Archives for January 9, 2016

2016 Chocolate Roll Festival – Bigger and Better!!

 

Chocolate Roll 1

The 5th Annual Chocolate Roll Festival and World’s Best Chocolate Roll Contest is coming soon…..get those recipes ready!!

Come out on Saturday March 19th, 2016 at 10 am at Marshall High School for all the fun.

Be sure to purchase your ballot where you can sample all the chocolate rolls and cast your vote for the World Champion Chocolate Roll.

The 4th Annual Marshall High School Art Club Chocolate Was a Huge Success and the 5th annual 2016 Edition should be even better!!

This year’s event will be held on Saturday March 19th.   Be sure and check here and the Chambers Facebook page for upcoming information and to enter your chocolate rolls in the World Championship Chocolate Roll Contest.

To Enter the Contest check out the Event Facebook page.

There are some new events this year as well…..Highlights include:

Mark your calendars for Saturday, March 19, 2016!  It’s a new year and the MHS Art Club is already planning the 2016 Chocolate Roll Contest and Festival. We will again be having  a 5K walk/run and a classic car show with a Parade of Cars at 10am.

Chocolate Roll 2

5k walk/run @ 8am. Classic car show begins at 9am with parade of cars at 10am. Chocolate Roll contest begins at 10:00 am. You pick the winner of the best chocolate roll. Art show, vendors, Make and Take chocolate roll workshop, and entertainment. Something for everyone!

carshow1

——————————————————————————————————————————

2014 Chocolate Roll Festival a great Success!!

For just the 3rd year of the festival, the event was a huge success, and a great fundraiser for the Marshall High School Art Club who sponsored the event.

The declaration of Searcy County as theChocolate Roll Capital of the World by the Greater Searcy County Chamber of Commerce in late 2012, and promotion of the event by the chamber of commerce brought in visitors from all over the state.  There were people from Hazen, Huntsville, Springdale, Russellville, and more.   The weather was beautiful, and the car show, with 27 entries was well attended also.

There were  14 entries  competing in the contest this year!!   Nearly 250 people voted for their “favorite chocolate roll”, by purchasing a punch card, and then visiting all the chocolate roll stations, where they got a sample of each contestant’s creation.  Chocolate rolls were also available for sale at the festival, but went very fast.

The voting was very competitive, and the chocolate rolls were delicious.  It was truly a festival atmosphere, with Music, arts and crafts, and two chocolate roll classes that were also well attended.

 

Event coordinator Brenda Smyth commented, “The MHS Art Club would like to thank the volunteers who helped with the cutting the samples, conducting baking classes, organizing the arts and crafts, getting the fantastic car show organized, and the musicians who did a great job entertaining.  They really helped make it a huge success.”  Smith said a great big thank you to the sponsors for their participation.  You helped make it great!   Thanks also goes out to the Greater Searcy County Chamber of Commerce for donating money for the prize money this year and for all their promotion of the festival.   Smith also thanked all who donated, including Kenda Drive In, Sonic, McDonalds, Daisy Queen, Boston Mtn. Market Pizza, First National Bank of North Arkansas, First Service Bank, Ozark Hardwood Flooring, Elk and Eagle Trading Post LLC, Girl Scouts, Simmons Bank and Homebank for door prizes at the car show.

Several people at the festival and several who took baking classes commented that they plan to enter the contest next year, so we expect the 3rd Annual Chocolate Roll Festival to be bigger and better than ever.  Everyone better hone up their recipes as the competition will be fierce.

Click on the pictures below for a slide show of festival photos.

 

 

 

 

Upcoming 2016 Searcy County Chamber Banquet and Awards Ceremony

The 2015 Chamber of Commerce Banquet and Awards Ceremony was a great success, and with the addition of nearly 70 new members since 2013, we expect this year’s event to be special as well.   This years Banquet will be held on Thursday, February 25th 2016, at 6:00 PM at the Searcy County Civic Center in Marshall.

This year’s theme of the event is, “Building a Healthy Searcy County”.

