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conwayarkansas.org

NORTH METRO

NORTH METRO BUSINESS JOURNAL

AUGUST 2019

BUSINESS JOURNAL

Invested in Conway SPAN Hospitality plans major renovations for Candlewood Suites, Comfort Inn & Suites, and Country Inn & Suites PAID ADVERTISEMENT


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AUGUST 2019

NORTH METRO BUSINESS JOURNAL

conwayarkansas.org

Business Expo, Taste of Conway set for Oct. 17 The Conway Area Chamber of Commerce’s Business Expo, presented by Cousins’ Office Furniture and Ozark Escape, is a business-to-business trade show that includes breakfast and lunch presentations, informative “how to” sessions, and Taste of Conway. The 2019 Business Expo will take place Thursday, Oct. 17, from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. at the Conway Expo Center and Fairgrounds. More than 120 booth spaces showcasing a wide variety of business services will participate in this business-to-business networking event, the goal of which is to ultimately increase sales and sales leads for exhibitors and introduce attendees to a variety of business services in the area. Admission to Business Expo is free to the public. Vendors that are members of the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce can participate in Business Expo for $425, which includes a 10x10 space with electricity, one ticket to both breakfast and lunch, and two tickets to Taste of Conway. Non-member pricing, premium booth spaces, and sponsorships are available. The Business Expo breakfast, sponsored by Conway Corporation and Today’s Office, has served as an occasion to announce and inform business leaders about substantial economic development and community initiatives. Lunch is sponsored by Rogers Group and Moix RV and also features a guest speaker. Tickets to the breakfast and lunch are $10 each. Four informative sessions will take place during the day at Business Expo. Topics and pricing will be announced at a later date.

The day ends with Taste of Conway, sponsored by Molex and Crain Hyundai of Conway & More, giving the community the chance to sample some of the best food the city has to offer. Restaurants, caterers, food and drink distributors, and other food service providers that are members of the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce are eligible to participate in Taste of Conway at no cost, putting their business in front of more than 400 community members. Tickets to Taste of Conway for the general public are $15, or attendees can purchase a bundled meal package that includes breakfast, lunch, and Taste of Conway for $25. Vendor space, tickets, and sponsorships can be purchased online at ConwayChamber.org. For more information about Business Expo and Taste of Conway, contact Mary Margaret Satterfield at mary@conwayarkansas.org or 501-932-5412.


conwayarkansas.org

NORTH METRO BUSINESS JOURNAL

AUGUST 2019

Lindsay Henderson named Forty Under 40 for the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives Alexandria, VA. (July 16, 2019) – Lindsay Henderson, chief revenue officer at the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce, has been awarded the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives inaugural 40 Under 40 award. The 40 Under 40 award is a new honor presented by the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) meant to highlight the brightest men and women under the age of 40 in the chamber industry. This award recognizes young professionals that have demonstrated significant success in their career as well as having made noteworthy contributions to their community. Each award recipient has made a remarkable impact on the chamber industry, fostering a positive impact in their community. This year’s competition drew over 118 nominations on behalf of young professionals in the chamber industry. Candidates for this honor demonstrated meaningful involvement in the advancement of their community and proven professional success within their chamber. As chief revenue officer for the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce, Henderson manages more than $1 million in sales.

She began working for the Chamber in September 2010 as director of membership services. She was promoted to vice president of member services in January 2012 before becoming chief operating officer in 2013 and then chief revenue officer in 2016. Prior to working at the Chamber, Henderson served as director of new

student programs at the University of Central Arkansas, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication and a Master of Science in Higher Education. Henderson is a graduate of the Faulkner County Leadership Institute, Leadership Arkansas, and the Institute for Organization Management. She is serving on the board of directors for Conway Corporation and Arkansas Economic Developers & Chamber Executives (AEDCE) and has previously served on the boards of the Conway Regional Health System Women’s Council, Arkansas Community Foundation of Faulkner County, and the Conway Symphony Orchestra. In 2017, Henderson was listed among the Arkansas Business 40 Under 40. A native of Bald Knob, Arkansas, Lindsay now lives in Conway with her husband, Jon Ross; one-year old son, Owen; and their two dogs, Lucy and Lily. The full 40 Under 40 class was announced publicly at the ACCE Annual Convention in Long Beach, California. Following the convention, award recipients will be featured in the summer 2019 Chamber Executive magazine issue set to release in August.

