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There’s much more to Conway than meets the eye. You already know us as a great place to live and work, shop and dine. But there’s a lesser known side to Conway that adds to our charm. And like any hidden treasure, part of the thrill is the pursuit of discovery.

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“Conway embraced us from the very beginning. This is such a wonderful place to raise a family and start a business at the same time.” Rhea Lana Riner, President, Rhea Lana’s Consignment Events, Inc.


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n 1995, Rhea Lana Riner, her husband and three children moved from Texas to Conway, so that her husband could begin his new job in full-time ministry. Like many young families, they strived to stay on a budget, which prevented her from buying new, name brand and boutique brand clothes for her kids. She became an expert at shopping garage sales and consignment stores and thought it would be fun to get together with friends to buy and sell each other’s clothes. What began in 1997 as a sale in her living room with three rented clothing racks has evolved into a thriving business with 52 franchises in 17 states, ranking #1121 on the coveted Inc. 500/5000 list of America’s fastest growing companies in 2011.

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LEADER

SHIP

Conway Area Chamber of Commerce 2011 Annual Meeting Awards The following individuals, businesses and organizations were honored during the 2011 Annual Meeting: Distinguished Service Award Debbie Plopper Good Neighbor Award Henry Hawk Get Smart. Go Green Award Hendrix College Minority Business of the Year Harris Plastering & Construction Business Executive of the Year Jeff Stalnaker, First Orion Young Business Leader Jennie Strange, Blackbird Academy of Arts, Inc. Ambassador of the Year Bob McCormack Brianna Belote

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Outgoing Board Members Lori Ross (outgoing chair) Wayne Cox John Pownall Arch Jones, Jr. Joe Stockton Scott Schallhorn Andy Hawkins Business of the Year Over 500 employees Southwestern Energy Company 100-500 employees Snap On Equipment 25-99 employees Hilton Garden Inn 24 or less employees Advanced Physical Therapy Center

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Surprise Patrol

Leads Groups

The Conway Area Chamber of Commerce kicked off its first Surprise Patrol event in April 2011. Each month Chamber staff and board members surprise a pre-determined number of member businesses with balloons and desserts to thank them for their investment. The Chamber Surprise Patrol visited over 200 member businesses in 2011.

Leads Groups enable businesses to network, build relationships and generate referrals beneficial to their profession in a noncompetitive environment. In 2011, the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce’s Leads Groups referred more than 150 leads and generated close to $175,000 in additional business.

“A good lead from a current member of the group led to a meeting with a person of influence in a company that is now my largest client. I am continually amazed at the large ‘footprint’ of the Conway Chamber Leads Groups.”

Ribbon-Cuttings and Groundbreakings In 2011, 59 Chamber businesses hosted ribbon-cutting and groundbreaking ceremonies. Everything from grand openings, re-openings, anniversaries and other special events were celebrated. These ceremonies are free to all members of the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce. Branch Out Ribbon-Cutting

“We loved having the two ribbon cuttings for Pitza 42. Not only were they a lot of fun, but we met several of our most faithful customers during our first ribbon cutting. Thanks for putting them on for us.” Austin Samuelson, Owner, Pitza 42

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Jason Jolley, Franklin Covey

Mission Appreciation At the beginning of each year, the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce delivers organizational information and a plaque to more than 900 members in Conway, Greenbrier and Vilonia as part of its Mission Appreciation. The Chamber could not accomplish this without the extra help of 50 volunteers to assist with the delivery. The volunteers had an opportunity to network with one another at a kick-off breakfast and met potential customers as they delivered the packets.

“What a great week! Handing out information packets to Chamber members produced great results for my business. 25 business contacts brought me 12 appointments and 9 sales. And I still have people to contact!” Shirley Kimbrell, Family Heritage Insurance

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Small Business Lunch and Learn The Conway Area Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with a member business, hosted four Small Business Lunch and Learn programs in 2011. Targeted to small business owners and their employees, the sessions covered topics ranging from social media management to non-traditional degree programs for working adults. More than 120 individuals attended the Small Business Lunch and Learn programs last year.

Bowling for Business More than 40 Chamber member businesses competed in the 2nd annual Bowling for Business. The event gave participants an opportunity to network in a fun, relaxed atmosphere.

