Posted on | December 3, 2013 | No Comments
This weekend is going to be HUGE.
Not only is Stanford coming to town to play our Sun Devils for the Pac 12 Championship, but the Festival of the Arts is also taking place along Mill Avenue. Plus, the ASU Women’s Basketball team is competing in the ASU Classic Tournament. All told, more than 300,000 people will be coming to Tempe over the course of the weekend.
As a member of the Tempe Chamber of Commerce, we want you to have every chance to capture these markets and give our visitors (and locals) a special reason to visit your business or use your services.
On Dec. 4, we are publishing a special Pac 12 Championship Weekend edition of our Member Offers newsletter which is sent to our entire membership and throughout the community.
We invite you to send us any special deal or offer you’d like to promote. These should be specific to the weekend and the events surrounding it. We’re trying to generate interest and excitement, so think big and be creative!
What would draw people to your bar, restaurant, hotel, shop or business? Send us about 50-100 words detailing the offer and we’ll take it from there. Don’t forget a link to your webpage or your contact information.
Due to the fast paced nature of the timeline, we need all submissions no later than 5:00 p.m. December 3rd,
2013. Email your offer to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Pac 12 Championship Edition” in the subject line.
Posted on | November 27, 2013 | 1 Comment
By Mary Ann Miller, President/CEO, Tempe Chamber of Commerce
I come from a Black Friday family. We’d eat dinner early on Thanksgiving, then look at all the ads while plotting our strategy. Stores that gave a gift to the first hundred people would have a leg up. Tom would go to Pennys, while Sandy would take Mervyn’s. Mom worked retail so she usually had to work. When Dad was healthy, he’d go to Kmart while I took charge of Target. And we’d do it all over again the day after Christmas.
And it was fun. There was camaraderie in the line. Sometimes one person would make a coffee run and take orders from a bunch of people. You’d discuss what you were looking for while in line and grab one for that person if you got to that counter before they did. Every once in awhile someone would complain about the line and you’d think, “What the heck did you expect?”
And then it started to change. People started grabbing and pushing. The hunt became a frenzy. We went from thanking and giving to shoving and taking. Suddenly, getting a TV for half price seemed like a matter of life and death. Needless to say, I stopped going out early on Black Friday.
So let’s balance the scales by giving and thanking. Grateful for your family dinner? A lot of folks are hungry, so give to a local food bank. Thankful for your warm bed and healthy kids? Many aren’t so fortunate, so give to groups that help those that aren’t. Love to go to the Christmas chorale concert at the neighborhood school? Those programs cost money that the schools have to raise, so donate to a school’s extracurricular activities.
Arizona allows us to send our tax dollars to folks who need it. Charities for the working poor, extracurricular activities in public schools, military family relief and tuition for private schools are all eligible for tax credits, which you deduct from your tax liability at the end of the year. If you itemize your deduction, you’re probably eligible to take the credits, but check with your accountant first. It’s a great opportunity to help a lot of different groups.
Who knows? Perhaps in the years to come we can have a whole new Black Friday tradition where we stand in line to give to those who need it more than we do.
Posted on | November 26, 2013 | No Comments
by Sean Donovan, Tempe Chamber of Commerce
The Ruger factory in Prescott. Nellis Air Force Base. The Thunderbirds’ F-16 hangar. Las Vegas.
While these settings aren’t typically what come to mind when one thinks of committee meetings, they’re just some of the locations the Tempe Chamber’s Military Affairs Committee (MAC) visited for three days in November.
During the latest installment of the annual trip, a group of 23 MAC members and their guests embarked on a journey via bus to these and other destinations on a goodwill tour and a celebration of their accomplishments over the past year.
First stop was the Ruger facility. Normally closed to the general public, special permission was granted to the MAC group for a tour of the massive 300,000-square-foot plant. Employing 850 people and expecting to add another 150 soon, this is where Ruger conducts new product R&D and manufactures its semiautomatic pistols.
While they declined to provide hard numbers, it’s estimated that the factory turns out something in the neighborhood of 2,000 handguns a day. With its expansive shop floor filled with machines turning raw steel bar into finished barrels, slides and functioning weapons, it’s truly a testimony to American business innovation and ingenuity.
Next stop was the nearby Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University where Prescott mayor Marlin Kuykendall welcomed the group. The 1,850 students on the 539-acre campus study the science, practice and business of aviation and aerospace. The tour of the campus included visits to the flight simulators, testing areas, wind tunnels, nearby Prescott Love Field Municipal Airport, the school’s crash site investigation field (complete with reconstructed wrecks using the actual planes) and a look at the 5,000 hp jet-fueled dragster that students have built.
