Thursday, August 22, 2019

Shop Small!

Constant Contact, the group email service, put out an excellent guide why you should shop where you live. It’s about doing a good thing for the right reasons and enjoy doing it! Here we go:

1. People love supporting people
As a customer, it feels great to know that you are helping real people, people you may know personally. 

2. The personal experience
As a business owner, customers love when you are able to tailor their experience. You have the ability to make each and every customer feel special when they do business with you. 

3. Quality 
The passion for your business means that you can strive for higher quality products. 

4. Job creation
Small businesses create two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. and employ over half of people in the workforce. 

5. Community support
As a small business, you typically go to other local businesses to buy materials and services to support your own business. You’re building relationships that help your community prosper. 

Shop Small, Wharton!

Friday, August 16, 2019

Four new board to join Wharton

Wharton Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture will have four new board members come Oct. 1.

Joining the board will be Lacy Border, Debra Evens, Richard Lockley, and Dr. David Tripulas.
They were elected by members of the chamber through mail-in ballots, with a deadline to vote at noon Thursday. A nominating committee selected the four candidates, and the chamber board ratified those nominees last month.
Border is owner of Flowers It is. Evans is first vice president of the First State Bank. Lockley is owner of Wharton Feed & Supply. Tripulas is a dentist at David Tripulas, DDS.
Retiring from the board will Chad Faucett, Melanie Carlson and Steven Roberts. Terms are three years.
Michael Limas, will begin his second year as chair of the board. Carry-over board members are Stacy Hoyt, Hudgins-Groover Real-Estate; Kaytee Cenko, K&D Design; Jacob Roberson, Roberson Air Conditioning; Cody Sweat, State Farm Insurance; Traci Knight, OakBend Medical Center; Fred Johnson, Boys and Girls Club of Wharton; and Laura Reyna, A&M Agrilife Extension Service.
            The Wharton Chamber is celebrating its 100thanniversary this year. Its mission continues to be an advocate for making Wharton a better place in which to learn, live and do business.
            It is planning four more events this year. The second Annual Party Under the Bridge will be Thursday, Oct. 24, at Dinosaur Park. The 11thAnnual Chamber Golf Tournament will be Saturday, Nov. 16. The 39thAnnual Christmas Holiday Parade will be Tuesday, Nov. 24. The Second Annual Snow at the Square will be Friday, Dec. 20, at the courthouse square.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Kolkhorst to speak at Oct. 18 Lunch and Learn

With so many issues facing Texas, you will want to attend the chamber’s next Lunch and Learn. The guest speaker is our state senator, Lois Kolkhorst. It will be on Friday, Oct. 18, at the Wharton Civic Center. It starts at noon and will be over by 1:30 pm.

Tickets are just $15 and can be purchased at the chamber office. It will include a catered lunch. It would not be possible without our sponsors — a big “thank you” goes to My Storehouse Mini Storage, InsuranceNet, H-E-B, the Wharton Journal-Spectator, Wharton County Junior College, and Exelon Generation.

As Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services, Senator Kolkhorst sets public health policies, regulates physicians and licensed health professionals, and provides oversight to state agencies including the Health & Human Services Commission, Department of Family & Protective Services and the Texas Medical Board.

She has speerheaded improvements to maternal mortality rates, and has worked to toughen Texas medical privacy law. A frequent collaborator with CASA, she has sought ways to protect abused children and reform foster care. 

The District 18 senator, Kolkhorst has been serving on Senate Finance Committee, the Senate Committee on Water and Rural Affairs, the Texas Agriculture Policy Board, the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas Advisory Committee, and the Texas Windstorm Insurance Oversight Board. 

Please join us on Friday, Oct. 18.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Deacon Jones and the Skeeters

If Wharton Chamber Night at the Skeeters wasn’t fun enough, an added bonus was purely happenstance. Sandra (the Retired Hon. Sandra K. Sanders) and I were sitting there minding our own businesses with hotdogs and Diet Coke, and along comes Deacon Jones.

Grover William “Deacon” Jones (born April 18, 1934) is currently serving as the special assistant to the president for the Sugar Land Skeeters. He’s also a retired American professional baseball player, coach, manager and scout.
After retiring as a player, Jones served as a scout and minor-league coach and manager in the White Sox organization through 1973. Jones was a coach for the Houston Astros from 1976–82, and with the San Diego Padres from 1984–87.