We plan to have 2 special guests and speakers this year.  Former Searcy County resident Dr. Jay Geoghagan from North Little Rock will be the first featured speaker.   Deputy Parks Superintendent Laura Miller will be our second featured speaker.

Again we will be presenting awards for Chamber Business of the year, Employee of the Year, Volunteer of the year (which can also be a group) and in the Student Category,  Agri Student of the year, Business Student of the year and Science / Technology Student of the Year, and an overall award for Community Service in the county called The “Spirit of Searcy County” Award.

Watch for more information about the Chamber Banquet on the Chamber’s Facebook Page.

 

—————————————————————————————————–

2015  Banquet and Awards Ceremony a huge Success!!

Banquet1

The Annual Greater Searcy County Chamber of Commerce held it’s Banquet and Awards Ceremony last night, February 26th, 2015, at the Searcy County Civic Center.   Nearly 200 were in attendance for the event, and it was a great success.

Keynote Speaker Mr. James Johnston

 

 

“The Spirit of Searcy County Award”: Searcy County Sheriff’s Deputy Lang Holland and State Police Officer Buster “Buckey” Rinks
Lifetime Achievement Award: Kenneth Fariss
Business of the Year: Ratchford Farms –  L.C. Ratchford
Employee of the Year: Amanda McCoy – Marshall Medic Pharmacy
Volunteer of the Year: Keith Karnes
Business Student of the Year: Victoria Passmore 1st, Mersady Redding 2nd, Court Turney 3rd
Agriculture Student of the Year: Laykyn Rainbolt 1st, Logan Boyd 2nd, Grace Pepler 3rd
Science/Technology Student of the Year: Seth Stephenson 1st, Taylor Irwin 2nd, Domonique Baheza 3rd

3 of the Student winners (Seth Stephenson, Victoria Passmore and Mersady Redding) were not available for the photo because of a event conflict and are not shown.
(Photo by Bob King Photography)

Award Winners

 

Spirit of Searcy County Award Winners.

—————————————————————————————————–

2014  Banquet and Awards Ceremony a huge Success!!

On Thursday, February 27th, 2014 the Officers and many members of the Greater Searcy County Chamber of Commerce celebrated a banner year for the chamber with the 1st Annual Searcy County Chamber Banquet and Awards Ceremony.   The re-organization of the Searcy County Chamber is 5 years old, and we passed a landmark this past year with over 100 members.  We decided it was time to celebrate.  Around 140 were in attendance for the event and everyone had a great time.

The old Searcy County Chamber was disbanded in the mid 1990’s and previously held a couple banquets during that earlier period, but current chamber member and previous member Bob King said this was by far the best attended event, and the chamber is stronger than ever.

Big Springs Trading Company catered the event with great food, and the food was served by the Girl Scouts.

The keynote Speaker was Lavina Grandon from the Rural Community Alliance.  Lavina, is the past recipient of the Teacher of the Year award, and the Arkansas Rural Person of the Year in 2004.  Lavina gave everyone a rousing and entertaining speech complete with props from the older days of the county, invoices from her birth, and what people paid for various items in past years.  She told of the history of the area, where we are now, and where she things we’re going.

Awards were given in several categories including, Employee of the year, Business of the Year, and Volunteer of the year.  School awards were given for Agri Students of the year, and business student of the year.

See the award winners below.  (Photo by Ron Gillispie of the Marshall Mtn. Wave)

2013awardwinners

Winners from Left to Right are:

  • Shelby Treat   —    Second Place  Agri Student of the Year
  • Clark Taylor   —      First Place  Agri Student of the Year
  • James Housley —  Honorable Mention Agri Student of the Year
  • Charmaine Seaton  – Director of the Searcy County Civic Center  – Volunteer of  the Year
  • Nancy Jones, Jeanie Horton, Teresa Jackson, Amanda McCoy, Kelsey Whitelaw  (Medic Pharmacy) — Business of the Year
  • Grace Pepler  — Third Place  Agri Student of the Year
  • Foy Whitelaw with his son Finn — (Ozark Hardwood Flooring)  — Employee of the Year
  • Susan Verhegge  — Business Student of the Year

 

Jack Treat was also presented  his award of Lifetime Achievement for his work with the community and the Searcy County Chamber of Commerce by Chamber Vice President Lee Walsh

Jack Award

 

2015 Searcy County Chamber Progress Report

Facebook Capture 2016

The Greater Searcy County Chamber of Commerce

12-month Progress Report (Jan – Dec 2015)

(Yes, we need to have more significant accomplishments, but where would we be without all the effort we put in as detailed below? Thanks for all your support!!)

