by Glendale Chamber of Commerce on October 20th, 2016

By: The Glendale Star

Thousands of people drive by the AAA Glendale Operations Center, 5353 W. Bell Road, each day and many often mistake the sizable facility for a roadside assistance or travel agency.

What you would actually see inside the facility is an enormous open-concept call center with hundreds of employees amiably assisting insurance customers digitally and via telephone. For more than 10 years, the Glendale site has been a western hub of CSAA Insurance Group, which is an AAA service provider.

When team members are not engaged with customers, you’ll find them attending in-depth training sessions, dining at the company’s inviting café-restaurant, competing in a friendly foosball tournament in the break room, painting mini maracas for Hispanic Heritage Month, or sharing volunteer stories after sprucing up three ramadas at Glendale’s Chaparral Park.

The City of Glendale is the most recent beneficiary of the company’s commitment to community, as the Glendale CSAA-AAA team recently signed onto Glendale’s Partners ‘N Parks program, adopting Chaparral Park at 57th Avenue and Greenbriar Drive.

“One of our core values is caring, and it’s not just words that we say - it’s actions that we take,” said Juleen Rohrbacker, site leader for CSAA Insurance Group. “Chaparral Park is close to our facility and it needed a little TLC, so it was a great way for us to contribute to our local community.”

Partners ‘N Parks is in its third year as a collaborative effort to enhance Glendale parks. It is open to neighborhoods, businesses, faith-based organizations and others who could commit to a minimum of four clean-up activities annually. In return, organizations receive signage at their adopted park and an opportunity for volunteerism and team building.

“It helps us immensely from a park maintenance standpoint,” said Erik Strunk, director of Glendale Parks, Recreation and Public Facilities. “I think the biggest payoff of all is what the volunteers accomplish, because it’s a sustained effort to improve the park throughout the year where we help them identify specific park projects they’d like to complete.”

With projects like this, it’s clear that insurance is not the only tie that binds CSAA and AAA. Both companies have been longstanding flagships of philanthropy and volunteerism, with CSAA awarding three paid days to every employee for use in giving back to their community.

“They have 100 percent participation in volunteerism and that is almost unheard of,” said Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers. “The employees at the AAA Glendale Operations Center are points of pride for our city and I commend them for their efforts in going above and beyond.”
In addition to Partners ‘N Parks, Rohrbacker said the company has also supported United Way, St. Mary’s Food Bank, Special Olympics and the Pat Tillman Foundation.

This corporate philosophy of putting people first has resulted in a company and workforce that has evolved and withstood the test of time.

Originally named the California State Automobile Association, the company has been selling insurance for more than a century and employs 1,100 employees at the Glendale and North Phoenix locations. CSAA offers auto, homeowners and other personal lines of insurance to nearly 17 million AAA members in 23 states and Washington D.C.

The Glendale operations center services AAA-branded insurance products and is a major base of support for information and technology for the organization. CSAA Insurance Group is headquartered in Walnut Creek, Calif., and has 3,800 employees primarily in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Jersey and Oklahoma. It is one of the top personal lines property and casualty insurance groups in the country, having written $3.3 billion in premiums in 2015.

The Mayor’s Business of the Week is a program initiated by Mayor Weiers in 2014 to recognize the entrepreneurial spirit in Glendale. The purpose of the program is to heighten awareness of local companies by showcasing the many aspects of doing business in Glendale and the positive impact on our city, citizens and local economy.

Businesses that are named Business of the Week are also featured through Mayor Weiers’ social media channels @MayorWeiers and the Glendale Chamber of Commerce.

by Glendale Chamber of Commerce on September 19th, 2016

By: The Glendale Star

​Serving as an excellent opportunity for chamber members, invited guests and community patrons to enjoy an evening of fun and excitement just before the holiday season, the Glendale Chamber of Commerce annual fundraising event showcases one-of-a-kind, artisanal creations, dream vacations and hundreds of retail items and services, all up for auction at incredible prices.

