2016 12-Month Progress Report

Friends and chamber members,

Happy New Year!  Whew! It has been a busy and award winning 2016 for the volunteers of the Greater Searcy County Chamber of Commerce!  Thanks for all your contributions to our success.  Let’s stay together and keep striving for even greater success in 2017!

Governors conference 4

Darryl Treat

The Greater Searcy

County Chamber of Commerce

12-month Progress Report (Jan – Dec 2016)

(Supporting our members and the economic progress of Searcy County!)


  • Chamber membership grew to 181 members!
  • Increased Facebook Friends from 5,376 to 6,951
  • Supported Searcy County events and Chamber businesses on Facebook
  • Technology Coordinator Lee Walsh maintained a Chamber website
  • Helped multiple local businesses in their quest to fill job openings by giving exposure to the openings
  • Solicited new business for Searcy County with official letters from Chamber president
  • Used the Arkansas Group Travel On-line Sales Leads Distribution System to target 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
  • Lee Walsh established SEARCY COUNTY WEATHER station reporting on our Website.
  • Established a Chamber Instagram Account. @searcycountycc
  • International Mountain Biking Association representative Steve Schneider met with Chamber President Darryl Treat & Leslie Mayor Talitha Hardin about mountain biking in Leslie
  • Continued a cooperative agreement with the Kenda Drive-In to show commercials promoting Searcy County at the drive-in
  • Continued to conduct monthly chamber meetings primarily in the Petit Jean conference room
  • Chamber president spoke to the Searcy County Republican Party regarding economic issues
  • Helped spread the word to find nominees for the 76th annual session of the Arkansas American Legion Boys State
  • Helped initiate and conduct the 1st Annual Scripps National Spelling Bee Searcy County Championship Thursday 26 January at Petit Jean in Marshall for children in 3rd through 8th grades in Marshall, Leslie, and St. Joe schools!
  • Worked with Kristine Puckett, Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, to help us acquire contact information to attract a new hotel to the county
  • Updated the 2016 Manufacturer’s Directory for the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce
  • Met with representatives from the Ozark Byways regional network at Big Springs Restaurant in St. Joe. The group shared ideas for regional events and reviewed the draft of the 2016 Ozark Byways magazine. Among those concepts discussed were mountain bike trails, quilt trail, agri-tours, and day-tripping.
  • Chamber president addressed Leslie City Council meeting asking for support for disc golf and Bike Park within the Leslie City Park. Received council endorsement to proceed
  • Chamber compiled, maintained, and published Events Calendar for Searcy County
  • Promoted that The American Red Cross is giving away and installing free smoke detectors with 10 year batteries!
  • Advising chamber members to ask their customers to go to Trip Advisor and leave a review! Great idea from Michael Economopoulos.
  • Organized a meeting in Leslie of some key Searcy County officials with a representative of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission
  • Chamber president answered questions of Julie Blair, CEA-Staff Chair, Searcy County, before she attended a workshop about Local Economic Development opportunities
  • Promoted Searcy County to KY3 TV of Springfield, Missouri
  • Created and printed 8,000 of the 2016 Community and Relocation Guides
  • Relocation Guides provided for Arkansas Tourism Welcome Centers, Little Rock AFB, and around Searcy County
  • Held successful 3rd Chamber Banquet & Awards Ceremony on 25 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 $750 to award-winning Agriculture, Business, and Science/Technology students from around the county
  • Chamber president helped the Division of Community Service and Nonprofit Support understand the contributions that volunteers made to our organization by completing the 2015 ARKANSAS VOLUNTEER IMPACT SURVEY.
  • Member of the Ozark Mountain Region, a recognized Arkansas Regional Tourism Association