 

  • Chamber membership grew to 169 members!
  • Increased Facebook Friends from 2,783 to 5,376
  • Supported Searcy County events and Chamber businesses on Facebook
  • Maintained a Chamber website
  • Relayed a survey of utilization of the internet in business operations to Chamber members
  • Helped a Chamber member in a quest for better internet in a part of rural Searcy County
  • Solicited new businesses for Searcy County
  • Used the Arkansas Group Travel On-line Sales Leads Distribution System to target many emails to potential tourists and tourist agencies
  • Mailed literature through US Postal Service to persons interested in Searcy County
  • Chamber president answered “numerous” phone calls on an almost 24/7 365-day basis!
  • Chamber president assisted the Searcy County Economic Development Corporation by monthly confirming the status of the properties currently listed on the Entergy Economic Development Site Selection Center website
  • Chamber compiled, maintained, and published Events Calendar for Searcy County
  • Promoted Searcy County for a Feature to The Harrison Daily Times, The Log Cabin Democrat, Arkansas Democrat Gazette, Arkansas Living Magazine, Arkansas Life Magazine, Jill Rohrbach, the travel writer for the Arkansas River Valley and Ozarks regions of The Natural State. Arkansas.com, Southern Living Magazine, Inarkansas.com, KARK TV, THV 11, KATV, Fox 16, AY Magazine, and Country Magazine
  • Helped promote an informational meeting for Marshall’s new Odd Fellows Lodge
  • Actively promoted Searcy County as a future movie location
  • Paid for refreshments at an informative meeting of Searcy County Lodging businesses and Agri operations interested in profiting off of Agritourism tours
  • Promoted area job openings on Chamber Facebook and email
  • Updated 2015 Manufacturer’s Directory with Searcy County manufacturers
  • Established a reciprocal associate membership with Arbiz.net and they provided us with additional web exposure
  • Purchased a fabulous tradeshow backdrop for use at chamber events and trade shows!
  • Held successful 2nd Chamber Banquet & Awards Ceremony on 26 Feb in Marshall
  • Recognized Business of the Year, Employee of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, Spirit of Searcy County Award, and gave out a Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Paid out $900 to award-winning Agriculture, Business, and Science/Technology students from around the county
  • Joined the Ozark Mountain Region, a recognized Arkansas Regional Tourism Association which makes available matching grant funds from the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism
  • Lee Walsh and Darryl Treat added as administrators on the Ozark Mountain Region Facebook allowed them to further help promote Searcy County
  • 41st annual Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism March 8-10th in Texarkana.  The registration and hotel combined was $425.  Funded Ruth Pepler for $500 to represent the Chamber at the event!
  • Promoted new Searcy County Events List for 2015 on Chamber Facebook & Website
  • Set up a booth at the MHS Chocolate Roll Festival
  • Thanked trail builders at a potluck for crew members working on the Buffalo River Trail
  • Chamber president attended a CTE Regional Partnership Council Summit on March 20
  • Chamber president supported the Rural Community Alliance’s effort to raise money from the Arkansas Community Foundation who sponsored an on-line giving event for Arkansas nonprofits called Arkansas Gives. On that day anyone who gives to a registered Arkansas nonprofit will have their gift matched dollar for dollar by the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation as well as some matching by the Arkansas Community Foundation.
  • Started producing and running Searcy County commercials at the Kenda Drive-In (Thanks to Bob King, Gordon Ard, and the Kenda Drive-In)
  • Performed a ribbon-cutting ceremony for The Dance Academy in Marshall
  • Hosted a Buffalo River Partners event in St. Joe and provided some breakfast and snack items
  • Purchased full page Ad in the 2015 Ozark Byways magazine at the cost of $900
  • Manned booth at 2015 Ozark Expo in Harrison promoting Searcy County & Businesses
  • Created and printed 8,000 of the 2015 Community and Relocation Guides
  • Relocation Guides provided for Arkansas Tourism Welcome Centers, Little Rock AFB, and around Searcy County
  • Bob King sent photos to help Governor Hutchinson showcase our one-of-a-kind locations in the county
  • Initiated an “Invest in Searcy County” poster campaign with Shop Local, Eat Local, Invest Local, and Explore Local themes
  • Steven Newby worked to gather information needed to start a Spelling Bee for Searcy County. Achieved! Searcy County now has a Spelling Bee!
  • Updated Congressman Crawford’s information about Searcy County for his website
  • Updated paragraph for Searcy County at the Association of Arkansas Counties website
  • Met with Beth Anne Rankin about the Section 529 GIFT College Investing Plan account program and facilitated the placing of entry forms in Marshall banks for a $529 prize