About ACCE Established in 1914, ACCE is an association of 9,000 leaders from 1,300 chambers of commerce, including 93 of the top 100 U.S. metro areas. The combined membership of ACCE chambers is close to one million businesses. Chamber leaders look to ACCE for best practices, networks and new ideas that will help them advance the interests of their communities. ACCE recommends successful programs and strategies, and identifies trends, partners and business models that show promise. For more information, visit www.ACCE.org.

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NORTH METRO BUSINESS JOURNAL

conwayarkansas.org

Conway Area Chamber of Commerce accepting nominations for the 2019 Minority Enterprise Development Awards The Conway Area Chamber of Commerce is accepting nominations for the 12th annual Minority Enterprise Development Awards. This event was established to foster growth, sustainability, and recognition of minority businesses and supporters of minority businesses in Conway and the surrounding area. Nominees who are selected to receive an award will be recognized at a reception at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 3. Presented by Northwestern Mutual, the MED Awards Reception will take place at the Brewer-Hegeman Conference Center on the campus of the University of Central Arkansas. Minority Enterprise Development serves minority business enterprises that are owned or controlled by the following person(s) or group of persons: African

American, Asian American, Hispanic American, Native American, and Pacific Islander. Nominees are especially sought from these groups. Nominees and/or their business or employer must be a member of the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce. Eligible nominees include, but are not limited to, business owners, business executives, nonprofit organizations, for-profit firms and institutions, universities and colleges, and representatives of local, state, and federal governments who are members of the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce. The following award categories are open for nominations: The Lifetime Achievement Award celebrates high standards of excellence, dedication, and accomplishment over a sustained period. The award is granted

The Conway Area Chamber of Commerce is accepting nominations through Aug. 23 for the 2019 Minority Enterprise Development Awards. Pictured here are the 2018 MED award recipients (from left): Teneicia Roundtree of Treehouse Cleaning LLC, Outstanding Minority Business of the Year; Dr. Angela Webster of the University of Central Arkansas, Advocate for Opportunity; Ken Patel of Conway Management, Lifetime Achievement Award; and Jimmy Warren of Pulaski County Youth Services, Outstanding Young Minority Professional.org.

to an individual who has played an integral role in the creative, technical, or professional progress of minority business development over the course of his or her life. Presented to the owner or executive of a business, the Minority Business Executive of the Year recognizes leaders in the community who have displayed outstanding performance in either an individual or collaborative endeavor. This person is a driving force behind the company and works to maintain an enriched business climate and an enhanced quality of life in Conway. The Outstanding Young Minority Professional is presented to a minority business owner or professional between the ages of 21 and 39 who has committed themselves to business and community service. The Outstanding Minority Business of the Year is presented to a minorityowned business that has had a significant impact on the community. The deadline to submit a nomination is Friday, August 23, 2019. A nomination form is available at ConwayChamber.org. Nominations may be submitted for individuals or organizations in any applicable category and may be submitted for more than one award category. Self-nominations are also permitted. Please direct questions regarding the MED Awards to Therese Williams, director of events, by calling 501-932-5411 or emailing Therese@ConwayArkansas.org.


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NORTH METRO BUSINESS JOURNAL

AUGUST 2019

conwayarkansas.org

From left, Cookie Desai, Danny Patel, and Sima Vallabh.