  • Maintained welcome signs along US Highway 65 toward north and south ends of the county and occasionally changed the signs message
  • Two board members and chamber president attended Chronic Wasting Disease meeting in Marshall
  • Promoted awareness of bed bug problem to chamber members
  • Hosted meat processor owner Andy Shaw to show him the need in Searcy County
  • Attended 42nd annual Arkansas Governor’s Conference on Tourism.
  • Winner of the Bootstrap Award, Arkansas Parks and Tourism Henry Awards!
  • Set up a booth at the MHS Chocolate Roll Festival
  • Donated eight pizzas and water for the Buffalo River Trail Crew while they worked to complete the trail between HW 65 and the South Maumee Road.  David and Cynthia Garmoe represented the chamber.
  • Purchased full page Ad in the 2016 Ozark Byways magazine at the cost of $1,000
  • Purchased an Ad in new regional magazine “Our Ozarks Magazine,” ½ page for $250
  • Working to help J & H Custom Furniture of Pindall sell their factory to someone who will keep manufacturing here in Searcy County
  • Sent a letter of support to help the grant application for Mrs. Judith Branscum, Marshall High School College and Career Coach
  • Mersady Redding represented Searcy County at the Miss Teen International Competition April 22-24 in Maumelle. Chamber sponsored for $100.
  • Steven Newby was selected as the new chamber of commerce secretary
  • Established a new trails committee with Darryl Treat, Victor Boyd, Dirk Merle, and Laura McCarty
  • Worked with University of Memphis grad student Elizabeth Treat to produce a map of the entire Ozark Grinder Trail
  • Worked with City of Marshall, the Northwest Arkansas Economic Development District, and Searcy County to acquire grant money for a bicycle trail and bike park in Marshall
  • Chamber President Darryl Treat selected by the Rural Community Alliance as a “Champion of Rural Arkansas”
  • Encouraged Marshall to start marketing itself
  • Sponsored one hole of disc golf in Leslie for $325
  • Laura McCarty manned a booth for the Chamber at the 6th Annual Searcy County Health & Safety Expo
  • Partnering with the North Central Adult Education Workforce Alliance for Growth in the Economy (WAGE) Program! Involves serving on the WAGE Advisory Committee.
  • Very first chamber of commerce in the state of Arkansas to have 6,000 Facebook friends!
  • Chamber president spent all day conducting a Searcy County Tour for Tracy Morales, Group Travel Manager for Arkansas Parks & Tourism and Casey Cesare, Director of Ozark Mountain Region Tourism on 31 May!
  • Chamber purchased an ad in the Leslie Homecoming book and the Searcy County Fair book
  • Chamber President Darryl Treat and Laura McCarty helped the Buffalo National River and the Ozark Highlands Trail Association celebrate National Trails Day on June 4, 2016 at Tyler Bend. Chamber purchased chocolate rolls for the event.
  • Chamber agreed to spend up to $500 for the new Stem Rock Natural Area at Oxley
  • Helped the City of Marshall put out the word for a Public Hearing on 14 June at City Hall in Marshall regarding a proposed city park
  • Helped the City of Marshall by spreading the word of Marshall’s need for letters of support for grant money for a sidewalk/bicycle trail project in Marshall
  • Chamber president attended Civil War Historical Marker Dedication, ribbon cutting, and Potluck on 2 July in Witts Springs
  • We renewed dues to the Ozark Mountain Region Tourism for $160
  • Chamber agreed to spend up to $500 to acquire signs and equipment for the new Ozark Grinder bicycle trail
  • Chamber approved $100 sponsorships for the Pedestal Rock Bicycle Ride at Witt Springs, the 3rd Annual Hog Wild Days in Marshall, and the Ozark Mountain Shootin’ Hoops For A Cause in St. Joe
  • Chamber president spoke at the Arkansas Trails Council Meeting at Tyler Bend, Saturday, July 16
  • Chamber Secretary Steven Newby and President Darryl Treat completed and filed the 2016 Annual Report for Nonprofit Corporation to the Arkansas Secretary of State’s office
  • Chamber President Darryl Treat participated on 19 July in the Mountain Home Retiree Recruitment Luncheon with other like-minded area organizations
