KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
July 17, 2018
By Jennifer Skelton and Katrina Katsarelis
Many Katy businesses have noticed a decline in events and community involvement from the Katy Area Chamber of Commerce over the past year, and now the word "Katy" has been officially added to the Fulshear Area Chamber name. Here's what we found out.
Major Changes at the Katy Area Chamber of Commerce
Members of the Katy Area Chamber of Commerce have seen major changes this year starting with the postponement, then ultimate cancellation of the annual Katy Area Chamber Gala. The chamber sent an announcement at the beginning of the year postponing the February gala to April. On April 19, another announcement went out postponing the gala until June, but ultimately, the gala was never held. Eight tickets and a table to the gala is a major the benefit of Chairman's circle and Partner memberships which can run upwards of $8,000 per year. The value of the table and tickets is approximately $1500. It is not known if the Chairman's Circle or Partner members were ever compensated for the loss of this benefit. "After Ann left, the executive committee, board of directors and others in this volunteer organization have really stepped up to continue doing what’s best for our member and providing those programs and services (breakfasts, luncheons, ribbon cuttings, happy hours and other network opportunities, etc.) And, that’s our focus right now," says Marcus Henneke.
Anne Hodge Leaves the Katy Area Chamber
In late April, Ann Hodge, the Katy Area Chamber of Commerce president and CEO quietly left the chamber with no announcement to the membership. Hodge has been with the chamber since 1999 and was instrumental in many initiatives and programs benefiting Katy through the years. No plans have been announced as to when Hodge will be replaced. One of Ann's major responsibilities was to organize the yearly "Katy Rice Harvest Festival". Katy Magazine was the first to break the news in June that the chamber would no longer host the festival after finding a discussion thread on social media. Read the story This information was not been formally announced to the Katy Area Chamber membership.
Katy Chamber Moves from LaCenterra to Save Costs
On June 20, the Katy Area Chamber announced via Facebook that they had moved from their prestigious LaCenterra location. No announcement of the move was sent out to members or even noted on the Katy Chamber website. The move seems to be related to cost savings. "One of the things we’re focused on for the benefit of our members – in addition to continuing to provide programs and services – is to reduce cost and strengthen our financial picture, said Marcus Henneke. "This move is part of that effort." The Chamber's new office is located at 555 Park Grove Drive in the Country Park Portraits Building near Kingsland Blvd. and Mason Rd. Here is the June 20 Facebook announcement about the move.
Fulshear Area Chamber Announces Katy Name Addition
Last week the Fulshear Area Chamber of Commerce announced the renaming of their organization to the Fulshear-Katy Area Chamber of Commerce. The name change was approved by their voting members on Wednesday, July 11, and their new group statement will be "Proudly Serving the Tri-County Region."
The Fulshear Area Chamber of Commerce, led by Don McCoy, has a very active, involved, and communicative leadership team and board of directors that appeals to Katy businessses, and businesses in general. In reviewing both the Fulshear Area and Katy Area membership levels, costs are also lower in the Fulshear Area Chamber than in Katy.
MEMBERSHIP LEVEL COMPARISON - KATY AREA VS. FULSHEAR-KATY
Overall, memberships range from $180 to $8250 for the Katy Area Chamber, and $50-$5000 for the Fulshear Area Chamber of Commerce .
Katy Area Chamber Supports Fulshear-Katy Name Change
With regard to the Fulshear Chamber name change, the Katy Area Chamber of Commerce released the following statement: "The Katy Area and the Fulshear Area both continue to grow, which is great news for businesses in West Houston, Katy and Fulshear. The name change for the Fulshear Area Chamber of Commerce is indicative of that growth. We wish them well and we are focused on doing what’s best for our members and the business community in the Katy Area."
Fulshear Area Chamber is the Fastest Growing
When asked if the Katy Area Chamber of Commerce's reduction in activities and departure of Hodge was part of the reason "Katy" was being added to the name, McCoy said this. "Since our Chamber was established in 2014, businesses, non-profit organizations and others from Katy, Sugar Land, Richmond and other parts of the Houston region have been joining our Chamber to take part in our events and activities. They found value in our membership offer and today 60% of our +460 members are based in the Fulshear-Katy area. The decision to amend our name is a direct reflection of this tremendous growth." The Fulshear Chamber claims to be the fastest growing chamber in Texas.