Steve Gabbay

Steve Gabbay, left, of YAM Worldwide and his wife Jolene accepted the Citizen of the Year award on behalf of Bob and Renee Parsons from Mayor Jerry Weiers. 

Product placement department: Tables had bottles of Coca-Cola and cans of Red Bull and White Claw. Swire Coca-Cola bottling facility is in Glendale near Westgate; the makers of Red Bull and White Claw are building facilities in the fast-expanding west Glendale “New Frontier.”

No coincidence, here, as those three beverages were the co-stars of the 2020 Glendale Chamber of Commerce “State of the City,” held at the Renaissance Hotel in Westgate.

The 50 tables at the event had copies of the front page of the Arizona Republican, Nov. 11, 1921, with a main headline, “Glendale Celebrates 29th Anniversary.” Stories included “Garden City has Made Steady Progress Since Its Founding in 1892” and “Paved Streets to be Reality Soon.”

There may not be as many gardens in the city, but the paving is continuing, especially in the expanding west side of Glendale, where sprawling farms are becoming cutting-edge businesses.

Early during last week’s event, Sen. Martha McSally, in a recorded address, crowed about Glendale. “The city has attracted companies from all over the country and is creating an inviting community to live in,” she said.

“Without a doubt Glendale is experiencing  explosive economic growth.”

Mayor Jerry Weiers seconded it in his “State of the City” address.

Referring to the 1921 newspaper, Weiers quoted then-mayor C.H. Tinker” “Glendale has shown more than once it recognizes no adversity; its advancement cannot be checked. Let us take advantage of this anniversary to begin our greatest era of progress.”

The theme of the event was Western, and Weiers was definitely looking west.

“The last parcels of land along the Loop 303 are being annexed and tamed to respond to the evolving needs of the global world around us with industrial and commercial spaces are in high demand,” he said. 

“In the 1920s, construction was a mainstay for a blossoming new town. Nearly, 100 years later, this is once again true and while then it was homesteads, now it is homes, streets, freeways, and innovative commercial spaces meeting the needs of today’s businesses and customers.”

He then tipped his cap to Swire Coca-Cola, ready for a third expansion near Westgate, and Red Bull and White Claw, the superstars of what Glendale is calling “The New Frontier” of annex-and-build west Glendale.

Weiers hardly ignored the east side of the city, though. First, he boasted about Westgate reaching 100% tenancy.

Then, he then presented the Citizen of the Year Award to Bob and Renee Parsons, who did not attend the event. (Steve Gabbay of YAM Worldwide and his wife Jolene accepted the award on behalf of the Parsons).

Bob Parsons is the founder of GoDaddy and YAM Properties, which in turn owns Westgate. The Parsons are huge philanthropists, having donated over $190 million since 2012.

Robert Heidt, president and CEO of the chamber, gave a look back at 2019. Last year, he said, the chamber hosted more than 100 events and now has more than 1,400 members.

Bill Toops, Glendale Star associate publisher and new chair of the chamber board, said he wants to help grow the membership and emphasized the family atmosphere of the chamber.

The event’s Western theme was underscored by entertainment from John Wayne and Patsy Cline imitators Ermal and Paula Erlene Williamson.