  • Purchased “Welcome Wagon” type canvas bags from Sozo Graphics. Ideally, for giving out to new employees who have just moved to Searcy County.
  • Chamber assisted in promoting a Community Night of Prayer in support of our law enforcement, firefighters, and EMS personnel!
  • Chamber ordered and 911 Coordinator Gary Ragland installed about $415 of Bicycle Trail & Bicycle Route signs for the Ozark Grinder Trail
  • Helped Royal Oak Charcoal obtain an Average Wage Survey for Searcy County and then shared it with our chamber of commerce.
  • Chamber president welcomed new hires to the Searcy County School District on 5 August and gave out Welcome Bags
  • Lobbied and informed key politicians of the impact of a Presidential Executive Order that caused the loss of the local gunsmith at R&C Arms of Marshall
  • Chamber advertised in the Marshall Mountain Wave supporting the Farm Family of the Year and the Searcy County Fair
  • Chamber purchased booth space at the Searcy County Fair in Marshall. Booth manned by Sara Davison.
  • Chamber donated to the Searcy County Fair Premium
  • Chamber of commerce president volunteered by picking up trash at South Maumee, Buffalo National River, on August 20, 2016
  • Chamber member Lee Walsh submitted photos to the Arkansas Educational Television Network of the Wiley’s Cove barn near Leslie and the Smith barn near Marshall for consideration in a show about barns of Arkansas. AETN adopted both barns in its show “Back Road Barns,” an AETN original production that aired on Thursday, August 25th at 6:30 p.m.
  • Chamber president volunteered by using his chainsaw to take out some nuisance trees at the Searcy County Civic Center in Marshall
  • Chamber president and some other chamber members attended a meeting with Attorney General Leslie Rutledge in Marshall on 23 August addressing small business issues
  • Invited chamber members attended the National Park Service 100th birthday party at Tyler Bend on 25 August
  • Continued to push the “Shop Local” campaign on Facebook and in the chamber of commerce Community and Relocation Guide
  • Organized and promoted Junkfest! Purchased $100 of Junkfest Advertising on KCGS radio
  • Promoted horseback riding in Searcy County and the 37th Annual Falling Water Trail ride
  • Chamber president spoke about “Organizing the Greater Community” to the Regional Revitalization Networks Training, October 4-5, Leslie-Marshall-St. Joe, held by Rural Community Alliance
  • Chamber president spoke and served on the “Chamber Panel” of the CTE Regional Partnership Council Summit III at the Durand Center in Harrison on October 26th
  • Chamber board member Billie Reed volunteered to go to the 7th Annual Hiking the Ozarks Outdoor Rendezvous at Horseshoe Canyon Ranch, located near the Buffalo National River, in Jasper on 22 October to promote Searcy County and our members
  • Rod Corley of Aux Arc Wilderness Cabins of Zack volunteered to do a Market Analysis Class for rental lodging operators to maximize their rentals.  Rod is a graduate of the Institute of Real Estate Management, CPM.  Some of his clients were John Hancock, Massachusetts Mutual, Connecticut Mutual, Bank of New York, LaSalle Partners, and Wells Fargo!  Rod recently completed a Searcy County Rental Market Survey.  That survey has already helped Rod!
  • Assisted Zack McCannon, Producer, AETN-ArkansasIDEAS, with a documentary, Music in Arkansas. Origins tracks the development of Arkansas’s rich musical heritage
  • Helped McClain Forestry by providing 2015 Average Hourly Wages for Searcy County by sector and advertising their hiring party
  • Chamber president attended Mountain View Trail Coalition Meeting and spoke about the Ozark Grinder Trail
  • Worked with Parks & Tourism to find a restaurant in Marshall for travel writers from Mexico who were visiting Gilbert
  • Helped promote the “Buy it Where You Burn it” campaign to stop the movement of firewood into Searcy County and the possible spread of forest-damaging pests
  • Chamber members participated in the Northwest Arkansas Economic Development District (NWAEDD) and the Institute for Economic Advancement (IEA) at UALR Strategic Assessment meeting on Monday, September 19th at 3:00 p.m. at Petit Jean in Marshall