“The Chamber’s Small Business Lunch & Learn about Social Media was great. I had not yet jumped on the social media bandwagon like BILLIONS of others had already done. This class gave me an opportunity to ask lots of questions and make an educated decision about what social media platforms I would like to try, both personally and professionally.” Anna Oberste, PRCA Public Relations – New Business Development, Hurley Chiropractic

Business Expo Sixty exhibitors took part in the 2011 Business Expo. This year’s theme was “Broadcast Your Business” and included live interviews with featured vendors on ChamberTV from the expo floor.

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Taste of Conway A new spot on the agenda made Taste of Conway the climactic finish to a busy Business Expo. Thirty area restaurants and caterers offered their newest and favorite items to more than 500 attendees.

Tour of China The Chamber sponsored a nine-day trip to China. Thirty-three participants visited four cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Suzhou and Hangzhou. The tour included historical, tourist, and businessrelated stops.

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“Conway is like a central Silicon Valley. From here, our technology serves the entire world.� Jeff Stalnaker, CEO, President


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rivacyStar is a technology-based Conway corporation with a significant intellectual property portfolio dedicated to phone privacy and preference. In 2009, it launched it’s first smartphone application for Android and Blackberry, which provides users with complete control of their smartphones. PrivacyStar users have blocked over 120 million calls and text messages and filed over 240,000 complaints directly to the Federal Trade Commission.

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Airport Groundbreaking When Conway broke ground on its new airport in April, it marked the end of a decade-long planning process and the beginning of a four-year construction job. The $28 million project is scheduled to open in August of 2014. The airport will have a 5,500-foot runway and is built to serve growing business and general aviation traffic. The location is also planned to attract and accommodate appropriate commercial and industrial development.

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Washington D.C. Fly-In In February, a delegation from the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce, Conway Development Corporation, City of Conway and Faulkner County spent several days promoting Faulkner County’s legislative priorities and infrastructure needs to Arkansas senators, representatives and staff. The four-part agenda included funding for the southern interchange and regional surface transportation, accelerated funding for the airport, advocacy for the natural gas industry and creating a positive business climate.

Pushing Back On Natural Gas Issues The Chamber led efforts on behalf of Faulkner County businesses and residents as the growth of the Fayetteville Shale play was threatened by overreaching regulation and other anti-energy exploration interests. Whether it was writing editorials, hosting the first meeting of Fayetteville Shale legislators or appearing at public events, the Chamber spent 2011 protecting the thousands of gas-related jobs in our region.

Door-to-Door Meeting at THE UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL ARKANSAS In October, the Chamber hosted the Arkansas State Chamber Door-to-Door program. Approximately 40 Conway Chamber and community leaders heard a recap of the 2011 Legislative Session and learned about the future of the highway program, tax policies and education.

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“We are incredibly proud to have been recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School. Our students inspire us every day to represent Conway among the best of the best.� Mark Lewis, Principal


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he U.S. Department of Education named Jim Stone Elementary School a Blue Ribbon School for 2011. Tom Kimbrell, commissioner of the Arkansas Department of Education, nominated the school, taking Conway Superintendent Greg Murry and Principal Mark Lewis by complete surprise. Out of 138,000 schools in the United States, 416 were nominated, and 304 selected. Lewis says that test scores at Jim Stone Elementary have gone up, even as the percentage of free and reduced-price lunches has risen.

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The City During 2011, a number of media outlets spotlighted Conway and the Little Rock–North Little Rock–Conway MSA as one of the nation’s top places to live and do business.

MACHAIEVJO R EMENT

- America’s Second Least Toxic City, Forbes - Seventh Best Value City for 2011, Kiplinger - Ninth Place Within Single-Digit Percentage Points of Its Home-Value Peak, The Wall Street Journal - 14th Best City for Young Professionals, Forbes - 14th Cheapest City in the U.S., Bloomberg Businessweek - 24th Best Place to Retire, CNNMoney - 100 Leading Locations: Desirable Places for Doing Business, Area Development Online As you can see, Conway is the smart choice for people in all stages of life to call home – whether they are attending college, searching for employment, raising a family or settling into retirement.

