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CONNECT

LUFKIN | ANGELINA COUNTY

September|October 2020

RETURN SERVICES REQUESTED

The Wall of Champions Mural by Byron Jones

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WELCOME LETTER

Hello East Texans,

Welcome to the newest issue of CONNECT! As we kick off the beginning of fall, we continue to pray for our community, state and nation during these times of chaos and confusion. One thing that I am certain of is that even during these last few months, with our lives turned upside down, our community continues to move in a positive direction with economic development and compassion for our neighbors. We pride ourselves on being a family-oriented community and over the last five months, I have witnessed, over and over again, kindness and support for our local business community like no other time that I can remember. We live in an outstanding place to raise a family rooted in small town traditions, big city access- just a little over an hour away and unique growth. I guess you could say, it’s our slice of heaven. Even during the COIVD-19 crisis, new companies were moving to Lufkin and Angelina County and getting settled in their new digs. So, many times, I think we were unsure if we were failing but how much did we learn about our grit and our employees desire to continue to make things happen during a world-wide pandemic? Failure is not the opposite of success; it’s part of success and the lessons that we have all learned from March to September will forever change our lives and how we CAN do business. We have all had to be courageous and resourceful and if you are like me, I am proud of what I learned about myself, my family and my business during these trying times. Maya Angelou once said that one isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous or honest. Keep being courageous; it will pay off in the end. Greater Things are Yet to Come, Tara Watson-Watkins President / CEO

CONNECT Connecting Business to Community

the CHAMBER LUFKIN | ANGELINA COUNTY

The mission of the Lufkin/Angelina County Chamber of Commerce is to continuously improve the economic prosperity, the business environment and the quality of life in Angelina County. Lufkin/Angelina County Chamber of Commerce 1615 S. Chestnut, Lufkin, Texas USA 75901 phone (936) 634-6644 fax (936) 634-8726

2020 EXECUTIVE BOARD Brian Cyr Board Chairman

Christian Dempsey Pilgrim’s

Monte Bostwick

CHI St. Luke’s Health-Memorial

Commercial Bank of Texas

David Flowers Incoming Chair

Keven Todd

Lufkin Daily News

Huntington ISD

Terry Morgan Intermediate Past Chairman Morgan Insurance

Lynn Torres Lufkin ISD

William Price Bancorp South

Roger Lindsey Vice Chairman

Kevin Pratt

Oncor Electric Delivery

Etech

Scott Skelton Vice Chairman

Forest Griffen

Skelton, Slusher, Barnhill, Watkins, Wells

Taylor Haney Vice Chairman

Edward Jones

Trey McWilliams McWilliams and Son

Randy George, Jr.

Lufkin Coca Cola Bottling Company William George

Will Alvis Vice Chairman

CHAMBER STAFF

Tara Watson-Watkins

Merrill Lynch

President & CEO

Jackie Polk Secretary

Tara Hendrix

Events & Engagement Coordinator

Lee Trans

Melinda Moore Treasurer

Cascade Health Services, LLC

2020 ELECTED BOARD MEMBERS Malcolm Deason Southside Bank

Brian Tyler

Brookshire Brothers

Yana Ogletree Georgia Pacific

Jill Roberson

Chief Financial Officer

Donna Parish Recruiter

Megan Whitworth

Marketing & Communications Director

Amanda Crocker

Director of Membership

CONNECT STAFF Megan Buckley Creative Director

Connect is a publication in partnership with

for advertising information call (936) 631-2630

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CONTENTS

2

Welcome

16

4

Angelina Beautiful/ Clean

Angelina Arts Alliance

18

Keeping It Clean

6

Leadership Lufkin

20

8

A Day in Downtown Lufkin

Expanding, Opening, Growing

24

Growing Lumber

10

The Wall of Champions

26

Ribbon Cuttings

15

Rodeo Rides On

27

Investors

28

2020 Chamber Golf Tournament

staffing group

“We Place You First” CLERICAL INDUSTRIAL TECHNICAL FLEXIBLE STAFFING 3810 S. Medford Dr. Lufkin 818 University Dr. Suite 101 Nacogdoches

936-632-2223 936-559-7777 CONNECT  S E P T E M B E R | O C T O B E R 2 0 2 0

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A B / C UPDATE S

ANGE LINA BE AUT IF UL/ CL EA N U PC O MI N G E V E N T S 10TH

Fall Adopt A Highway Cleanup October 10th 8 AM Join us for one of our quarterly Adopt A Highway cleanups! Meet us at the Lufkin Chamber of Commerce at 8 am. Visit our Facebook page for more information!

24TH

Tire & E Waste Collection Day October 24th 9 AM Bring all of your tires & electronics to the Lufkin Recycling Center to properly dispose of them! TV's & Monitors will not be accepted. This service is free to the Angelina County community, but donations are appreciated in order to keep these services free in the future!