  • Some chamber members volunteered to maintain a section of the Buffalo River Trail from the South Maumee Road to the Spring Creek Road
  • Buffalo National River calculated 2,543 people were at the chamber-sponsored Ozark Folklife Festival at Tyler Bend! Chuck Dovish filmed at the festival.
  • Pushed entries for the Arkansas Food Hall of Fame
  • Called at the request of Shepherd of the Ozarks who had their Windstream phone line cut by accident but was not getting the line repaired in a timely fashion. Call resulted in a quick repair helping the largest lodging facility in Searcy County!
  • Submitted Fall Foliage Reports to Arkansas Parks & Tourism
  • Helped the Quitman Jeep Junkies get information on places to conduct Jeep riding
  • Worked to help Ozark Mountain Wood Pellets in their effort to set up manufacturing north of Pindall
  • Lobbied Petit Jean about applying a rural electrification model to broadband internet access
  • Educated chamber members on tools to use when promoting Searcy County in a Customer Service Economy
  • Submitted an Outstanding Volunteer Service Award Nomination for the Greater Searcy County Chamber of Commerce, a Parks & Tourism Henry Award.
  • Successfully got Leslie added to the Antiquing page on Arkansas.com as a Hotspot!
  • Supported increased National Park Service funding that could help with a deferred maintenance backlog of $12.7 million in needed repairs on the Buffalo National River
  • Submitted some major upgrades to Arkansas.com for Leslie and Witts Springs
  • Donated $50 for use of the Veterans Memorial Hall in Marshall
  • Established a Go Fund me site for the purchase of a Country Music marker for Elton Britt, for both tourism attraction and heritage preservation
  • Approved up to $200 for more bicycle trail signs for 911 Coordinator Gary Ragland to put up for the Ozark Grinder Trail
  • Robert Duggan, Recreation Program Manager Forest Service Ozark-St. Francis National Forests gave verbal approval on Friday, 9 December for Searcy County to place bicycle signs on highway right of way within the Ozark National Forest along the bicycle trail
  • Approved the purchase of Christmas lights to light up the old historic jail in Marshall
  • Chamber president working to help Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce make progress in their county
  • Conducted ribbon cutting ceremony at Acceptance Now inside Roten’s Furniture on 18 November in Marshall
  • Participated in the Courthouse Square Lighting Ceremony on 25 November
  • Helped a Marshall family obtain assistance for Christmas
  • Helped the Searcy County Judge determine the largest non-government employers in Searcy County
  • Worked with State Representative David Branscum to get a letter sent to Governor Asa Hutchinson petitioning for Elton Britt’s inclusion in the Arkansas Entertainer’s Hall of Fame
  • Donated $100 to the family of the late Rock-n-Java proprietor Shawn Henderson
  • David & Cynthia Garmoe represented the Chamber in the Christmas Parade on 10 December in Marshall
  • Technology Coordinator Lee Walsh and Treasurer Alesha Collier established a PayPal account for the Chamber
  • Received a letter of recommendation for Elton Britt’s inclusion in the Arkansas Entertainer’s Hall of Fame from the Rackensack Folklore Society Pulaski County
  • Submitted some upgrades to Arkansas.com for Marshall and Gilbert
  • Promoted on Facebook to take unwanted prescription drugs to the sheriff’s office in Marshall for collection
  • Worked to help find office space for a new Searcy County resident
  • Ran an end-of-year 15 Searcy County Attractions Countdown on Facebook!
  • Budget Committee proposed budget for 2017

Advertising                                       $4,000

Booths/Events/Sponsor.                   $3,500

Banquet                                            $2,000

Housekeeping                                   $1,600

Old Jail Office                                      $500              

Total                                                $11,600


Onward to 2017!!