Beginning 6 p.m. Nov. 4 at Renaissance Glendale Hotel & Spa, 9495 W. Coyotes Blvd., this is a great opportunity to score an unbelievable deal, just in time for the gift-giving season. Early bird price is $60 a person, through Oct. 28, and includes dinner.

For more information, call 623-937-4754, or visit

by Glendale Chamber of Commerce on September 13th, 2016

By: Robert Heidt,​

In real estate, it’s about “location, location, location.” For us, it’s about “relationships, relationships, relationships.”
2016 has been a terrific year for economic development in Glendale, and the city is moving forward fast from the recent economic crisis that hit many cities hard.
This summer, the chamber reached the exciting milestone of adding its 1,000th member, and it is a result of the relationships we have built within the business community. Glendale is open for business. Companies large and small are making significant investments here, and there is more to come.
More than a dozen companies ranging from health-care providers to technology and business-service industries have either moved to Glendale recently or announced growth plans. That translates to about 3,300 new jobs in the months and years ahead.
A unified effort
We know these businesses have chosen to invest in our community in part because they see the unified effort between the chamber and city leadership that is driven by a core philosophy that great partnerships are of great business value.
That’s really what it’s about for us. As an industry, chambers have become too transactional; we’ve returned our focus to personal relationship-building with our city leaders, elected officials and with businesses.
Glendale’s new city manager, Kevin Phelps, has stated that he is especially proud of the strong collaboration between elected officials, city staff and the chamber as we establish a locally based economic-development vision. This vision must be supported with coordinated public policies designed to create an environment where it’s easier for business to open and create well-paying jobs.
The city leaders are showing they embrace having a strong business-advocacy organization like the chamber in their community, and we believe that working in tandem with them on economic development and other community initiatives is crucial. We have already seen results from our partnership, and I believe it will only pick up momentum benefiting everyone in Glendale.
As a team, we are homing in on strengthening the foundation of existing business relationships, such as with Conair Corp., which has reaffirmed its longstanding commitment to this city in a major way.
Good news from Conair
Conair is a global brand name known for manufacturing hair dryers, curling irons and other grooming products. In 1992, it opened a distribution center in the vicinity of the Glendale Airpark. In 2009, it went on to expand operations in the midst of the downturned national economy by opening a national return center. Fast forward seven years and Conair has just announced it has broken ground on a $40 million expansion to its existing campus. When complete, this state-of-the-art global-distribution and e-commerce center will be part of a 2.3-million-square-foot campus with almost 53 acres under-roof. In Maricopa County, only the Intel campus will be larger than Glendale’s Conair campus.
The expansion will bring with it hundreds of new jobs employing 750 people at buildout. The new jobs will be at all levels ranging from management and executive staff to customer-service representatives. A skilled workforce is vital to a strong economy, and we are thrilled with this news.
In addition, Kevin Phelps and Glendale’s Economic Development Director Brian Friedman and I have been focused on visiting dozens of local businesses of all sizes. We are there to listen and to learn. We want to find out the problems businesses are facing and how we can assist.
The Glendale Chamber of Commerce and the city of Glendale are on a mission to achieve a broader, stronger economy that results in the expansion of the labor force and an improved quality of life for those who call Glendale home.
Glendale is clearly growing and achieving results time and time again. We have many reasons to be proud. And, we are.
Robert Heidt is CEO and president of the Glendale Chamber of Commerce.

by Glendale Chamber of Commerce on September 9th, 2016

Phoenix Business Blog - Robert Heidt & Todd Sanders, Contributing Writers

​Times have changed, and so has the role of chambers of commerce. Traditionally, chambers focused on networking events, public policy, ribbon-cutting ceremonies and providing out-of-state visitors with helpful information. The Great Recession, however, changed the rules, and we as an industry have accepted the challenge of providing all the programs and services of the past while revving our economic development engines into high gear.

Chambers of commerce have a significant impact on the overall quality of life and perception of our communities. Essential to economic growth, chambers are pro-business organizations that work to ensure the production side of the economy has a voice at the policy table. We are catalysts who bring about change. We’re at the front line to sound the alarm when something is not working for business and advocate for more effective ways of doing things. We work to grow Arizona businesses, Arizona jobs and our regional economy.