AB/C pumpkin decorating contest AB/C is hosting an online Pumpkin Decorating Contest on Facebook! all of the proceeds will go towards beautification and environmental projects for Angelina County!

rules: Your pumpkin can be carved, painted, or just an advertisement of your business or organization! We encourage creativity! To enter the contest, we only ask for a donation of $10 from members of the community, and $30 from organizations and businesses. Call 936-632-5326 for any payment questions. Pictures of your pumpkin are due October 19th (please email submissions to ethornton@lufkintexas.org). Submissions will be posted to our Facebook page on October 20th. Likes on your submission’s image will be how votes are tallied, and only family friendly pumpkins will be posted!

PRIZES: The submission with the most likes will receive a Halloween themed prize basket filled with spooky treats and fun prizes!

contact: Email submissions to ethornton@lufkintexas.org, and be sure to like our Facebook page for updates! Questions? Call: 936-632-5326 4

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Please help support Angelina Beautiful/Clean by donating $1.00 on your City of Lufkin water bill.

For every $1 donation, AB/C returns $23 worth of goods and services back into our community. AB/C services include: beautification projects, Adopt A Highway/community cleanups, recycling, and many other education outreach programs.

To add your donation, simply pay the amount on your bill listed as "Total Including AB/C Donation". If you are paying online you have the same option of adding the $1 donation. The donation is unable to be added to automatic online payments at this time. For more information on how to donate, please call 936-632-5326 or email Emily Thornton at ethornton@lufkintexas.org CONNECT  S E P T E M B E R | O C T O B E R 2 0 2 0

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‘The best class ever’ Written By Kevin Terry Leadership Lufkin Class of 2019-2020 Graduate I am not sure if everyone has seen the meme floating on Facebook that says, “2020 is like a movie written by Stephen King and directed by Quentin Tarantino.” That is what I feel like. I am never certain of what is going to be lurking around the next corner. It is almost a sleep-with-one-eye-opened kind of situation. While most of us can agree that 2020 has been a hot mess, there have been some good come of it too. One thing, the class project completed by Leadership Lufkin Class #38. Our class started out with a bang at Frontier Camp in August 2019. Other than the initial meet and greet, Frontier Camp was the first time that we were all together. I can still remember sitting on the side of the pool while we played “the name game.” I am thankful for that game, because there is no way I would have ever been able to remember everyone’s name without it. It was that weekend that we spent time getting to know one another, establishing friendships and building bonds. It was also that weekend that we truly became Leadership Lufkin, Class #38. Soon after we got home, we had to start making the decision on what we wanted to do as our class project. It was a tough choice, because so many great nonprofits in Lufkin submitted applications for projects they needed done. I think I speak for the entire class when I say that it was a difficult choice, simply because we wanted to help them all. In September 2019, we voted to design and redo the playground area for the Seasons of Hope Center. Seasons of Hope is a wellness and restoration program 6

Frontier Camp 2019 S E P T E M B E R | O C T O B E R 2 0 2 0   CONNECT


that assists women transitioning from various life controlling issues to a productive and healthy lifestyle. In the spring of 2020, we were scheduled to start the work, but then the COVID-19 pandemic started instead. Getting our class project done amid a global pandemic was the real fun. Have you ever tried to get 25 professional leaders together for a few days long enough to complete something? It’s like herding kittens. We are all super cute, but we are all over the place, especially with the craziness of 2020. It was important to us as a class to complete the project because we had already had so many things taken from us. We lost those in-person class sessions that we all looked forward to when COVID hit. A Leadership Lufkin session over Zoom just is not the same as being in a room with some of your favorite people. We started the project June 15 and worked on it a few hours each night for the next two evenings. We put together new storage containers, refinished an existing swing set, landscaping and even enjoyed a little game of volleyball, among many other things. I think for us all, completing the project was a little bittersweet, because it was one of the last things that we were going to be able to do together. Sure, we still had graduation to look forward to, but with the way things were going in the world we were not sure that we would get to have that. We were right. Graduation was cancelled to protect our community as much as we could due to the increasing spikes of COVID. However, we will always have Austin. In conclusion, 2020 has been a year for the books. The Best Class Ever turned into the Longest Class Ever, and I do not think any of us would have had it any other way. Twentyfive professionals met as strangers and then became friends. Now, we are a family. We were honored to be able to help such a deserving non-profit in our community, but we did not have to do it alone. We had the support of the Lufkin/ Angelina County Chamber of Commerce and so many other local businesses and individuals. So, on behalf of Leadership Lufkin Class #38, (The Best/Longest Class Ever) thank you to everyone who helped make our class project so special. If you ever get the chance to be a member of Leadership Lufkin, do it. You will not regret it. The Lufkin/Angelina County Day in Austin 2020