  • Chamber president met with a representative from Sen. Tom Cotton’s office on 23 April
  • Conducted a Facebook contest with Sweet Honeysuckle Boutique of Marshall to promote Searcy County businesses and shopping locally
  • Chamber member Debbie Harmon of Poison Ivy Soap Company, manned booth at the 5th Annual Health and Safety Fair April 25 at the Civic Center
  • Performed a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Searcy County Rural Help Center in St. Joe
  • Hosted Arkansas Treasurer of State Dennis Milligan at chamber meeting in May
  • Purchased Searcy County Fair Association 2015 Fair Catalogue Ad
  • Working with Searcy County Fair Association to help them acquire a Hub Commercial Kitchen for the Searcy County Fairgrounds aiding them and area small farmers
  • Chamber advertised in “Living in Arkansas Magazine” with matching funds from Ozark Mountain Region. The Ozark Mountain Region saved the chamber 40% or about $1,200 leaving us about $1,770 owed for the Ad.
  • Worked with MHS EAST Club to develop literature for motorcycle routes. 1,000 brochures purchased.
  • Offered to loan our sound system to the Historical Society for the 26th Annual North Ark Ancestor Fair in Marshall
  • Agri-Tourism Committee flyers have been prepared describing six tours. S.C. Agri tourism has a Facebook page and tours offered for $20 per family
  • Working on establishing Country Music Monument for Elton Britt in the county as tourism attraction and heritage preservation
  • Invited the Arkansas Military Veteran’s Hall of Fame to consider a permanent location for the hall of fame here in Searcy County!
  • Working to help J & H Custom Furniture of Pindall sell their factory to someone who will keep manufacturing here in Searcy County
  • Chamber participated in a bridge dedication for the largest privately owned suspension bridge in Arkansas!!! Ribbon cutting ceremony in Zack was June 29th with Aux Arc Wilderness Cabins
  • Chamber president and board president participated in a round-table discussion with visiting Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge on June 29th
  • Chamber members Lynda Hensley and Darryl Treat completed and filed the 2015 Annual Report for Nonprofit Corporation to the Arkansas Secretary of State’s office
  • Purchased three literature racks to get out chamber member literature in the county
  • Provided inputs for the Arkansas Tour Guide listing for 2016
  • New Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors: President Lynda Hensley, Board Members Billie Reed, Jeff Stansbery, Lee Walsh, Thomas Pepler, and Bob King
  • Procured economic statistics from the Arkansas Economic Development Commission to support the Searcy County Economic Development Corporation
  • Purchased Marshall Mountain Wave Advertisement highlighting Chamber members
  • Pursued hosting the Arkansas Outdoor Hall of Fame in Searcy County
  • Chamber members Lee Walsh and Darryl Treat worked on tennis courts at the Civic Center.  Ribbon cutting ceremony held.
  • $100 check given to the Searcy County Premium Livestock Association for their Jackpot
  • $100 check given to the Marshall Grade School for the School Store
  • Supported Farm Family of the Year and the Searcy County Fair by taking advertisements
  • Chamber member Trena Patterson and L.A. Salon of Leslie promoted Searcy County and Leslie at her booth Aug 14 & 15 at the 11th Annual Mountain, Music & Motorcycles & 4th Annual Car Show at Mountain View!
  • Richard Groves and Matt Pinson manned our booth at the Searcy County Fair
  • Chamber president filmed for Ratchford Farms Film Project
  • Ribbon Cutting: Ryan’s Main Street Grill in Leslie 12 September
  • Ribbon Cutting: Mossy Oak Properties between Marshall & Leslie, 23 September
  • Promoted Ozark Byways Buydays (Junkfest)  23-26 September. Spent $100 on advertising on ESPN radio
  • Helped host the 8th Annual Flying Jam, 3 October in Marshall
  • Chamber of commerce engagement resulted in Parks & Tourism combining our two motorcycle routes and putting them in their 2016 Arkansas Motorcycle Guide and on their website!!!!
  • Updated Marshall page for Arkansas.com
  • Worked to help market old bank building on the square in Marshall
  • Designated $200 contribution to help fund Fall Homestead Days in Cozahome
  • Designated $150 sponsorship of the 1st Annual Pedestal Rock 20 & 40 Mile Bicycle Ride in Witts Springs
  • Designated $25 sponsorship of the Leslie Mountain Man Rendezvous
  • Purchased $50 advertisement in the St. Joe Yearbook
  • Purchased 200 new chamber of commerce window stickers from Sozo Graphics for $110
  • Purchased 1,000 additional motorcycle brochures from Sozo Graphics
  • Donated $100 to the St. Joe Depot Museum in memory of former St. Joe Mayor John Henley
  • Gave a $75 sponsorship to support the Great American Smokeout BBQ Cook Off
  • $100 donation to the Searcy County Rural Help Center in St. Joe to help make sure that all children at the St. Joe school receiving a Christmas present.
  • Approved a budget for 2016