Traveling at a slightly slower rate than the dragster’s top speed of 0-100 mph in one second, the bus departed for the first of two overnight stays in fabulous Las Vegas. The Plaza Hotel proved to be an ideal gateway to the wonders of Fremont Street, replete with casinos, street performers and neon everywhere. In one condition or another, everyone was up early the next morning for the daylong visit to Nellis Air Force Base, a short 30-minute drive north of downtown.
Starting with an unexpected rush to watch the Thunderbirds squadron power up and taxi down the runway for takeoff, the base tour was the highlight of the trip for many. The tour included a Thunderbirds briefing, hangar tour, Predator drone inspection and training, threat training facility (more accurately, an adult playground where members of the tour enjoyed climbing about on tanks, helicopters and mobile rocket launchers) and frequent flyovers by the F-16s, F-18s, F-35s and F-22 Raptors whose pilots train at the base.
Another evening in Vegas culminated with a final visit to Mandalay Bay, the fifth largest resort on the planet. The group was treated to an insider’s tour of the property, which boasts 11 million square feet of living space. Seeing the inner workings of the city-like operation provided an eye-opening look at the complexities of running something so massive.
After returning to Tempe on the final day, the group said their farewells until the next meeting – and the next annual trip. Keep checking the Tempe Chamber’s website to learn when and where it will be. It’s sure to be full of once-in-a-lifetime memories.
The Military Affairs Committee facilitates a favorable and mutually rewarding relationship between the business community and military units in the Valley and hosts a monthly luncheon to recognize an outstanding member of the Guard or Reserve. It is open to all and past or current military service is not a requirement for admission. To learn more, call (480) 736-4281 or e-mail email@example.com.
Posted on | November 6, 2013 | No Comments
The Tempe Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with the City of Tempe is pleased to present Mayor Mark Mitchell’s State of the City Address on Thursday, Nov. 21 from 7:30 to 9:00 a.m. at the Tempe Mission Palms Hotel.
Members of the community are invited to join us for an informative and compelling presentation.
The mayor will be sharing his thoughts on the local social and economic climate along with his vision for the growth and future of Tempe and Arizona.
“The annual State of the City is an opportunity for us to let residents and business leaders know what the city is doing to maintain our quality of life and build Tempe into the strong regional partner that we know a prosperous future requires,” said Mitchell. “This is an excellent opportunity for us to evaluate where we’ve been and get the community involved in where we’re going.”
This event provides a valuable opportunity to enjoy a breakfast with civic, business and political leaders of the Valley. The event includes breakfast and the public is invited to attend.
Registration – 7:30 a.m.
Breakfast and Program – 8:00 a.m.
Tempe Mission Palms Hotel
60 E. 5th Street, Tempe
Advance registration is required. Tickets are $50 for members, $70 for prospective members and $500 for a table of 10.
RSVP online at www.tempechamber.org or by calling (480) 967-7891.
Posted on | October 31, 2013 | No Comments
The message was clear: It’s time to fix our broken immigration system.
Tempe Chamber President/CEO Mary Ann Miller joined more than 600 business owners, community and faith leaders, pastors, law enforcement officers and elected officials in taking that message directly to Congress on Oct. 29.
The Americans for Reform Immigration Fly-in, hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Partnership for a New American Economy, Bibles, Badges and Business and FWD.us coalesced this wide-ranging group to urge meaningful reform for our economy, faith and security.
“The Tempe Chamber has supported comprehensive immigration reform for more than five years,” said Miller. “We’ve heard time and again from our members that this needs to be dealt with at the federal level.”
The US Senate has passed a comprehensive bill on immigration reform. The House has moved five bills on various aspects of reform out of committees, but has not taken any of these bills to the floor.
“We urged our representatives to support moving those bills to the floor so that they can be voted on by the entire House,” Miller added. The bills will then go to conference committee to work out a compromise.
In addition to Miller, the Arizona delegation included Arizona Chamber President/CEO Glenn Hamer; Tucson Hispanic Chamber President/CEO Lea Marquez Peterson; Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery; GPEC CEO Barry Broome; Visit Phoenix President Steve Moore; Peoria Vice-Mayor Tony Rivero; and Grace Unlimited Senior Pastor Greg Kinnaman.
The delegations met with all nine Arizona members of the House: Reps. Gosar, Schweikert, Salmon, Franks, Grijalva, Pastor, Sinema, Kirkpatrick and Barber.
The House members agree that something needs to be done. “We need to act,” Rep. Matt Salmon commented, adding that what we have now isn’t working.
Rep. David Schweikert thinks reform will happen and that the House will take up the issues one at a time. Rep. Trent Franks believes the House bills may come to the floor before year-end.