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A day in Downtown Lufkin Written By Taylor Commiato Lufkin Convention & Visitors Bureau It’s hard for me to imagine that some residents of Lufkin have never even been to our Downtown District. Downtown Lufkin is very much the heart of our community, and my hope is that more people will cherish it. Some may think that visiting Downtown Lufkin is a 15-minute stop, but I am here to tell you that you could spend a whole day in Downtown Lufkin and have a wonderful time doing so. To start your Day in Downtown Lufkin, I would first advise you make a visit to Standpipe Coffee House. Standpipe is a staple of our Downtown and offers a fabulous cup of coffee. Along with coffee, they serve other signature drinks, seasonal varieties and more. After getting a kick-start to your day, let the shopping begin. One of the greatest aspects of Downtown is that, wherever you choose to shop, you are supporting a local business. In times like these, it is so important to support our local businesses. Looking for the perfect gift, perfect outfit or just doing some window shopping, look no further than our local retailers. Some of our awesome retail shops include: Sweet Ethel Mae, The Pink Leopard Boutique, The Hanger Boutique, Spruce, Sew Junkies, Rusty Accents, Market to Market and Besos Boutique. Like I said before, there is something for everyone. Take a break from all the shopping fun and grab some lunch. Downtown offers a variety of local restaurants to choose from. Some of our favorite lunch spots are Lia’s Kitchen or Angelina Brewing Company. Each place offers its own distinct atmosphere. From Chinese, to Thai, to Vietnamese, to Sushi, Lia’s Kitchen offers a variety of Asian cuisine. Angelina Brewing Company offers 8

locally brewed beer and delicious food. You really cannot go wrong with either option for lunch. Now that you’re full from such a great lunch break, you may not be quite ready to get back into shopping mode. Why not take a break to check out some of the photo op locations in Downtown Lufkin? In 2019 the LUFK_N sign became a staple on the corner of First Street and Shepherd. Take a chance to be the “I” in Lufkin. Then head over to The Pines Theater to see the newly painted interactive mural on The Pines alleyway wall. Become a butterfly or make a wish while you blow the dandelion. There are so many fun ways to interact with the art Downtown, and be sure to get a cute photo while you are doing it. Be sure to post your photos on social media using #LoveLufkin. Maybe you are ready for a little afternoon pick-me-up? Stop by Confection’s Bakery on Shepherd Avenue. They have the neatest set-up inside of an old train car. It’s the cutest thing ever, and the cookies and cupcakes are to die for. They are also a great lunch option! As your day is coming to an end you have some options for dinner as well. You can choose to get dinner at one of the previous places I listed for lunch, but if you are really looking for the perfect, quiet, date night location - look no further than Manhattan’s Fine Dining or Restoration Bistro. Manhattan’s features a delicious, authentic Italian menu, and Restoration Bistro is the perfect place to pair a glass of wine with an equally superb meal. As the sun sets in Downtown Lufkin, be sure to stay long enough to take a walk under the lights as they dance over the streets. I promise it will be the perfect ending to a great day. S E P T E M B E R | O C T O B E R 2 0 2 0   CONNECT


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Written by Megan Whitworth Photos by Joel Andrews Between South First Street and West Frank Avenue in Lufkin is a new mural, one that local artist Byron Jones calls “The Wall of Champions,” designed after two local baseball teams that won U.S. Championship titles. The Thundering 13 and Fierce 14s made East Texas baseball history, respectively being named the U.S. Little League Champions in 2017 and the later winning the U.S. Junior League Champions in 2018. Born and raised in East Texas, Jones has always loved drawing and painting. He called his passion for art a “driving force throughout my life.” When he was tasked to create the mural to represent the legendary baseball 10

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teams, Jones had to use that driving force to create an impactful design that would be viewed and remembered by generations to come. Beginning “The Wall of Champions” this past May, Jones completed the artwork in July, and it is now on full display for the community to view and to remember history that Angelina County celebrated. Keep reading to learn more about what inspired Jones to design the mural and what it means to him. C: How did you get into art? B: My family is artistic. My mom and dad are both very good artists and extremely creative, as are my brothers. S E P T E M B E R | O C T O B E R 2 0 2 0   CONNECT


My grandmother Eva Jones gained local fame as a talented primitive artist. I didn’t get into art as much as art has always been in me. I can’t remember ever not drawing as a kid. Almost all kids draw, but their interest usually wanes; mine never did. C: How did you get into painting murals? B: By accident or maybe fate. I just happened to be in Lowe’s one day and ran into a friend of mine. He and his wife had just built a new house. They had hired someone to paint a mural upstairs but the artist kept putting it off, and they wanted it done now. He asked if I could do it and I said, “Sure.” Through word of mouth, that job led to others. That was almost 20 years ago. Since then, I’ve completed CONNECT  S E P T E M B E R | O C T O B E R 2 0 2 0

over 30 murals. C: Tell me about the baseball mural. B: The Lufkin Landscape Task Force approached me to design and paint a mural after the Thundering 13 had won the U.S. Little League Championship. I had painted a mural for them previously, and they were familiar with my work. Needless to say, I was extremely grateful and more than willing to accept the job. Having watched the televised games along with the rest of Lufkin, I was excited to lend a hand in giving those boys the recognition they deserved. I submitted a few designs to the LLTF, made several modifications and eventually had a design that everyone liked. We then had to choose a suitable location 11