So, it was a great visit. He’s a born story teller, charismatic as can be, and reeks enthusiasm for life, people and baseball. We first met him when the Skeeters were building the ballpark in Sugar Land and he came spoke here at a Wharton Chamber Lunch and Learn.

Wharton Night at the Skeeters was a success with 145 Wharton folks present. The Skeeters won. The fireworks show was a winner, too.

Friday, July 12, 2019

We have company! Old cars and new folks in town

Aside from having me as her boss, Kim Peikert’s favorite part of her job is hosting tour groups. She returns from the tours energized (and even better prepared to put up with her favorite boss.)
Friday (today, July 12) is one of those days. The chamber’ office manager, Kim serves as host and Official Tour Guide to the Golden Crescent Antique Car Club of Victoria. The 30 members came to town in their classic cars.
After meeting up at the chamber office, the Southern Pacific Depot is their first stop. Next is the Morris Carriage House Museum. Then it’s lunch at Hinze’s Country Kitchen. Their visit concludes with a tour of the Wharton County Courthouse, the most extensively restored courthouse in the history of Texas.
I grew up in a faraway place called Philadelphia. Most native Philadelphians don’t think much about the Liberty Bell, or Independence Hall, or Alfred’s Alley, or the Betsie Ross House, or many other significant landmarks and historic places there. But visitor’s sure do. 
It’s good to take stock of what you have in your own town — what’s your town’s story, and what’s unique about your town. Yes, Wharton is small, but it has a unique story, and visitor’s appreciate it. Ask Kim.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Fireworks, too

The deadline is noon tomorrow — Friday, June 27 —to order your tickets to Wharton Chamber Night at the Sugar Land Skeeters. The game will be played Friday night, July 12. There will be a fireworks show after the game at Constellation Field. Call us (979-532-1862) to get your tick-ets. Tickets are just $8 each.

Party Under the Bridge: Amanda Gonzales, who is coordinating this event, posted a question on the chamber Facebook page: What food trucks would you like to see at the Second Annual Party Under the Bridge? You answered. Some 30 suggestions. She will try to deliver on those that got the most votes. The Party Under the Bridge will be Thursday, Oct. 24, at Dino-saur Park, though I am not sure how to spell the word “dinosaur”. (BTW: Find us on Facebook at

Seventh Annual Membership Appreciation Fish Fry: Members should get their tickets in the mail within the next week. It will be Thursday, Aug. 22.

Second Annual Snow on the Square: We absolutely will be having this event. Why? We just signed the contract with the company that will deliver at least t20,0000 pounds of snow to us on Friday, Dec. 20. We would like to hire more pounds of snow, and some more amenities, but that will depend if we have sufficient contributions or sponsors. Help!

Thank you. Wharton accomplishes more together than apart.

—Ronald K. Sanders

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Skeeters, golf, parties, snow, parade, fish, and more

We are heading into another busy season of chamber events and activities.
It’s Chamber Night at the Sugar Land Skeeters on Friday, July 12. There will be fireworks after the game, too. Come by the chamber office to buy your ticket. They are just $8 apiece.
Planning is under way for the 11th Annual Wharton Chamber Golf Tournament. Thanks to all of our supporters, last year’s tournament set a record. Abby King, past board chair, is tournament chair once again. The tournament will be Saturday, Sept. 21, at Wharton Country Club.
The 7th Annual Membership Appreciation Fish Fry will be Thursday, Aug 22 (new date!), at the KC Hall. We will be mailing two complimentary tickets to each chamber members.
We are about to start making all the plans for the Second Annual Party Under the Bridge, which will be Thursday, Oct. 24. Thank you to Paul and Cindy Webb for being our underwriters.
Now, let’s go to even later in the year, to the holiday season. We will have our 39th Christmas Holiday Parade on Tuesday, Nov. 26; our 12th Annual Christmas Open House on Thursday, Dec. 6; and our 2nd Annual Snow on the Square on Friday, Dec. 20.
Thank you! We do this together. We cannot do it apart.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Yes, thank you

