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!!

 

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