in the downtown area. After the Fierce 14s became the U.S. Junior League Champions, the design was modified to include both teams. The mural itself was designed to honor their achievements and depict the teamwork and unity that propelled them toward victory. I not only wanted to pay homage to the teams, but to the coaches and parents that supported them throughout their journey to the championship. C: What inspired the design? B: I wanted the design to be more than a series of portraits of the team members. I knew it had to be a collage, but I wanted the collection of scenes to depict key moments or elements that embodied the overall spirit of their teamwork and commitment. A prime example was the inclusion of the prayer circle. From what I saw, this reverent tradition was unique to the Lufkin teams. I think it’s wonderful that their shared faith was on full display for the world to see. I also wanted to incorporate iconic elements of the game of baseball itself: pitching, catching, batting, etc. During the design revisions, I was given advice and insight from various parents and the Task Force until we finally reached a consensus. I’m disappointed that I couldn’t include each and every team member, but doing so would have made for a muddled composition, lacking focus and dynamics.

C: What were your goals when you first began? B: First and foremost, I wanted to make my client happy. The LLTF hired me to paint the mural and it’s a matter of personal integrity that I at least meet their expectations and hopefully exceed them. Aside from my responsibility to my client, I wanted to create something that these boys could be proud of that would honor not only their achievement on the field, but recognize them for the exemplary show of character they exhibited throughout the season. I also wanted to produce something our community could be proud of. It says a lot about our community that so many people made donations to allow these boys to have the recognition they so richly deserve. I didn’t want to disappoint them. I hope I haven’t. C: What art medium did you use to create the mural? B: I gridded out and sketched my design with acrylic pens. I used a highly quality exterior acrylic paint for the backgrounds and lettering. I used highly saturated artist’s acrylic for the details. Both have high pigment saturation and are UV prohibitive. After it had dried for a week, I applied two coats of a high quality UV protective sealant. I use acrylic, and not oils, for two reasons. Acrylics are waterbased which makes cleanup easy. Also, certain elements within stucco and masonry can degrade oil-based paints, causing delamination from the surface. The downside to using acrylic is that it dries very quickly, especially in 95 F.

Need assistance with a new business or existing business?

Contact the Small Business Development Center! Larry Cain, Director lcain@angelina.edu | (936) 633-5394 3500 S. First Street | Lufkin, Texas 12

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heat, so you have to adjust how you paint, particularly how you blend colors. C: What do you hope people think when they see it? B: Well, I certainly hope they like it. I hope it reminds them of a time when everyone, no matter their race, political affiliation, age or gender, were united in our support of a group of young men who played their hearts out. A diverse team of individuals, who dedicated themselves to a cause, worked hard to make it happen and earned what can only come through great effort, grit and determination. When they look at the mural, I hope they are reminded that these boys’ accomplishments serve as an example and a metaphor for each of us and our community. To view Jones’ art, visit his Facebook page @byron.jones.39545. He can be contacted by phone at 936-414-2025 or email at texasartist50@gmail.com

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ess. ss.

Rodeo rides on

Written By Burt Hairgrove Greetings from the Expo! By the time this goes to press, we are in hopes of some cooler weather and a safe return to school for our students. Speaking of young people, the Pineywoods Youth Rodeo Association, who kicked off their season back in August, has a full slate of events planned here in Lufkin. While we will be practicing social distancing at each rodeo, we are looking forward to seeing horses, cattle and young contestants show up for some tough competition. As one of the largest youth rodeo associations in the state, these events serve as a training ground for tomorrows rodeo athletes whose beginning and roots are right here in Deep East Texas. The T. L. L. Temple Foundation, along with the Simon and Louise Henderson Foundation, have awarded grant funds to the Expo to purchase brand new stall equipment manufactured by Graham Livestock Systems. The new equipment will greatly improve the appearance and safety of our exhibitors, contestants, and livestock. Because of

this type of support, we can continue to move this facility forward and make improvements, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. We would like to send out a big Expo “Thank You” to everyone who purchased tickets for the 10-gun raffle that is normally held in conjunction with the Annual Expo Party. The drawing was a great success with the winners announced on Facebook Live this past July. As most of you know, the Expo Party had to be cancelled as a health precaution. However, our sponsors stood alongside us, and we are making plans for a great event in 2021. This is my 10th year as the Director here at the Expo and I must say, I thought I had seen it all until 2020 came along. The COVID-19 crisis has drastically affected all of us in unexpected ways. The foundation events, like the Angelina County Fair, Angelina Benefit Rodeo and the Annual Expo Party Fundraiser are bedrock to our community. I never thought I would see them canceled. As a 501 c3 non-profit organization, we have had to get creative with ways to meet expenses. I am proud to report that the community has responded in a big way. In fact, most of our supporters who bought tables at our Expo Party Fundraiser stepped up and purchased tables even though the event was cancelled. I continue to be humbled by the way the folks of Angelina County rally to the Expo when called upon. We will continue to keep you posted on Facebook @ AngelinaExpo, or just give me a call at 936-637-EXPO. Stay safe and as always, see you at the Expo!