Rep. Ed Pastor indicated that the bill passed out of the House Homeland Security Committee has strong bipartisan support. “We need to settle the situation with people being here undocumented,” he added.
The show of support for immigration reform was definitely noted, with Rep. Kyrsten Sinema telling Miller that she and Rep. Salmon have spoken about it on the House floor. Miller also spoke with participants from several other states after the meetings concluded. “Everyone was pleased with the meetings,” she said. “Our message was heard.”
Posted on | October 31, 2013 | No Comments
A Message from Jeff Mirasola, Chairman of the Board, Tempe Chamber of Commerce
My daughter goes to school in the United Kingdom. It’s already been quite an experience in more ways than one. Along
with the usual cultural, food and language differences, she’s experiencing a difference in the implementation of healthcare.
When we registered for school, there was a table where she signed up for state supported healthcare. This is a service provided all students, even those from the United States, as part of your enrollment in the university. There would be no additional charge, we were told. She had to choose a provider who was close to where she lived. Most of the available clinics are located within a Boots store, much like our Walgreens.
Maybe it was the sudden change of weather going from the desert southwest with warm and stable conditions to northern England where the winds blow off the North Sea that caused the initial sore throat. I’m sure late nights out with friends followed up by less than adequate sleep also contributed. Whatever the case, there are no parents around to make sure she stays in bed or eats chicken soup or take her to the family doctor. No, she was on her own. Time to call the doctor whose office is above the chemists’ location in the city centre.
First lesson: When you’re an English patient, there are no appointments in the future, only same day. Secondly, make sure you call early and often. The line will be busy, and when you finally do get through, your appointment will be late that day. If you don’t call straight away, don’t bother, because there won’t be any available times left. The lucky ones who do get an appointment, that appointment time is only an estimate. You bloody well will probably have to wait for some time to actually see the doctor.
You might think this is an essay on the evils of Obamacare. Actually, that’s not why I’m writing this. I’m writing this because I just had a visit to my doctor. I called a few days before and got an appointment. That’s a lot of lead time for me. I’ve called same day and gotten one (even when it wasn’t a pressing matter). His office has some nice new furniture which is very comfortable. You can have a bottle of water or some tea. They have an adequate selection of magazines, but I have to admit that I’ve never really had enough time to read one of them. Partly because I show up right before my appointment, or even a few minutes late. Mostly because I usually get to see the doctor when he says I can. Read more
Posted on | October 29, 2013 | No Comments
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There are only a few weeks left of the tax year. It’s time to start planning for next year- and for tax season! Below are a few ways a small business owner can save money on taxes.
Track your mileage
The IRS mileage rate this year 56.5 cents/mile, meaning you get a deduction for .565 x the number of miles you travel for business. This is a good deal and is better than taking car expenses such as insurance and repairs, given the high cost of gas. Take advantage of this deduction, especially if you travel a lot for business! As with anything else keep a log of your miles so you have a record. You can use a day planner or notebook, or if you have a smart phone check out the app “Mile Bug”. It’s free and you don’t have to deal with pen and paper when you’re on the road.
Meals & Entertainment expenses
As long as you discuss business before, during, or after a meal with a prospect or client, you get a deduction for half of the bill. There must be a business purpose for the expense. Networking events are a good example because your goal is to build your network and ultimately, make a sale. Also if you have employees, and you buy them lunch, you can deduct 50%. These expenses tend to be scrutinized by the IRS, so substantiate everything in case you get audited.
If you’re thinking of buying a new computer or other business equipment, may want to do so before 12/31/13. This is a good way to lower your taxable income while also updating your business equipment- as long as you were going to do it anyway! We never advocate spending money for the sake of spending money, or to avoid taxes. There should always be a valid business purpose for the expenditure. That being said, if you are in the market for some new equipment, you get to take a 179 deduction. As long as your earnings are greater than the cost of the asset you get to take full deduction for business equipment!
If you go out of state to attend business conferences you are allowed to deduct 100% of your airfare, car rental, gas, meals, and other travel expenses that you incur. This includes conference dues also. Remember that all professional dues are deductible on your tax return.
If you work at home you can take a deduction for your home office as long as you use the room only for an office and not as a guest room. The IRS is very strict in its guidelines for taking this deduction so read the rules on www.irs.gov before taking this one. If you can take it, it means you also get to take the proportion of your home mortgage interest, home insurance, utilities, etc. also. For example, say the square footage of your home office is 15% of your house- you get to deduct 15% of your home expenses on your schedule c! Talk with your tax professional about your particular situation.
Posted on | October 15, 2013 | No Comments
By Brad Filgas, Catering Sales Manager, Tempe Mission Palms Hotel
If you are looking for ideas to enhance and add meaning to your holiday party, consider adding an altruistic activity to your event planning.