This is the blog of the big “thank you.”
As we get things done around here, it can’t get done without an army of volunteers. 
Do I say thank you enough? No. So, here is a partial list of the volunteers who should be thanked very often.
John and Jane Bard. Jane was the first chair of the wine festival. John and Jane  conceived and have lead the Citywide Garage Sale every year since inception, for more than a decade. Thank you.
Michael Limas. He is our chamber board chair. He also chaired the 100th anniversary banquet. He leads. He leads with enthusiasm and smarts. Thank you.
Amy Morales. She conceived and executed the Texas Salsa Showdown and many other chamber events. She gives her all. She helps the chamber in so many ways. Her work on the wine festival a couple years ago clearly opened a window into what is possible. Thank you.
Abby King. She is a past board chair who continues to chair our annual golf tournament. Organized is her middle name. She is someone you can count on. It’s hard work to keep up with her hard work. Thank you.
Linda King. She has been involved in the chamber for years, and chaired the wine festival for many years. She gets it done. She’s made of tough material. You can count on her. Thank you.
Danny Moses. Danny, we have not forgotten you. Danny conceived and executed the golf tournament for many years, before Abby took over. Thank you. 
Mary Lee Ondrias. Do you know whose idea was to do a wine fair in the first place? It was hers. Thank you.
Our chamber board committee chairs, Stacie Hoyt, Jacob Roberson, Kaytee Cenko and Bill Wallace. They are the future. They take their responsibility seriously. Thank you.
And the rest of the chamber board, Chad Faucett, Traci Knight, Laura Reyna, Fred Johnson, Steven Roberts, Cody Sweat, Melanie Carlson, and Jacob Hinze. Thank you.
And last but not least, a great chamber staff, Kim Peikert, Victoria Heffner, and Amanda Gonzales. Thank you.
For those of you who think or wish this blog installment is my swan song, forget it. Lesson of the day: You don’t need to be smart, you just have to learn from people who are smart. Thank you.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Garage Sales: a personality test

The Wharton Citywide Garage Sale is this Friday and Saturday, May 31 and June 1. We have 55 of them for you.

Whether you do garage sales or not, it sure can be fun to watch. We found a delightful summary of types of people who do garage sales from Here are a few gems:

The Negotiator: The Negotiator has a single goal: to break the will of the yard sale host. The host says $1; the Negotiator says 60 cents — and means it. Final offer.

The Latecomer: The Latecomer shows up just as the host is done shutting down. The latecomer then asks: Got anything on special? 

The Garage Sale Pro: The Professional is in and out of your yard sale in three minute, whether he or she buys something or not. 

The Barterer: As puts it: ”Three Hot Wheels and a blender for that mangled copy of Gone With the Wind? Why not!”

We don’t know if any of these types are true (but they probably are), but we sure can visualize it. Happy shopping!

A footnote on a previous blog on the phrase, "no problem:" Siri replied "no problem" when she was thanked for doing something. Oh, well.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Morehouse gift leads by example

Robert F. Smith’s commencement speech at Morehouse College will be remembered not for the words. But for what he did, promising to pay off the student loans of the entire graduating class.
These graduates are leaving the bubble to the big world often piled with debt that is so high that it is unimaginable. But Mr. Smith’s deed speaks volumes about how to improve their lives from the starting gate.

Already, we hear pundits say it won’t solve the problem of student debt. But who said it would? Sometimes you have to solve complex problems one separate problem at a time. Lead by example.
Walk the walk, not just talk the talk.
We believe the theme of life is “make it better.” We prefer love, compassion, empathy, kindness, and giving strangers the benefit of the doubt.
Let the Morehouse Class of 2019 shine as an example of “make it better.” Let’s hope more examples follow.

Thank you, Mr. Smith.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

What’s the problem?

No Problem — we hear that phrase a lot. Can the true meaning be confusing? 

When someone says the phrase, does it assume there could have been a problem? Or there really was a problem? But it is a problem no more? Or there never, ever was a problem? But there could have been a problem?