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Coming Soon

Live performances return to Lufkin Written By Ginger Trotter Angelina Arts Alliance For 20 years, the Angelina Arts Alliance has earned a reputation for presenting the very best performing arts and arts education programs in East Texas. The 2020-2021 season does not disappoint. Between the Performing Arts Series, the Discovery Series, the Schooltime Series and the Outreach Series, there is truly something for everyone. The season line-up contains a diverse range of performances, providing high-quality entertainment to all East Texas. “We are very excited to celebrate our 20th Anniversary with an outstanding line up of world-class performances and educational opportunities. We are thrilled to share this new season, because there has never been a better time to enjoy and experience the magic of live performances. More than ever, the arts will be part of the recovery and the success of our community going forward,” said Jennifer Allen, AAA Executive Director. “We are also carefully monitoring state, local and CDC recommendations, so that we will be properly prepared to receive our patrons safely in October. We will be ready to present our East Texas neighbors the world-class entertainment they have come to expect from us. We want folks to feel well-taken care of and well-entertained!”

Date to Remember Tickets go on sale for every show online, in-person and by phone on Sept. 14 at 11 a.m. *Due to the fluctuating nature of Covid 19, infection rates, hot spots, travel restrictions, etc., show dates are subject to change. Updates will be posted on angelinaarts.org, and ticket holders will be notified by email. Call the box office at 936-633-5454 Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. for additional information. About Angelina Arts Alliance is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to present diverse, quality performing arts, along with educational and family performances which collectively enrich, engage and educate the community. To receive e-mail updates or brochures by mail please contact: Angelina Arts Box Office. The office is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m to 5 p.m. To contact by phone, call 936-633-5454.

Winter Dance Party will have everyone a hoppin’ and a boppin’ at the Steep Canyon Rangers will fuse the sounds of bluegrass, pop, country and folk rock for an incredible American musical experience at the Temple Theater. Pines. 16

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Leadership Lufkin Alumni are now accepting nominations for the 30th annual Jack O. (Butch) McMullen Silver Spike Award!

PRESENTING SPONSOR

Since 1991, Leadership Lufkin has annually selected an outstanding graduate of the program to honor with the Silver Spike Award. Named in memory of Butch McMullen of the Angelina and Neches River Railroad, the award is presented to a graduate of at least 10 years who has excelled in their role as a leader in all areas of his or her life. The winner of this award will have exhibited the following characteristics that were exemplified by Butch McMullen: • A leader and role model in profession, church, and/or community

AWARD PROVIDED BY

Angelina & Neches River Railroad Company

• A strong positive influence and source of encouragement to others to be actively involved in the community and make a positive difference • An avid planner with a heart and vision for the future of Angelina County The recipient of this award will be announced at the October First Friday Luncheon on October 2nd at Crown Colony Country Club.

For a complete listing of Leadership Lufkin graduates, visit www.LufkinTexas.org/history/leadership-lufkin/ I would like to nominate the following person for the Jack O. (Butch) McMullen Silver Spike Award:

Reasons this person should receive the Silver Spike Award (use additional pages if necessary):

Professional: Church/Spiritual: Planner/Visionary for the Community: Person Making Nomination:

Phone:

DEADLINE FOR NOMINATIONS: FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 2020

Forms should be faxed or emailed to Tara Hendrix CONNECT  S E P T E M B E R | O C T O B E R 2 0 2 0

Tara Hendrix Director of Events & Engagement 1615 S. Chestnut Street Lufkin, TX 75901

Call 936.634.6644 Fax 936.634.8726 Email THendrix@LufkinTexas.org Web LufkinTexas.org 17


Keeping it

clean

Written By Megan Whitworth

As East Texas came to halt at the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic, one East Texas woman launched her own successful business, BP Cleaning Company in March 2020. “During this pandemic, I feel blessed. It’s been the best time for me,” owner Blanca Perez said. “Even though I know it’s been some of the hardest times for a lot of people. It’s been a blessing for me to have the opportunity (to start my own company), because I feel like it’s God’s timing. I also feel like it’s essential to give back to the community and this is how I can help.” After working for a Houston-based cleaning company that would send crews to clean multiple businesses in East Texas, Perez started playing around with the idea of starting her own cleaning business after hearing customers expressing their happiness for a job well done by the Lufkinbased woman. She then realized that if they are bragging about the job she did, then she could open her own business doing the same. “That kind of pushed me,” she said. But it wasn’t until a friend pushed Perez even more that she then decided to take the plunge and start BP Cleaning Company. Her daughter, Ana Velazquez vowed to work alongside her mother to help launch the company. “(Ana) said she was going to be there every step of the way, and she has been,” Perez said. The duo then started making the steps to make it official. They talked to the bank, city hall, received their permits and insurance, and eventually made it to the Lufkin/Angelina County Chamber of Commerce to become Investors. “It’s actually been very good,” Perez said of the first six months. “I’ve started slow, but that’s a good thing, because I don’t want everything to happen at once. I need the clients. I want to get the clients, and the clients that I do get I want them to stay with me. I don’t want to rush the job and get a lot of clients and not be able to do it.” No cleaning job is too big or too small for Perez and her crew at BP Cleaning Company. “Yesterday, we finished a deep clean that took us four days to do,” Perez said. “The lady we did the personal contract with, she was beyond happy. Because she didn’t think we were going to be able to do that kind of deep clean. She thought it was just basic cleaning - trash, dusting, windows. When she went to go in and check, she was ashamed of all the mess that was coming out of it. She didn’t think it was that dirty. … I knew right away that she was going to like the job, and hopefully recommend us to some other people.” The satisfaction of a clean space is something Perez loves. BP Cleaning Company focuses on commercial cleaning, but crews are also available for residential cleanings as well. Perez’s goals for the future includes to continue growing her company, hire employees that want to continue to work for her, and to “pay them justly,” because “it is a lot of work,” she said. “My business is a blessing,” she said. “My business gives me the opportunity to give back to the community and society during this time.” For those who are thinking of launching their own business, Perez said to not keep the knowledge to oneself. “If you have the idea, and truly you really want to do it; get informed and do it,” she said. “Don’t keep the knowledge or information in your head. Go to the next step, and after that, go to the next step.” To learn more about BP Cleaning Company, visit bpcleaningcompanyllc.business.site. Follow them on Facebook by searching “BP Cleaning Company.” For English speaking, call 936-899-1859. For Spanish speaking, call 936-899-8506. 18