SPAN Hospitality: “Invested in Conway” Nearly $2 million in renovations planned for three Conway hotels What began as two families working at the independently owned Budget Inn in Malvern, Arkansas, has expanded into a hospitality development and management company that owns and operates five franchised hotels and multiple rental properties in central Arkansas. SPAN Hospitality Group is a holding company for commercial and residential real estate, including three Conway hotels – Candlewood Suites, Country Inn & Suites, and Comfort Inn & Suites. Cookie Desai, director of sales and marketing; Danny Patel, director of development and revenue; and Sima Vallabh, director of operations spoke with the North Metro Business Journal about SPAN’s three hotel properties in Conway and the company’s plans for growth. PAID ADVERTISEMENT


conwayarkansas.org

NORTH METRO BUSINESS JOURNAL

AUGUST 2019

Renovations planned for Country Inn & Suites, Comfort Inn & Suites, and Candlewood Suites Built in 2009, Country Inn & Suites was SPAN’s first Conway hotel. Owner and general manager Danny Patel has lived in Conway since that time and has been actively involved with the community. He is a member of the Conway Advertising and Promotion Commission and Conway Development Corporation and has been the recipient of numerous awards, including being recognized as Young Business Leader of the Year during the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce’s 2015 Annual Meeting. Patel said all public spaces and the 67 guest rooms and suites at Country Inn & Suites will undergo a half-milliondollar renovation starting at the end of 2019. Located at 750 Amity Road, the hotel also offers 1,300 square feet of meeting space that seats up to 100. SPAN Hospitality acquired Candlewood Suites and Comfort Inn & Suites in 2018. A half-million-dollar renovation is currently underway at Comfort Inn & Suites, located at 2370 Sanders Road in Conway. Renovation on the third floor is complete, and the entire hotel will be updated by the end of 2019. Candlewood Suites is an extended-stay hotel located at 2360 Sanders Road in Conway. The property offers 65 spacious suites with a fully equipped kitchen complete with a stovetop, full-size refrigerator, microwave, ample counter space, cookware and dinnerware, and a dishwasher. Guests also have access to free laundry services, an outdoor gazebo grill, and the Candlewood Cupboard®, which is stocked with breakfast items, beverages, snacks, frozen entrées, and more. They can also loan small kitchen appliances, such as blenders and slow cookers, during their stay.

“We are in it for hospitality – to provide clean guest rooms to accommodate guests who are coming in town, whether they’re coming in for just an overnight stay or for several weeks or months,” said director of operations Sima Vallabh.

“If anyone is looking to develop in Conway, we are ready to work with them. We are heavily invested in Conway and are seeking to expand.” —Danny Patel

“Candlewood’s slogan is ‘Your Space, Your Way.’ Our goal is to make our guests feel at home away from home,” she added. The construction, manufacturing, and health care industries in the Conway area benefit from the presence of an extendedstay hotel, Vallabh said. Out-of-town contractors and sub-contractors along with traveling nurses are frequent guests at the property. Candlewood Suites is the only hotel in Conway that provides a range in each suite’s kitchen. “We can offer special corporate rates for companies looking for an extended-stay property for their contract employees,” said Cookie Desai, director of sales and marketing. “The ability for guests to cook on a stovetop and wash and dry their laundry at no cost make it ideal for longerterm stays.” Beginning in early 2020, Candlewood Suites will undergo an $800,000 renovation. “The entire hotel will be

transformed,” Vallabh said. “We will update the carpeting, repaint the walls, replace the bathtubs, and more. It’ll be a total makeover.” Vallabh added that although the guest experience is central to hotel operations, accommodation extends to the hotel’s employees as well. As a manager, she makes sure to listen to team members to create a positive work environment. “We accommodate guests who are here, and we accommodate the employees who work here. I want our team members to understand that we are here for hospitality, and that’s what our guests expect when they stay with us. We want to take good care of our employees so that they, in turn, take good care of the guests. “A better guest experience only comes from a better employee experience.” Relationships are central to SPAN – from guests to employees to the company’s owners. The name SPAN represents the company’s focus on family connections. “’SPAN’ means from ‘edge to edge,’ keeping all the family together from one end to the other,” Vallabh explained. “We’re all in it together as far as ownership, and this concept extends to our employees as well.” Patel said that SPAN looks to expand its real-estate development footprint in Conway. In addition to the hotels, the holding group also manages several rental properties and is seeking opportunities to manage commercial property. “If anyone is looking to develop in Conway, we are ready to work with them,” Patel said. “From our rental properties to our hotels, we are heavily invested in Conway and are seeking to expand in the city and throughout the surrounding area.” PAID ADVERTISEMENT

