Local chambers: Cy-Fair chamber gives business community a boost
With the population of Cy-Fair exploding and more development to the west of the bedroom community, the Cy-Fair Houston Chamber of Commerce continues serving area businesses as it grows with the community.
The Cy-Fair Houston Chamber of Commerce, a volunteer organization established in 1986, serves the local business community in Cy-Fair by advocating for members of their network while supporting their growth. The chamber offers networking opportunities, committee meetings, ribbon cuttings, referrals and more.
Leslie Martone, president of the Cy-Fair Houston Chamber of Commerce since 2012, said the organization aims to help small and large businesses alike. In 2016, the Cy-Fair Chamber hit a milestone by having 700 members, Martone said. She said with membership retention fluctuating for chambers of commerce consistently, the Cy-Fair Chamber is proud of their accomplishment.
“I attribute all of it to our team,” Martone said. “There are businesses that close. There are businesses that, unfortunately, go out of business or they move. You’re not going to get 100 percent retention.”
The three membership levels for the Cy-Fair chamber, business, silver and bronze, give members the chance to gain exposure through ads, tables at their luncheons, email blasts and more depending on their level. Martone said anyone can find the right membership for their business.
“We feel like our membership levels bring a lot of different value that any level business, any size business, can find what they need to thrive and grow in our community,” she said.
The mission of the chamber is to serve the community by providing value to businesses through advocacy, leadership and growth, according to the official website for Cy-Fair Houston Chamber of Commerce. Martone said the chamber not only provides business owners connections, but advocates for them by contacting local government representatives.
As the next legislative session in Jan. 2019 gets nearer, the chamber and surrounding chambers of commerce are determining their priorities, Martone said. Several legislators, including U.S. Representatives Michael McCaul and Mike Schofield, have attended committee meetings held by the Cy-Fair Chamber.
Committee meetings cover several topics, including transportation, government, community health and more. All meetings are hosted and organized by members of the chamber.
“Obviously in business, in any kind of business, you want to build leaders,” Martone said. “Sometimes people are shocked by sitting in the committee meetings. There are a lot of things coming out of those meetings that people have no idea about. A lot of folks have no clue it was an opportunity for them to learn more and get more involved..”
As the community grows, the Cy-Fair Chamber has taken steps to keep track of new businesses and developments in the community by keeping in contact with large developers like Caldwell Companies and the Howard Hughes Corporation, major developers of Towne Lake and Bridgeland, respectively.
“I think we see a lot more retail than we expected because a lot of these strip centers are kind of popping up,” Martone said. “Now, they’re not all filling in dramatically but I know they will within the next 10 years, at the earliest.”
Along with aiding a variety of businesses in the community with networking and support, the Cy-Fair Chamber also hosts several events throughout the year benefiting the Cy-Fair community at large. The chamber host events like Jingle Bell Rock with Reach Unlimited, the Adam J. Skinner Memorial Golf Tournament, Wine Fair Cy-Fair, the Health Expo and more.
Martone said the events are a part of how the chamber gives back to the community. Funds from events go toward nonprofit organizations and scholarships for Cy-Fair ISD students or organizations like Reach Unlimited, a support organization for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
“We partner with Reach Unlimited and they are a benefactor of our wine fair,” Martone said. “We also, during Christmas, do support Cypress Assistance Ministry with our Angel Tree. We bring in some opportunities for students to have things for Christmas. We get some of our members and our board members to kind of adopt a kid.”
The chamber is currently in the process of buying land and building a new location and plan to vacate their current leased location in 2019, Martone said. The move will provide the chamber with a more central location, more square footage, customization and the ability to modify a conference room depending on the situation.
“We’re going to have different furniture so we can have the teaching style where you can have rows and you can have lunch-and-learns, or you can put the tables together and you can have a board room meeting,” Martone said. “We have our financing together and we have our architect chosen and so we have all that stuff. Everyone is kind of in this waiting game. It’s something that we’ve, obviously, never had.”
The end goal for the Cy-Fair Chamber, overall, is to meet the needs of each business that approaches them, Martone said.
“I’m a firm believer in that I don’t want to take somebody’s check if it’s not a good fit for them or they don’t think they’re going to get anything out of it or their expectations are so high that we can’t meet them,” she said. “Really, it’s trying to find out what they’re looking for out of it and for every single business it’s completely different.”