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“When I come in, I see everything; I know what I need to do,” she said of her cleaning process. “But it’s the satisfaction, that when it’s done. … It’s a satisfaction when you finish and look at it and feel and smell the difference.”

Blanca Perez Owner of BP Cleaning Company

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Expanding, Opening & Growing

Photos by The Lufkin Daily News LufTex Gears expanded their business in 2015. Here is a photo of its 32,000-square-foot manufacturing facility under construction. LufTex was the first company to advantage of the LACEDP’s low-interest loans. Written by Megan Whitworth Founded in 1995, the Lufkin/Angelina County Economic Development Partnership (LACEDP) team serves to promote economic development initiatives throughout Lufkin/Angelina County. The mission of the LACEDP is to promote economic development, expansion and diversification in the Lufkin/ Angelina County area through economic programs, charitable donations and educational sessions. “Economic development is the lifeblood of the community,” said Kevin Langston, chairman of the LACEDP board. “It’s what generates everything. Whether it’s the restaurants that we have or the manufacturing business that we have, the type of schools that we have, the type of quality of life - it all stems from economic development initiatives.” Since 2012, Langston has served on the board of directors. In 2016, he took over as chairman of the board. When asked why he decided to serve, he said economic development is an area he is passionate about. 20

“Understanding economic development, not only as a member of the community, but as a business owner, knowing how important it is for new dollars to come into the community, new people to come into the community to sustain what we have, and to expand what we have but also to recruit as well - that just resonated with me,” Langston said of his decision of first serving on the board eight years ago. Questions that the Chairman said he asks are, “How do we maintain what we have, strengthen what we have, and also bring in new?” “I personally think that the LACEDP’s role is more on the retention and expansion side instead of the recruitment side,” he said. “Not that we can’t, but the 4B, the Lufkin Economic Development Corp., is much better positioned; much better situated for those business recruitment opportunities. … We would be more of a complementary or support role for that.” He added that small businesses “are the lifeblood of the S E P T E M B E R | O C T O B E R 2 0 2 0   CONNECT


community; the lifeblood of an economy.” “It’s important for me to see that we support our local small businesses and work with the city, work with the city’s initiatives and other surrounding communities,” Langston said. “...We want to be a resource for those outlying communities, too. To help their small businesses sustain, grow and increase their employment. Then, hopefully, when we have new businesses come in they in turn Kevin Langston utilize the existing small businesses. Or if we can bring in those other small businesses that we don’t have, that supports these larger manufacturers, these larger businesses - then that’s a win-win as well.” Taking Applications LufTex Gears kicked-off the initiative of investing money into the community through a low-interest loan program offered by the Lufkin/Angelina County Economic Development Partnership. The LACEDP was approached about providing “some mezzanine debt, some dollars” at a low-interest rate to be able to incentivize LufTex Gears to launch in Angelina County, Langston said. “It was a half million dollars. … We were able to do that,” he said. “There had already been some discussions about taking the dollars that we had sitting on the sidelines and trying to invest them into the community. ...This jumpstarted (the low-interest loans). LufTex was the very first. They bult ; they grew . They were able to expand. During their expansion, they were able to restructure their debt. They paid off their loan; that brought money back into our coffers plus interest. So, we were able to take that and redeploy it out there in the community.” Through the following years, the LACEDP was able to assist Tomé Catering, Cybershield and Overseas Hardwoods Company with expanding their businesses after the initial jumpstart with LufTex Gears. “We continue to have money set aside for this program,” Langston said of the low-interest loans. For businesses that are interested in applying for a loan through LACEDP, call the Lufkin/Angelina County Chamber of Commerce at 936-634-6644. The Future At the end of the year, Langston will be stepping down as chairman of the board, as Daren Hamaker will take the reins and lead the organization into 2021. Hamaker is partner at Todd, Hamaker & Johnson, LLP. “I would like the LACEDP to be a vibrant, proactive organization that fosters the employment growth and retention of the business community,” Langston said of the future of the economic organization. “To be looked upon as an advocate and as a resource; to have the expertise and the capability to make an impact in whichever form or manner that is needed. To be the safety net of sorts for the business community, to work alongside other economic development organizations for the betterment of our County.” He also added that he would like to see LACEDP grow their funds and offer grants to Angelina County businesses one day. “Now that’s a pretty tall order, because grants don’t come back, which means you have to have a pretty good corpus of funds,” Langston said. “That means that CONNECT  S E P T E M B E R | O C T O B E R 2 0 2 0