​This economic blocking and tackling is a natural fit for chambers because it has always been in our wheelhouse; in essence, it is woven into the very fabric of the work we do, day in and day out. And the reason is as startlingly simple as one single word: jobs. Simply put, economic growth means job growth and job growth means strong and vibrant communities.

We actively welcome and embrace businesses that have relocated into our communities and cities. Our focus on business retention and job creation ultimately leads to greater economic prosperity which enables our cities and towns to provide the infrastructure and services that are needed for modern society.

We cannot do it alone. Chambers of commerce complement other economic development players by collaborating on the big picture, rather than acting contrary to those efforts in a vacuum. We are conveners and connectors, bringing together industry leaders, elected officials and the broader community to support a business-friendly climate. The advantages of taking a collective approach to economic development minimize barriers for businesses to relocate or expand and, in turn, benefit us all.

We all share a common goal to grow the region. And it’s up to all of us as a community to make sure businesses stay here. We’re in this together.

by Glendale Chamber of Commerce on September 8th, 2016

By: Jessica Boehm, The Republic |

​Downtown Glendale could be the site of the Phoenix area's newest entertainment district by year's end — opening the door for trendy new amenities like microbreweries and wine bars.

City officials say a new district would allow more flexibility to attract unique businesses and transform the downtown area, which lost key tenants during the economic downturn.

State law prohibits certain businesses that sell mostly alcohol, like bars, liquor stores and distilleries, from locating within 300 feet of a church or school. In the past several years, entrepreneurs interested in opening specialty bars and breweries were turned away because there are at least 26 churches and schools currently located in historic Glendale, said Jean Moreno, the city's executive officer of strategic initiatives and special projects.

But the creation of an entertainment district — much like ones in downtown Mesa, Phoenix and Peoria — would allow such venues to apply for an exemption from the 300-foot rule.

​The proposed district probably will be presented to the Glendale City Council at a workshop in October, with a council vote expected shortly after, Moreno said.

Path to a 'hip, vibrant' downtown?

The city's downtown is in the middle of an evolution, according to Glendale Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Robert Heidt Jr. An entertainment district could ensure the area's future includes an eclectic mix of "cool, hip, vibrant" businesses, he said.

​"It will really help us transform our downtown the way we see fit," Heidt said. "We, much like every other city, need to have every resource available to be competitive, to attract new businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs."

Across the Valley and nation, cities are investing in their downtown areas because they realize the value they provide, Heidt said.

"I think Glendale, our downtown, lends itself nicely to creating a greater character and charm to lead us into the future," he said. "We've got all the right attributes. Now it's just time to capitalize on what the new downtown looks like in everyday America."

Heidt also noted that many residents and business owners have differing opinions as to what is considered downtown Glendale. An entertainment district would provide specific boundaries and "really give us a core focus," he said.

​The proposed boundaries of the entertainment district stretch from 43rd Avenue to 61st Avenue along Glendale Avenue.

​Churches and schools cautiously supportive

Moreno said the city encouraged schools, churches and other concerned parties to attend a community meeting last month to answer questions about the entertainment district.

Nobody expressed opposition to the district at the meeting, but a few business owners and church leaders encouraged the city to adopt "time, place and manner" guidelines to use when determining what types of businesses receive liquor-license exemptions, Moreno said.

Pastor David Clark of Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church and School, which is near 56th and Palmarie avenues, said his opinion of the district is two-fold.

On one hand, Clark's congregation is interested in the revitalization of downtown and the potential positive economic development the district could bring, he said. But without specific guidelines, Clark worries the city could allow unfavorable venues near his church and school, which opened in downtown Glendale in 1927.

​"There's always a concern that something's going to go in across the street from your facility that would make it difficult for children and families," Clark said.

​While Clark knows the current city leaders' visions for downtown match his own, it's impossible to know what elected officials in five, 10 or 15 years may envision, he said. For that reason, the ordinance should be crafted in a way that protects current businesses and organizations in the area, he said.

