This means that the students come from low-income family at poverty levels. A school with a Title 1 designation requires that 35 percent of students residing within the school’s boundaries qualify for the free and reduced lunch program. Many of our Chamber area schools have 100 percent of students meeting these criteria.

The need is urgent and we must be persistent to help give these students a foundation for success! The Chamber is beginning a food and supply drive to help alleviate this shortfall and give students a positive learning environment. Helping this noteworthy cause is easy and will be greatly appreciated. The following items represent foods that students can cook, open as well as clothing. Please consider collecting the following items:

Easy-Mac, fruit cups, apple sauce, peanut butter and jelly, granola and protein bars, cereal, oatmeal, baby formula and wipes, winter coats and jackets. There is also a need for warm clothing, gently used is good or new, all sizes from new born to 18. Another way to help is to make a donation to the Chamber’s Community Fund; it is tax deductible as the Community Fund is a 501c3. This is the Chamber’s charitable arm to help our community. Donations of all types can be delivered to the Chamber offices or brought to events.

Although single donations are greatly appreciated, consistency is essential to make a difference. If you have a desire to partner with a specific school all you have to do is ask and the Chamber’s Education Committee will set it up. Our students need your help, and donors can reach out to Cindy Reibenstein at rcreibenstein@aol or Willie Diefenbach-Jones at This program will provide benefits to Title 1 elementary, middle, and high schools. Our chamber is known for our community outreach and with your donation we can make a difference in our students and schools.



1Oct, 2019

2020 Print Directory Advertising on Sale Now

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The annual printed directory of members is a prime way to keep your advertising message before not only Chamber members, but the community as well. Published for more than 17 years, this pocket-sized directory is a reference guide for products and services offered by Chamber members. The directory has a 365-day life, so your ad is always there. For new businesses this is a low-cost way to reach members and present your capabilities. Placing an ad featuring your photo is an effective way to enhance your recognition among members. The directory features a membership roster section that enables users to quickly locate the name of a member contact and their business. The alphabetical business directory section contains category listings making it an easy and well-organized way to find the member provided products or services you are seeking.

Directory copies are sent to every member, distributed at Chamber events, and placed periodically at community locations so usage and readership can occur almost anywhere. A variety of ad sizes are available, beginning with a 1/8 page, a ¼ page, ½ page and full page. Your print ad in the 2020 Membership Directory automatically appears in our online directory at no extra cost. Full page ads are $900* , ½ page ads are $600* , ¼ page ads are $375* and 1/8 page ads are only $250*.


*Prices listed are discounted for payments received before Oct. 31.   Prices increase to: Full page $1150 , ½ page ads are $720 , ¼ page ads are $450 and 1/8 page ads are only $290 after November 1st.

For information or to contract for print advertising space or website online advertising please contact Jill Johnston at the Chamber, or go to