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we have to have some pretty large benefactors that step up and see a role that LACEDP can play that provides a return on that. That gift to the community is large and I can tell you right now we’re not there. “I’d like to work towards that; I’d like for a large company to be able to say, ‘Hey, these guys are doing something unique. These guys are doing something that’s impactful. We need to support that.’ ...That’s what we want to build.” To become an LACEDP Investor or for more info, visit LufkinTexas.org.

Britany Vinson, owner of Tomé Catering, talks to the crowd about the plans to open up a big kitchen and venue where people can enjoy Tomé Catering’s services in 2017. Lufkin/Angelina County Economic Development Partnership played a key role in assisting Tomé with its expansion.

The Lufkin/Angelina County Economic Development Partnership was a key player in the new Overseas Hardwood Company facility off State Highway 103 east in Angelina County. Flip to page 24 to read more about the bigger warehouse OHC purchased and calls home in their Texas division. 22

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Growing lumber

By Megan Whitworth With the help of local economic assistance, Overseas Hardwoods Company has been able to continue to grow their Texas division located in Lufkin. With additional facilities located in Alabama, Wisconsin and Texas, the Alabama-based family-owned company imports, manufactures and distributes high performance exotic hardwoods from around the world. Overseas Hardwoods first made the transition to Lufkin when the company purchased Angelina Hardwoods in 2014 and were initially facilitated at a location on Wilson Street. After the purchases of Sitco Lumber Company and Robinson Lumber Company throughout the next few years, the need for a bigger warehouse was required for the growing lumber company. In 2018, local man, Rocky Thigpen was hired on as the division manager of the Lufkin facility. He was originally from Angelina Hardwoods Company and had over 30 years of experience in the lumber industry. “The Wilson Street (facility) was big but there wasn’t as much building space,” Thigpen said of the original facility that offered 85,000 square foot for usage. With the purchase of the additional lumber companies, OHC then searched for a bigger warehouse. After looking at multiple locations, the southern company settled on the “old Dunagan Warehouse” off State Highway 103 East in Angelina County. However, the feat of purchasing the 147,000 square foot warehouse took local organizations working together to accomplish the task. 24

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Overseas Hardwoods Company received a $50,000 dollar incentive grant and reimbursement grant for employee retention of $4,000 dollars per employee from the Lufkin Economic Development Corporation (4B) to make the move to the new location. OHC also received a $250,000 loan from the Lufkin/Angelina County Economic Development Partnership to help make the move to the new warehouse. The agreements were announced in 2018. “This is a great day for Lufkin,” Lufkin Mayor Bob Brown said at the time. “The building Overseas Hardwoods will be occupying was once closed and mothballed and to see a family-owned company from Alabama choose to be in Lufkin with the possibility of future expansion at the facility is wonderful news.” “We just appreciate the opportunity that Lufkin’s (given us),” Thigpen said. “We’ve been afforded a lot, as far as grants and employees and stuff like that. I think that the Economic Developments have helped us a lot with that, with those incentive packages. It just makes it easier to succeed.” The larger warehouse allowed OHC to locate all of their lumber under one roof. “The key to the game is when you got all of your inventory under one roof,” Thigpen said. “You can see it, manage it; keep it organized. Do what you need to do with it.” In addition to the expansion of the square feet, they were able to increase the workforce to 38 employees. Plus, Thigpen said the company built an additional 20,000 square foot building across the street on the property to add additional space for workers and machinery. A building from Wilson Street was also moved. Plus, their lumber amount increased. They currently have three million board feet stored at the Lufkin warehouse. The warehouse contains a fully functional Millwork division of OHC. “The loan probably offered us the opportunity to do that. It helped us do what we do,” Thigpen said. “It helped us hire the employees we needed to hire. … With us buying Angelina (Hardwood), plus buying Sitco, plus the Robinson Lumber Company in New Orleans, we had to expand. The loans helped us do that.” In the future, Thigpen said he “just wants to be bigger and better.” “We’ve done a lot of that as revenue and inventory,” he said. “We just want to expand it as much as we can.”