One might be stumped of the meaning. Even though there might have been nothing to be stumped about. 
Inc Magazine once made a list of business phrases that might be misdirecting or contradictory, perhaps, just like the phrase “no problem.” 
Our favorites include “to be honest” (which may mean I have been untruthful up to now) and “with all due respect” (which may mean I have not been respectful previously).
Frankly and truthfully, how is one to interpret?
Let’s just say it is a “mute” point, as they say around here. No problem.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Ben Sharp: Mentee and Mentor

      Ben Sharp is a bright star for Wharton. He is a gifted and skilled writer and photographer— you’d have to go far and wide to find someone of his talent and character.
He is now publishing his third novel, In the Morning. He spoke about this newest mystery novel as the speaker at the Wharton Rotary Club program on Wednesday.
It is a source of pride to have watched him grow over the years, as a writer, photographer, and as a person. The Yiddish word for Ben is mensch.
He is on the staff of the marketing department of Wharton County Junior College
Let’s expand this story a wee bit. Ben said he was mentored when he was first starting out as a newspaper reporter, early in his career.
       It was all about the mentee. It was what he brought to the table: He listened, absorbed and observed — taking the useful and discarding the not useful.
Ben, your day is coming! It’s the best!

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Salsa, lots of Salsa

Our next biggie is a brand new event, the 1st Annual Texas Salsa Showdown, on Friday and Saturday, May 31 and June 1, at the Wharton Civic Center.
We expect this festival to blossom into an annual event that will be enjoyed by Wharton area residents and attract visitors as well. It can truly showcase what Wharton has to offer.
There will be a salsa tasting contest, food trucks, beer for sale, fellowship, craft booths, the Cops ‘N Rodders Car Show, and a tailgate-style cookoff. And music — the J.R. Gomez Y Los Conjunto Bandits on Friday night and Steel Country on Saturday night. Visit or 979-532-1862 for ticket info or vendor info.
The 10th annual Wharton Chamber Citywide Garage Sale will be Friday and Saturday, May 31 and June 1. Go to or call us for vendor participation form.
More to come. Talk about it another time. Thank you!
“If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.” — Booker T. Washington
—Ronald K. Sanders

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Give, receive — It's good for business

Helping other businesses will help your own business.

Trade with other businesses than trade with you. And trade with businesses that you think should trade with you.

Give a great review on line when you shop in a local store or dine in a local restaurant and have a great experience. Lead by example.

Here’s another useful thing to do. Our friend, David Bucek Jr., has said this so much that I remember to say it, too: “To sell it is to light it.” Or is it, “to light it, is to sell it?” I can’t remember.

In other words, light up your storefront window and sign, even when you are closed. David is right.

Well, if no one else is doing it, you be the first.

It’s like your lawn. What’s a good way to try to get your neighbors to mow their lawn? Answer: mow your own.  Set an example, take the high road.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

We need more bars

Drainage, roads, and utilities are essential if your community wants to grow or influence how it will grow. However, it seems, that one other thing needs to be included: wireless connectivity.
That’s your mobile phone, plus if you wirelessly stream, surf or access or transmit data.
In Wharton, Texas, some people are happily connected. Some are not. The new AT&T tower (near where I live) has not swayed opinions much. It’s still split.
We, at the chamber of commerce, want Wharton to have A-plus connectivity, for the satisfaction of those who already live or work here, and for the satisfaction of offering high quality connectiveness to prospective businesses and residents.
We continue to collaborate to make it better. So, I invite you to lunch. Dwight Silverman, the technology editor of the Houston Chronicle, will be the speaker at our next Lunch and Learn on Tuesday, April 16. Come hear him give his take on all of this. Ask him. Tickets are $15. Call us (979-532-1862) or come by the chamber office to get yours.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

A Trip to Wharton

We might have made history. Our last tour group came farther than any we can remember, all the way from McAllen, Texas.
It was a bus of 14 people from Chuck Olson Tours and Cruises, which likes to plow the sites along the U.S. 59 corridor for their customers. 
Kim Peikert, the chamber’s office manager, serves as our official tour guide and loves every opportunity to serve as our host to our tour groups. It was her second tour group in just two weeks.
The Chuck Olson group spent two days here and stayed overnight at the Holiday Inn Express.
Their stops included the Wharton County Courthouse; the Morris Carriage Museum, with Billy Rogers as guide; the Southern Pacific Railroad Depot, with William Loocke as guide; and drive-bys of the Dan Rather House and the TeePee Courts.
They dined at 9’ers Grill and Hinze’s Country Kitchen.
Kim put it best in her Facebook post: “We were very honored to have them visit Wharton.”