Stacey Tinsley, Bossier Press-Tribune
The Bossier Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate Advance Awards & Gifts 25th Anniversary on Monday, July 25.
“The Bossier Chamber is proud to celebrate the success of Advance Awards & Gifts with owners Larry and Terri Hensley,” said Bossier Chamber President/CEO Lisa Johnson. “Their business has done a lot to help celebrate the successes in our region the last 25 years through their time and talents and we are excited to celebrate their success as well.”
Terri and Larry Hensley opened Advance Awards and Gifts in 1997 in the tiny front office of an electric motor parts warehouse on Driftwood Drive in Bossier with one rotary engraver.
One of their first marketing moves was to join the Bossier Chamber of Commerce and soon thereafter, Bossier Chamber Diplomat Theresia Kveder called on them as a welcome visit.
“Over the years, Theresia has become a valued business associate, wise mentor, cheerleading advocate and close friend,” said Advance Awards and Gifts owner Terri Hensley.
Advance Awards is also a member of the Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce.
“We can attest that it is true you get out of Chamber membership what you put into it – the opportunity is there! There are so many customers we have met over the years through Chamber activities,” said Hensley.
A year after they got their start, they moved to a rented space on the south end of Airline Drive. A few years later, they purchased a home at the corner of Airline Drive & Patricia Drive and over several months, went through the rezoning and renovation process to create their current location.
“As a locally owned small business, we have been received warmly and treated well by our community. We make an effort to do business locally whenever possible – throughout our community – there are wonderful resources across our area. Our business gives us many opportunities to see behind the curtain of local events – we often know the winners of a contest and recipients of awards before the audience does,” Hensley said.
“It has been our pleasure to participate in many events over the years and support many organizations, including the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Visitors Bureau, Louisiana Restaurant Association, American Advertising Federation of Shreveport-Bossier, Public Relations Association of Louisiana, River Cities Corvette Club and many more,” she added.
Terri served two terms on the board of directors of the Bossier Council on Aging, several years on the Commission for Women of Bossier City, Inc. and 25 years so far on the Bossier Youth Leadership Committee.
“We have volunteered for many fundraisers, festivals and events over the years wearing many fun and interesting hats. These hats include: BBQ judge, Junior Achievement teacher, Parade Marshal, ticket taker, t-shirt seller, door minder, volunteer classroom reader, safety officer on a Mardi Gras float, pet wrangler, parking supervisor, speaker and essay judge. And most recently, we helped to organize and deliver some love as part of Bossier Businesses 4 Bossier Teachers,” Hensley said.
“The best aspect of our business is the people we meet and the connections we make. We strive to evolve, remain flexible and to be responsive to both our customer’s needs and to the economy. But, finding ways to plug in, participate and support our local community remain as a very important part of our business. It is our way of showing how grateful we are for our customers,” she concluded.
Advance Awards & Gifts is located at 2905 Patricia Drive in Bossier City.
The Bossier Chamber of Commerce seeks to promote the business community of Northwest Louisiana through ribbon cuttings, grand openings, groundbreakings and business anniversaries. These activities celebrate economic growth in our community by showcasing the economic health of our region.