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One Firm - Four Locations Lufkin, Livingston, Nacogdoches, Jasper 25


Ribbon Cuttings

Badders Law Firm Welcome to the Chamber, Badders Law Firm! Badders Law Firm has been serving clients in East Texas for 50 years. They have a proven approach that maximizes the recovery for injured people. Badders Law Firm is located at 302 S Bynum St., Lufkin. Learn more at BaddersLawFirm.com.

Oakley-Metcalf Funeral Home Welcome to the Chamber, Oakley-Metcalf Funeral Home! The East Texas funeral home recently completed beautiful renovations at 412 E Shepherd Ave., Lufkin. At Oakley-Metcalf Funeral Home, they believe there is no greater responsibility than honoring and preserving the story of one’s life. You can learn more about the Dignity Memorial providers at OakleyMetcalfFuneralHome.com.

Want your photo here? Crown Colony Country Club We salute you! Congratulations to Crown Colony Country Club for the completion of their new bar, Authur’s Greenside Tavern. In June 2020, a Red Carpet Salute was held to celebrate the renovations on the country club. To learn more about the Crown Colony Country Club, visit crown-colony.com. 26

Are you a new Chamber Investor? Do you want a ribbon cutting for your business? Celebrate your Chamber membership and gain exposure for your business with a ribbon cutting. Is your business celebrating a milestone anniversary? Let us say “thank you” for your service to the community with a Red Carpet Salute? Is your business expanding? Announce your expansion with a groundbreaking ceremony through the Chamber. To join the Chamber, apply online at LufkinTexas.org. We would love for your business to join! To schedule a ribbon cutting, ground breaking or Red Carpet Salute, call the Chamber at 936-634-6644. S E P T E M B E R | O C T O B E R 2 0 2 0   CONNECT


NEW INVESTORS

BP Cleaning Company LLC Biscuit Eater Bakery Budget Cuts Salon Chaneil’s Tax Service, LLP Chrystal Hudson

RENEWING INVESTORS

A-1 Towing & Recovery ABC Auto Parts #38 Abney & Sons Hardware Inc. Air Cooled Engine Co. Al Meyer Ford Amazing Grace Antiques American Real Estate - Jaime Hensley American Real Estate - Liz Jeffrey American State Bank American eChem, Inc. Angelina Animal Hospital, LLC Angelina Brewing Company, LLC Angelina College Angelina County Heart Alliance Ashley Homestore CNM Solutions LLC Carroway Funeral Home Cartwright Real Estate Chick-Fil-A At South Loop Crossing Chili’s Grill and Bar Christian Information & Service Center Commercial Bank of Texas - Tulane Branch Connections Counseling and Psychological Services Connie & Crew DP Solutions, Inc. Dedicated Orthopedic Center of East Texas East Texas Community Health Services, Inc. Edward Jones - Ashley Bratton, Financial Advisor Edward Jones - Vince Treadwell, Financial Advisor Family Crisis Center of East Texas Fenley & Bate, Attorneys At Law First Presbyterian Church Hammer Equipment Harbor Hospice JM Chevrolet Cadillac Junk’n Treasures Wedding & Event Planning KETK/FOX51/KTPN KTRE TV Kaye M. Alderman, Attorney at Law Kelty’s First Baptist Church

INVESTOR ANNIVERSARIES 20 Years Merle Norman Cosmetics 15 Years Star Professional Cleaning 10 Years Christ Congregational Church Real Graphics Salty’s Auto Sales (First Street)

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JUNE/JULY

IT Enabled Market To Market Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers Rubie and Jane Formal Wear

JUNE/JULY

Legacy Real Estate Group - Donna B Green Legacy Real Estate Group - Keith L. Green Lewis & Seely Appraisals, Inc. Livewell Athletic Club Liza’s Garden Lone Star Charlie’s Family Restaurant Lufkin ISD Education Foundation MTC Diboll Correctional McNutt Funeral Home Merle Norman Cosmetics Merry Maids My MD Select Neches House New Zion Temple of Deliverance, Inc. Newk’s Eatery #1119 One Source Facility Services Papa John’s Pizza Pax-Sun Engineering Inc. Physicians Of East Texas, L.L.C. Premier Kia Providence at Ted Trout SERVPRO of Lufkin/S. Nacogdoches County SFA Center for Career and Professional Development Salty’s Auto Sales (Timberland) Shafer Funeral Home, LLC Signs By Debbie Sleep Inn/Main Stay Suites Sr. Master Olford’s ATA Blackbelt Academy St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church Texas Forest Country Retreat Todd, Hamaker & Johnson, LLP Tommy’s Watch & Jewelry Tomé Catering Trailwood Storage, LLC Walmart Weismuller Law Firm Wendy’s Misfits Animal Rescue Wienerschnitzel #870 William George Co., Inc. Wingstop Woodland Heights Medical Center

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER

5 Years Greenway Habitat for Humanity of Angelina County, Inc. Kovar Wealth Management Timberland Nursery

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2020 Chamber Golf Tournament Presented by Premier Kia

Integra Insurance Services placed first place for the second year in a row at the 2020 Chamber Golf Tournament.

East Texas Powersports placed second.

Etech placed third.

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