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NORTH METRO BUSINESS JOURNAL

AUGUST 2019

conwayarkansas.org

Toad Suck Daze seeks new committee members for 2020 Toad Suck Daze is seeking volunteers to serve on the Toad Suck Daze Committee in 2020. As one of the largest festivals in Arkansas, Toad Suck Daze requires numerous committee members and volunteers to help it continue its mission to provide family-friendly entertainment while funding education initiatives in central Arkansas. In 2016, the festival received a Gold award – the highest honor – from the International Festivals and Events Association for its volunteer program. Committee members help plan and implement activities before and during the threeday festival, which takes place annually during the first weekend in May. The 2020 festival is scheduled for May 1-3. The full committee meets only few times during the year, and all committee members are on-site and active during the Toad Suck Daze festival. Committee members are divided into subcommittees, and each subcommittee meets as needed throughout the year. Subcommittees needing additional members in 2020 include Logistics, Vendors, Toad Dome, and Merchandise. Logistics subcommittee members are responsible for setting up and tearing down general areas of the festival. During the festival, this subcommittee assists with other logistical needs that

involve tents, signage, tables and chairs, barricades, and more. They work closely with the Vendors subcommittee. The Vendors subcommittee assists both retail and concession vendors. The Conway Area Chamber of Commerce is responsible for sending out applications, gathering incoming applications, and maintaining a database of accepted and denied vendors. Members of the Vendors subcommittee review the applications

and choose the retail and concession vendors that will participate. They are also the on-site contact for vendors, assisting with check-in, setup, and tear down, and facilitating communication with vendors throughout the weekend. The Toad Dome subcommittee is responsible for organizing and managing the Toad Races and other events that take place at the Toad Dome during Toad Suck Daze. Toad Dome committee members secure a sound provider and PA

system, coordinate with the Toad Master, schedule the races, set up the area, and work with volunteers to judge the races and to distribute and care for the toads. Toad Suck Daze has won numerous international awards for its merchandising program. The Merchandise subcommittee is responsible for the Toad Store and orders merchandise, sets up the store and T-shirt tents, recruits a paid employee and volunteers to work in the store, and completes daily bookkeeping and inventory of the store. Chamber staff members facilitate meetings with vendors, approve the overall order of items to be purchased, design and order festival T-shirts, and establish the store’s opening date. The Merchandise subcommittee meets several times throughout the year to make decisions on ordering and to setup inventory. During the festival, subcommittee members work in the store and distribute merchandise to the T-shirt tents. Merchandising subcommittee members work closely with the Finance subcommittee. If you are interested in being a part of the Toad Suck Daze Committee or would like more information, contact Mary Margaret Satterfield at Mary@ConwayArkansas.org or 501-932-5412.


North Metro Economy at a Glance Population US ..........................325,719,178 Arkansas ....................3,004,279 Conway ...........................65,782 Cleburne County...............25,048 Conway County................20,916 Faulkner County.............123,654 Perry County....................10,348 Van Buren County.............16,506 Civilian Labor Force May-2019 Seasonally Adjusted US ..........................162,646,000 Arkansas ....................1,361,890 Not Seasonally Adjusted US ...................... 162,655,000 Arkansas............. 1,367,757 Conway................ 33,930 Cleburne County ... 9,188 Conway County .... 8,191 Faulkner County .. 62,160 Perry County ......... 4,303 Van Buren County . 5,858 Unemployment Rate May-2019 Seasonally Adjusted US ..................................... 3.6% Arkansas ........................... 3.6% Not Seasonally Adjusted US ..................................... 3.4% Arkansas............................ 3.2% Conway.............................. 2.8% Cleburne County ................ 4.1% Conway County ................. 4.3% Faulkner County ................ 2.8% Perry County ...................... 4.0% Van Buren County .............. 4.4%