Some companies are having their first parties this year since the crash of 2008. Others, having downsized their gatherings over these past five years, are expanding their festivities. Overall, companies are still being cautious. With some, guilt is attached to celebration.
A holiday party is an important event. It is a team builder, morale booster, icebreaker and an opportunity to celebrate and reflect on the year working together…without the office structure. It allows your associates to learn more about each other, meet one another’s partners and spouses and sometimes their customers. Departments can mingle festively, building camaraderie.
Add depth to your gathering by giving. Championing a cause that is community focused can add an enormous esprit de corps to your evening and new year.
Here are some popular charity activities you may want to implement in your holiday planning.
Canned food drive: This can begin early on in your planning and culminate in a certificate or award going to the department that collects the most non-perishable food items. Interdepartmental competition for a cause is a good thing. Begin in the first week of November, and on the day of the gathering, take the much-needed collected items to a food bank, such as United Food Bank. www.unitedfoodbank.org
Build a Bike Program: This is a great team builder where your associates are divided into teams and build a bike together for a charity such as the Boys and Girls Clubs of the East Valley. I had the opportunity years ago to be part of this event, and it was fun and engaging. www.buildabiketeambuilding.com
Send a soldier a gift: With our military posted around the world, a gift box from strangers is a welcome surprise. Organize an afternoon before your party, and fill some boxes for our troops overseas. Take pictures of the event and display them along with photos from other company events at the holiday party. There are many organizations that do this. Here is one that was recommended to me: www.give2thetroops.org/items.htm
Toy/clothing drive and gift-wrapping: A wrapping party is always fun and a great social event for a worthwhile cause. This is a great way to replace or supplement the reception before dinner. These wrapped gifts will put a smile on a child’s face or provide warmth and kindness at a homeless shelter. Contact the local Salvation Army or Boys and Girls Club to learn more.
Fundraiser fan: Search out charity events in the area to take part in. There are a plethora of walk-a-thons, 5K races, etc., and many of these events not only need participants, but sponsors and volunteers as well. It’s a great way to represent your company.
These are just a few ideas to add value to your community while adding a great new tradition to your holiday event. In fact, any time of the year is a great time to be altruistic.
Brad Filgas is Catering Sales Manager at Tempe Mission Palms Hotel. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (480) 317-1536. Tempe Mission Palms is part of the Destination Hotels & Resorts collection.
Posted on | October 9, 2013 | No Comments
We are accepting nominations for the 2014 Business Excellence Awards through Nov. 18. The awards promote the advancement of responsible business leadership and honor those that demonstrate a passion for excellence.
Nominating a company you know of who shares a commitment to success is a great way to show your support!
Through the awards, the Tempe Chamber identifies companies whose practices in business growth, employee development, community involvement and customer service exemplify excellence.
To nominate a company, simply email the company’s name and contact information to email@example.com.
Prefer official forms? Download one here.
All companies that are members of the Tempe Chamber are eligible. Self-nominations are encouraged. All applying companies will be reviewed by a panel of local business people and judged on their success in embracing these core values. The awards will be presented at the Breakfast for Chamber Champions in February 2014.
Posted on | October 4, 2013 | 2 Comments
It’s October, which means the fall semester at ASU is in full swing. With nearly 53,000 students (including 15,000 freshmen) taking classes in Tempe, the pulse of our city is fresh, optimistic and up to date.
ASU is ranked among the top 100 universities in the world. Students regularly win national awards for their scholarship and innovation, and they perform tens of thousands of hours of community service each year.
Tempe is also home to many other institutions for higher education, including the University of Phoenix, Western International University, Rio Salado College and ITT Technical Institute. This highly educated workforce attracts businesses like State Farm, Edward Jones, Insight and GoDaddy to Tempe, increasing economic activity and adding to our vibrancy.
Recent news stories have given the appearance of disorder, but nothing could be further from the truth. Our community and its downtown and ASU campus is one of the most vibrant, inviting and safe areas in the Valley to live, work and play. As the community gathering place for our citizens, we are approaching our busiest time of the year. Our residents, visitors and our students come together to enjoy the event season with ASU football, the Fantasy of Lights street and boat parades, the Tempe Festival of the Arts and the New Year’s Eve block party. Citywide, our businesses enjoy the benefits of the student population.
As in any university town, the actions of a few will sometimes have bad results. There are neither good explanations nor good excuses for this behavior, just as there are no good ways to stop it completely. But we must keep in mind that more than 99% of the students have no involvement in the handful of incidents that have recently made news.
Tempe and ASU police are working together to ensure a continued safe campus and community. We invite you to come to Tempe to shop, see a play, eat dinner or start a business. You’ll have a great time!
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