A lot’s changed at the Mission Chamber of Commerce since 2006 when Navin Buxani first became a member.
Buxani, director of operations of Holiday Inn Express, remembered the ribbon cutting ceremony when he joined the organization, and then he received a call a year later asking him if he wanted to renew his membership.
“Now before everybody goes home and starts writing that I’m blasting the work of the chamber back then, that’s not what I’m saying,” Buxani said. “I’m merely alluding to the fact that what was expected from businesses and the chamber back then was that, and inevitably it must evolve or get passed by.”
Buxani took the reins as chairman of the Greater Mission Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors at the annual banquet Thursday, Oct. 16.
Buxani pointed to explosive growth in Mission in both the commercial and residential sectors and said that’s due to local leadership.
“While once expectations of the chamber were only limited to ribbon cuttings and mixers, members expect now more. They expect value. Members are now reaping this value on a daily basis,” Buxani said.
He highlighted the chamber’s Go Mission discount card, which encourages customers to shop locally. More than 10,000 cards have been distributed through the program, and the Texas Chamber of Commerce recently honored Mission’s chamber with the Executive Media Award in Recognition of Excellence in the Area of Marketing.
Before past chairman Rob Neagle, general manager of Main Event Entertainment, stepped down, he pointed to many of the chamber’s accomplishments over the past year, including a new tier structure that provides aid to small businesses as well as large ones, depending on their needs. The chamber can even help businesses build their own websites.
Neagle said the chamber also has breathed life into an aging diplomat program and everyone’s excited about it.
“The one thing I can say, having been able to walk the halls of the chamber, I can tell you that this chamber, led by George (Myers), just has an amazing feel to it,” Neagle said. “Everybody is working toward the same common goal, enjoying their work. It’s been an honor to serve you.”
Also Thursday night, Myers, chamber president, recognized several members.
Business Advisor Magazine was named Business Partner of the Year. The 10th issue of the magazine is coming out in November.
H-E-B was named Business Leader of the Year, an honor that goes to a member with “noteworthy accomplishments, longstanding contributions and significant community service efforts.” Myers said it didn’t hurt that just that morning H-E-B donated $50,000 to the city of Mission to build soccer fields at Hollis Rutledge Park.
Dip-It Yogurt Gourmet Dips earned the title Business of the Year, as Pilar Gonzalez, owner, recently won a $25,000 grant to expand her operation and then participated in the H-E-B Quest for the Best competition, winning second place and a chance to have her products sold at H-E-Bs.
“Everything we do is about one primary question in mind,” Myers said at the banquet. “Is what we’re doing bringing value to our members; does it create value for our community?”