"You have to at least say to the people in city government, 'We like what you're doing, we trust you ... but please understand that what we're concerned about is that the language be sufficiently tight,' " Clark said.

Moreno said the city researched how other Valley cities structured their exemption guidelines. In Mesa, for example, the downtown businesses agreed to adopt "good neighbor policies" and police themselves. In Peoria, the council must consider certain "compatibility" aspects before issuing a liquor-license exemption, Moreno said.

So far, public feedback indicates that residents want to maintain the "historic nature and charm of the downtown" and keep it "family-friendly," she said. Moreno noted that city staff members plan to use this feedback to form similar guidelines.

​Clark said all of the other stakeholders he's heard from, including other pastors and business owners, appear to share his opinion.

"We all agreed that we support this in general; we just want to make sure there's no loophole that's going to make us all sad someday," Clark said.

by Glendale Chamber of Commerce on September 6th, 2016

By The Glendale Star

​Mayor Jerry Weiers names SK Oil Sales Glendale’s Business of the Week

As you dine in your favorite restaurant, or bar savoring the battered onion rings, seasoned French fries or wildly spicy wings, have you ever stopped to think about the cooking oil used to make it?

One company in Glendale thinks about that question every day, because it supplies about 250 restaurant and hospitality industry customers with a key ingredient that keeps their kitchens flowing smoothly – oil.

SK Oil Sales, 5355 N. 51st Ave., not only distributes commercial cooking oil, but offers a patented filtration machine that cleans it. This process prolongs the life and usefulness of the oil and significantly removes contaminants that build up when using a commercial restaurant fryer.

“I chose SK Oil for Business of the Week because they are a great example of the entrepreneurial spirit that is Glendale,” Mayor Jerry Weiers said. “Here’s a company that distributes bulk oil, but wants to sell you less oil when it’s healthier for your customers. That shows they not only have a unique product and a dynamic distribution system, but also a real partnership that’s helping people.”

Ross Nitta owns SK Oil Sales, which is named after daughters, Shari and Kelli. It was started in 2004 with a vision to provide quality bulk oil services to restaurants and the hospitality industry.

The oil arrives on a train, where it goes through a custom blend process and private labeling system in Glendale. What emerges is a delicious blend of cooking oils from olive oil to vegetable oil to canola oil, and many others in between.

The blends are then shipped via drums, bulk totes, boxes, or jugs to food service providers. The company has expanded, and in addition to Arizona, now offers products in Nevada and California.

Managing Partner Conrad Canter comprises the other half of the dynamic duo partnership that has evolved into a well-oiled machine.

Canter invented the Zeco Oil Filtration Machine, a process for which he holds a U.S. patent. The device essentially scrubs the oil that is used in restaurant fryers and frees it from contaminates. It also allows the restaurant to decrease overall oil consumption by about 50 percent.

It may seem like an odd pairing - a company that distributes vast quantities of oil teaming up with a company whose product results in the restaurant buying less oil. But Canter shrugs, smiles and points to the fact that it’s really about serving their customer and providing options that improve safety, quality and health.

“Quite simply, that’s our slogan – better oil, better food,” Canter said.

The company had originally planned to locate in Tempe, but when the deal fell through literally days before materials were scheduled to arrive on site to open the doors, Nitta scrambled and found the Glendale plant.

The dual husband-wife teams of Nitta and Canter have never looked back, experiencing double-digit growth in Glendale and referring to their arrival in the city as a blessing in disguise.

“We’ve been able to get good employees, the rail has helped us exponentially, the fire and police departments and all the way up the food chain - all continue to support our growth,” Canter said. “The city is always here to help us grow, obviously keep us here, and make it so we can become a powerhouse in Arizona, across the country and for that matter, the world.”

For more information on the company and its product line, visit

The Mayor’s Business of the Week is a program initiated by Mayor Weiers in 2014 to recognize the entrepreneurial spirit in Glendale. The purpose of the program is to heighten awareness of local companies by showcasing the many aspects of doing business in Glendale and the positive impact on our city, citizens and local economy.