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Toad Suck Daze Some things get better with age. In its 30th year, Toad Suck Daze raised $67,500 for education. The eleven Toad Suck Daze scholarship recipients each received an HP laptop and printer and together received more than $40,000 in scholarships to local colleges and universities. Toad Suck Daze also made a $10,000 gift to the Conway Downtown Partnership for beautification in honor of downtown’s vital role in the growth and success of the festival. In October, Toad Suck Daze was recognized by the International Festivals and Events Association (IFEA) as the Gold Award winner for “Best Children’s Programming.” The IFEA is made up of more than 2,000 member events and festivals.

Teachers Fair For the 7th year, the Teacher Breakfast and Education Fair kicked off the K-12 school year. More than 1,000 faculty and staff from Conway Public Schools, St. Joseph School and Conway Christian School were treated to a breakfast and interacted with over 50 area businesses.

graduating seniors from Conway high schools. To be recognized students must be a National Merit Semi-finalist, be accepted to a military academy, or receive the highest scholarship given by their chosen college or university. Each honoree received a computer and printer donated by Hewlett Packard.

UCA Bear Hall Bear Hall, an $18 million, 120,000-square-foot residence hall, will be the first LEED-certified facility on campus and is scheduled to open in the fall of 2012. The five-story residence hall will include 385 beds, three seminar rooms, two apartments, a large lobby area with a kitchen, and laundry and study rooms. Located near the visitors’ stand at Estes Stadium, Bear Hall will feature twelve, 20-person skyboxes on the fifth floor. The $2 million skyboxes are being built with private funds.

Academic Signing Day Designed to honor the best and brightest of Conway’s academic all stars, Academic Signing Day recognized 39

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Central Baptist College Academic Building The new academic building will span 36,000 square feet and is estimated to cost between $5-6 million. It is intended to be the signature building for the campus and will set the standard for all future development. The three-story academic building is the first major project in a 10-year campus master plan named “Vision 2020: A Miracle in the Making.” The goal of this plan is to complete 10 major construction projects over the next 10 years in order to accommodate a projected enrollment of 2,020 students.

CONWAY PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM: Conway High School-West Conway voters approved a millage increase in September 2010 that will finance the reconstruction of Conway High School-West. The $40 million reconstruction project will be completed in two phases.

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Phase One involves the construction of a three-story, 165,000-square-foot classroom building between the current building and Prince Street. The new building will provide an additional 94,260 square feet of space for classrooms, science laboratories, offices and a lecture hall. The projected completion date of the first phase is July 2012. Phase Two includes the construction of a new 27,000-squarefoot cafeteria, the demolition of the current classroom building and the addition of walkways to connect all buildings on the campus. The projected completion date is July 2013.

CONWAY PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM: CAROLYN LEWIS ELEMENTARY Conway voters approved the financing for the construction of a new 78,700-square-foot, $14.5 million elementary school located on an 18-acre site on Old Military Road. The $14.5 million structure will be modeled after Woodrow Cummins Elementary, which was built in 2008, and will be completed in the summer of 2012.

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“As we’ve grown, Conway has supported us. Beauty editors in New York, particularly, are so intrigued that this product line started right here in Arkansas.” Kristen Riddle, PharmD, Founder


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ristin Riddle is a compounding pharmacist who has created a line of 18 products intended to improve the appearance of aging skin. Called RX Skin Therapy, the products have been featured in such publications as The New York Times, Prevention magazine and Men’s Journal. The line includes cleansers, facial masques and exfoliants, moisturizers, and anti-aging and skin-rejuvenation products. Because the formulations are science-based and contain medicinal percentages of cosmeceutical ingredients and botanicals, the products are significantly different than most similar products, which often include only trace amounts of these expensive ingredients and botanicals.

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Y T I N U M COM

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Convention & Visitors Bureau Throughout 2011, the Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) and the Chamber of Commerce continued their partnership based on promoting Conway as a preferred destination for business travelers and group sports, while working to grow the city’s appearance as a regional center for shopping, dining and entertainment.