Advertising                         $5,640

Booths/Events                   $1,800

Banquet                              $1,680

Housekeeping                    $1,080

Old Jail Office                     $1,800

Total                                   $12,000

  • Submitted a nomination for the Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism Bootstrap Award, for achieving significant success on a shoestring having limited means to work with, either in resources or finances.
  • Gave a $100 sponsorship for The Teddy Bear drive that is collecting Teddy Bears 18″ and under at the door for distribution to area First Responders, Fire Fighters, and Police Officers for gift to children touched by the auto accidents, domestic violence, fires and other sudden, life-altering tragedies.
  • Purchased Christmas lights for the SC Courthouse and promoted lighting ceremony
  • Chamber entered into a 2-year lease of the old jail in Marshall
  • Coordinated with the IOOF Marshall Lodge #1 to hold a Community Thanksgiving in Marshall
  • Lobbied to have Searcy County included in the Arkansas Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan
  • Purchased 1,000 business cards
  • Agreed to pursue production of a Searcy County Coloring Book based on Loni Kelley’s idea. Designed by Steven Newby. Book Ad purchased for $300
  • Chamber president interviewed on 9 Dec. for the Rural Community Alliance newsletter
  • $100 sponsorship and radio time on “Searcy County Natural Flow” on KABF radio 88.3 FM in Little Rock promoting Searcy County. Chamber president interviewed by Jeff Stansbery on air 11 December. Ruth Pepler promoted Agritourism on 18 December. Kristen Dornburg of STAR Entertainment on the 25 December broadcast.
  • Working to get a Jefferson Lines bus stop in Searcy County and cooperate with them to promote their business and tourism in Searcy County
  • 2016 Chamber Officers elected: President:  Darryl Treat, Vice President:  Bob King, Treasurer:  Alesha Collier, Secretary:  Matt Pinson, Historian:  David Garmoe, and Technology Coordinator: Lee Walsh
  • Adopted “Buffalo River Historic Jail” for our coming attraction in the old jail
  • Worked with Rep. David Branscum to push for the timely completion of the Buffalo River Trail
  • Ran a Facebook “Attractions” countdown of 14 Searcy County attractions

 

Onward to 2016!!