Businesses that are named Business of the Week are also featured through Mayor Weiers’ social media channels and the Glendale Chamber of Commerce.

by Glendale Chamber of Commerce on September 6th, 2016

By The Glendale Star

​The clear choice for Mayor Weiers’ Business of the Week is Avanti Industries, which specializes in manufacturing, distributing and installing of vinyl windows and patio doors.

Owner Jerry Petty credits Glendale’s reputation for speed-to-market as the primary reason he chose to locate Avanti’s main office and manufacturing plant to the current site, 5107 N. 51st Ave., more than two years ago. The company is planning an 80,000-square-foot expansion in November.

“The support we got from the city in fast-tracking permits was really key for us,” Petty said.

Avanti Industries began in 1985 as a window distributor in Phoenix. What started as a small family operation quickly grew to a large company known for exceptional customer relations.

Over the years, the window manufacturer has changed ownership and has operated numerous plants throughout the Southwest. Avanti was the first plant to invest and locate in the Glendale Air Park, also known as the Glen Harbor Business Park, in 1992.

While their main office and manufacturing plant is in downtown Glendale, the company also operates a distribution center and customer pick-up site in Peoria. Avanti currently does business in Arizona and Nevada, and has grown from 39 employees in 2014 to 150 employees today.

“This is a local company that has really been successful in growing their business here in Glendale by building relationships throughout the Southwest and putting out a quality product,” Mayor Weiers said. “They cut the glass, they make the frames and I’m proud that they have remained here over the years, continuing to invest in our community.”

Avanti features both new-build and retrofit products, including energy efficient and versatile vinyl patio doors. They also offer traditional patio doors, with a multi-slide and stacking door system. All of Avanti’s patio doors use SolarBan70xl glass, an important feature for desert living.

The company posts the efficiency data for all of its windows on the web site at, where customers can also find additional details about the window and patio door installation process.

The Mayor’s Business of the Week is a program initiated by Mayor Weiers in 2014 to recognize the entrepreneurial spirit in Glendale. The purpose of the program is to heighten awareness of local companies by showcasing the many aspects of doing business in Glendale and the positive impact on our city, citizens and local economy.

Businesses that are named Business of the Week are also featured through Mayor Weiers’ social media channels and the Glendale Chamber of Commerce.

by Glendale Chamber of Commerce on August 18th, 2016

By: The Glendale Star

​It’s all about the singing sauce.

Well, to clarify, the sauce doesn’t croon. But one of the employees that serves it at the Glendale location sings beautifully, and when you taste Pete’s signature sauce, your mouth might sing (or at least hum) a mouth-watering tune.  

Just ask any regular customer of this business that has racked up more than 15 awards, ranging from “Best Fast Seafood,” to “Best Lunch Under $7” to “Best Greasy Spoon.”

Since 1947, Pete’s Fish & Chips has been serving up the simplicity of a grab-n-go style menu in eight Valley locations, featuring “crabettes,” chicken nuggets, fried shrimp, fried scallops and Pete’s famous sauce. Pete’s has been a Glendale tradition since 1984, with its current restaurant at 5516 W. Glendale Ave., and has been named Mayor Jerry Weiers’ Business of the Week.

“More often than not, simplicity is the best formula,” Weiers said. “Pete’s serves this amazing sauce - a family recipe. They keep the whole culture of their business family-oriented, and it makes you want to go back.”

One day, while grabbing lunch at the restaurant, Weiers took note of the creativity of one employee, Clarissa Granado, 32, of Glendale, who sings orders and well wishes from the pick-up window.

“Here’s something straight from the heart from each one of us at Pete’s - you are our shining stars,” Granado serenades, to the delight and surprise of customers.  

“Clarissa’s a blessing and, actually, we’ve always treated our employees like family, which is why some of them have been here for 15 years,” said store manager Steve Garday. “Pete’s philosophy is based on three principles – price, quality and service. The economy sometimes affects pricing and there’s not a lot we can do about that, but as for the quality and service, we can have plenty to do about that.”