Holiday Shopping Promotion In November, the CVB mailed more than 40,000 postcards to residents living in “target” or “swing” communities persuading them to shop in Conway. The postcards asked shoppers to send their information to a CVB email address for a chance to win a $1,000 gift card to be spent in Conway. The result was an 8.4% increase in retail sales over the previous December. (The highest single month of collections in city history!)

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Fall tourism promotion In September, UCA faced off against ASU for the first time in 10+ years. With many regional television stations airing the game, the CVB took the opportunity to promote Conway to a statewide audience. A 30-second television spot focusing on UCA football, local eateries, hotels and shopping was produced and ran throughout the game, pushing viewers to visit a microsite where they could register to win a weekend in Conway and all-access passes to a UCA football game.

Important numbers

Vacation Tour & Travel A leading provider of high-value leisure vacation experiences, Vacation Tour & Travel built a new headquarters at 235 Tilk Road in Conway. The $3 million, 24,000-square-foot facility allowed the company to offer 100-125 new positions, with total local employment exceeding 250 employees.

- Total restaurant taxes collected for 2011: $2,844,045 - Total hotel taxes collected for 2011: $361,469 - The taxes collected for 2011 represent a 7.45% increase from 2010 - Amount of funding given to events being held in Conway during 2011: $126,250

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Morrilton Partnership In November, the Conway County Economic Development Corporation and Morrilton Area Chamber of Commerce formalized a contract with the Conway Development Corporation to provide economic development services for Conway County. The partnership means more resources and a bigger team working to grow central Arkansas.

Brad Lacy (right) watches as Becki Griffey and Barry McKuin of Morrilton sign an agreement with the Conway Development Corporation to partner on economic development. The three-year agreement begins in 2012.

Southwestern Energy Opening

Southwestern Energy Company’s new regional headquarters opened for business in January 2011. The $25 million, 100,000-square foot LEED-certified building occupies an 11.5-acre site at The Village at Hendrix. The facility houses approximately 220 employees and will eventually hold between 400-450 employees.

Kimberly-Clark Expansion Over the next three years, Kimberly-Clark Corporation will invest approximately $65 million in its Conway facility and will add 100 new, full-time positions. The new jobs represent a combination of salaried, highly skilled, hourly and contract positions.

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CADRON VALLEY COnWAY AREA Chamber of Commerce Board Ronnie Williams Chairman Lori Case Chair-Elect Lori Ross Immediate Past Chair Jeff Standridge Treasurer Brad Lacy Secretary Bill Adkisson Gary Adreon Aaron Beard Jay Caldwell Marty Carley

Bret Carroll Dave Cronk Shaun Edwards Tim Ester Celeste Flanagin Marilyn Fritts Lane Housley Pam McDowell-Brooks David Morgan Dr. Greg Murry

Lori Windle Quinn Jim Rankin Cotton Rohrscheib Judge Preston Scroggin Scott Thone Bill Tobias Mayor Tab Townsell Jennifer Tucker Shelia Whitmore Andrea Woods

CONWAY ADVERTISING & PROMOTION Commission Mike Kraft Chairman Angela Bagby Jeremy Gardner

Andy Hawkins Ray Kordsmeier

Reggie Rose Sheila Whitmore

ODROW

JULIA LEE

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LANA’S MOORE H MMINS ELEMENTARY MENTARY SCHOOL SCH Conway Downtown Partnership Board George Covington President Bill Bethea Vice President Lori Windle Quinn Treasurer Jack Bell Ex-Officio Bunny Adcock

Mike Coats Frank Cox Rick Fahr Kelly Lyon Greg Nabholz

Shawn Rea Dot Welch Kent Welch

Conway Development Corporation BOARD Bill Adkisson Chairman Jerry Adams Vice Chairman Johnny Adams Richie Arnold

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Tom Courtway Jack Engelkes Mark Ferguson Bill Hannah

Louis Stell Tab Townsell Ex-Officio Ronnie Williams Ex-Officio

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866.7CONWAY

501.327.7788 900 OAK STREET, CONWAY, AR 72032

CONWAYARKANSAS.ORG GETSMART@CONWAYARKANSAS.ORG

Conway Area Chamber of Commerce 2011 Annual Report  

The Conway Area Chamber of Commerce's 2011 annual report features some of the hidden treasures of Conway, Arkansas.

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