That family mantra has carried through generations for almost 70 years at Pete’s Fish & Chips. The “monster burger,” still a signature on the menu, was named by founder Peter Grant after his four daughters, whom he referred to as his “little monsters.”

Grant was an international golf champion, played NCAA basketball in Indiana and served his country in the U.S. Navy in WWII, where the fish basket idea first sparked. Following a medical discharge, Grant packed his entire household into a trailer and moved to Arizona with his wife, Ruth, who was pregnant at the time. He invested his life savings into his first “Chip House” on 31st and Van Buren streets, where they sold fish baskets for 35 cents and made a $12 profit on the first day.

Forty years later, Grant’s daughters had to take over the business, when their father was tragically murdered in 1987 in his Phoenix apartment for $30,000 in coins and silver pieces. The perpetrator was caught and sentenced to life in prison.

Many of Pete’s descendants are still involved in running the family business in cities across the Valley, carrying out Pete’s original vision, and the management remains a close-knit team. The newly-renovated Tolleson location was named “Ruth Walden Super Pete’s,” honoring a manager who worked there for 57 years.

The Glendale restaurant is open 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and is closed Sundays. Enjoy a little slice of Americana while your order is melodically delivered over the Glendale airwaves. If you ask for the sauce recipe, you’ll get a smile, but not the ingredients. That remains a close family secret, and one worth keeping.

The Mayor’s Business of the Week is a program initiated by Mayor Jerry Weiers in 2014 to recognize the entrepreneurial spirit in Glendale. The purpose of the program is to heighten awareness of local companies by showcasing the many aspects of doing business in Glendale and the positive impact on our city, citizens and local economy.

Businesses that are named Business of the Week are also featured through Weiers’ social media channels and the Glendale Chamber of Commerce.

by Glendale Chamber of Commerce on August 11th, 2016

By the Glendale Star

​As the sun rises each morning heating the City of Glendale, there are hundreds of tasty morsels rising and warming in ovens at La Purisima Bakery, leaving the delectable smell of pan dulce, Mexican sweet bread, wafting through downtown.

La Purisima Bakery, 4533 W. Glendale Ave., has become a local staple for fresh breads, colorful pastries and Mexican specialties like green and red chile tamales. A family-owned and operated business for more than 33 years, the panderia is owned by Juan and Maricela Arrellano, and has been named Mayor Jerry Weiers’ Business of the Week.

“From the second you walk into that little blue building, you know that you are in for a real treat because you’re greeted by a friendly face and the best smell - fresh bread,” said Weiers. “The Arrellano family has truly poured their heart and soul into their business, and when customers are coming from all over the Valley to shop there, that speaks volumes.”

The bakery has been featured by culinary writers and on Cox7 Arizona, which noted that the business is essentially in operation 24 hours a day, going through 1,500 pounds of flour, 1,080 eggs and 300 pounds of shortening in a single day.

They feature specialty breads during the Christmas season. And there is always a rush at the end of October for pan de muerto, a puffed, sugar-dusted bread that is a cultural tradition for the Mexican Day of the Dead remembrance.

La Purisima Bakery employs 24 people, including many family members, who share their homegrown recipes made completely from scratch, an art kneaded down through generations.  
“The art of baking - it’s made by hand,” said Irma Arrellano, who manages the store with her husband, Jose. “My father-in-law says if we work with love, you’re going to have a happy business, happy customers and everybody will be happy.”

At La Purisima, the phrase “it’s all in the family” is taken to heart. Juan Arrellano’s family owned a bakery in Mexico, while Maricela’s family had a bakery in Chicago in 1945. The families moved to Arizona to escape the cold winters. One wished to move to Texas, and the other wanted California, so they met in the middle and decided to head to Glendale.

Their mantra is printed on the business cards, “Si usted ya probo los demás ahora pruebe lo major,” meaning, “If you have already tried the others, now try the best.”

The bakery is open 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday, 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday and is closed Mondays.

The Mayor’s Business of the Week is a program initiated by Weiers in 2014 to recognize the entrepreneurial spirit in Glendale.

The purpose of the program is to heighten awareness of local companies by showcasing the many aspects of doing business in Glendale and the positive impact on our city, citizens and local economy.

Businesses that are named Business of the Week are also featured through Weiers’ social media channels and the Glendale Chamber of Commerce.

by Glendale Chamber of Commerce on August 11th, 2016

​By DARRELL JACKSON, The Glendale Star

After receiving numerous inquires regarding the city council’s position on discrimination, Glendale Chamber of Commerce President Robert Heidt is asking council to decide on the city’s future.

“I think, in general, the council has to do something related to this issue,” Heidt said in a recent phone interview. “Looking ahead, after what happened in North Carolina and other places, the council needs a position and have been too silent on this.”

The NBA recently removed its all-star game from North Carolina after the state passed anti-LGBT legislation, but the Glendale Chamber said it is time for the council to come to a decision for the city.

As Glendale is preparing to host the NCAA Final Four in March 2017, Heidt said he has had discussions with members of the NCAA on this issue.

“The NCAA called me recently and applauded our decision to make this stance on this issue,” he said. “I am not sure how high up in the NCAA this person was, but he said it is still not out of the woods, that we could lose this event if the city does not take a stance.”

In the statement released to the media, Heidt said, “On the heels of the NBA decision to move the All-Star Game from North Carolina, the NCAA announced this week that both current and future cities interested in hosting NCAA championships will be asked to outline how they will protect participants and spectators from discrimination. As a citizen, I applaud these major sports organizations for standing up for equality and doing the right thing.”

Heidt said that while he is in favor of the policy and wants the council to pass one, he said he wants council to make a decision, one way or another.

“(Chamber’s) position is, we expect council to make a decision, for or against,” Heidt said. “While we have held numerous events, it is time for Glendale to stop waiting until we are in a crisis mode and it is time for them to be proactive.”

He said the chamber wants council to address this issue as soon as possible and be a leader when it comes to progressive thinking.

“To not address this issue with the NBA and NCAA looking at this issue, and for Glendale not to have one as the sixth largest city in Arizona, is bad for the state for us to not be all-inclusive.”

Heidt said the chamber is all inclusive and does not discriminate, in any form, so he feels it is time for the city to do the same.

“As a chamber, we cannot discriminate, nor should we for any reason,” he said. “I would like the city to have a common ground and we need to be a leader in the West Valley and we should absolutely be proactive on this issue.”

He pointed to other Arizona cities that have passed non-discrimination ordinances and how it has helped those cities.

“Tempe has been more progressive and they have been successful in luring cool, hip companies to relocate there,” he said. “Companies nowadays are asking if cities have ordinances in place, and if not, a lot will not even look at relocation if they don’t.”

He feels Glendale should have an ordinance in place, even though they added language to city contracts last year.

“This city should have had this ordinance in place long before and the fact that it has taken so long, it has been over a year since it was first brought up, is just unacceptable,” he said. “A city our size, we need to be proactive and not just for the LGBT community, but veteran status, race, all discrimination should be addressed.”

The chamber has taken a proactive stance on the issue, recently asking candidates running for mayor and council what their stance was on the issue during their endorsement interviews.

“At the end of the day, I applaud Councilmember Jamie Aldama for recently asking for the issue to be brought back to council,” Heidt said. “This started back with (former Councilmember Gary Sherwood) and we are still waiting to hear what the council’s stance is on it.”

Heidt said he has talked to business owners and the biggest problem is misunderstanding on what the ordinance will do to local business.

“The biggest thing is they think this ordinance is going to change their business and I tell them that the people this ordinance will protect, they are already coming into their businesses,” Heidt said. “Like I always say, everyone’s money is the same and we are about helping Glendale businesses thrive and take a leadership role in the Valley.”

Heidt said his main reason for the statement was to let business know the chamber is listening to their concerns.

“We have been getting phone calls on our position and if we care, and I wanted to remind people that the chamber has a policy in place and now it is time for the city to have one,” Heidt said. “Equal rights for everyone is right and we need to address how businesses are affected. We knew a year ago the NCAA was coming and this ordinance should be a priority.”