Bank Deposits June Conway County 2018.........................$1,827,728 2017...........................$1,686,727 Percent Change ............... 8.36% Cleburne County 2018..............................$554,248 2017..............................$524,244 Percent Change ............... 5.72% Conway County 2018..............................$358,473 2017..............................$382,665 Percent Change ...............-6.32% Faulkner County 2018...........................$2,192,595 2017...........................$2,052,122 Percent Change ................ 6.85% Perry County 2018................................$72,986 2017................................$71,596 Percent Change ................ 1.94% Van Buren County 2018..............................$276,171 2017..............................$277,646 Percent Change ...............-0.53%

Percent Change...............-5.28% Tax Rate ......................... 1.625% Conway County 2019.............................$450,523 2018.............................$454,280 Percent Change...............-0.83% Tax Rate ........................... 1.75% Faulkner County 2019.............................$827,507 2018.............................$797,363 Percent Change................ 3.78% Tax Rate ........................... 0.50% Perry County 2019.............................$118,454 2018.............................$139,016 Percent Change.............-14.79% Tax Rate ........................... 2.50% Van Buren County 2019.............................$316,569 2018.............................$364,468 Percent Change.............-13.14% Tax Rate ........................... 2.00%

Restaurant Sales* Year to Date (May) Conway 2019........................$86,272,047 2018........................$82,710,527 Sales & Use Tax Collections Percent Change................ 4.31% July *Includes mixed drink sales Conway 2019...........................$2,799,259 Hotel Sales 2018...........................$2,638,996 Year to Date (May) Percent Change................. 6.07% Conway Tax Rate .......................... 2.125% 2019..........................$7,546,522 2018..........................$7,211,012 Cleburne County 2019.............................$524,833 Percent Change................ 4.65% 2018.............................$554,064

Residential Building Permits Year to Date (July) Conway 2019......................................176 2018......................................105 Percent Change.............. 67.62%

Values of Residential Units Sold** Year to Date (July) Conway 2019........................$70,739,570 2018........................$86,269,374 Percent Change ............-18.00%

Residential Units Sold** (New and Existing) Year to Date (July) Conway 2019......................................357 2018......................................462 Percent Change ............-22.73%

Year to Date (May) Cleburne County 2019........................$23,770,450 2018........................$20,758,198 Percent Change .............14.51%

Year to Date (May) Cleburne County 2019......................................160 2018......................................160 Percent Change ............... 0.00% Conway County 2019........................................71 2018........................................49 Percent Change ............. 44.90% Faulkner County 2019......................................627 2018......................................646 Percent Change ..............-2.94% Perry County 2019........................................22 2018........................................30 Percent Change ............-26.67% Van Buren County 2019........................................95 2018........................................97 Percent Change ..............-2.06%

Conway County 2019..........................$8,401,501 2018..........................$5,465,313 Percent Change ............. 53.72% Faulkner County 2019......................$113,500,167 2018......................$112,349,090 Percent Change ............... 1.02% Perry County 2019..........................$2,547,886 2018..........................$4,289,670 Percent Change ............-40.60% Van Buren County 2019........................$10,627,555 2018..........................$9,671,482 Percent Change ............... 9.89% Average Price of Residential Units Sold** (New and Existing) Year to Date (July) Conway 2019.............................$198,150 2018.............................$186,730 Percent Change .................6.12%

Year to Date (May) Cleburne County 2019.............................$191,874 2018.............................$178,034 Percent Change ............... 7.77% Conway County 2019...............................$80,778 2018.............................$109,425 Percent Change ............-26.18% Faulkner County 2019.............................$192,903 2018.............................$178,554 Percent Change................ 8.04% Perry County 2019...............................$50,000 2018.............................$132,559 Percent Change ............-62.28% Van Buren County 2019.............................$149,606 2018...............................$83,116 Percent Change ............. 80.00%

Proud sponsor of Pulse of Conway Sources: 2012-2016 ACS 5-Year Data Profiles, Arkansas Department of Workforce Services, C2ER, Sperling’s Best Places, Arkansas Department of Finance & Administration, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Cooperative Arkansas Realtors’ Multiple Listing Services, Arkansas Realtors Association, and City of Conway. **Includes sales of residential units only.


10 AUGUST 2019

NORTH METRO BUSINESS JOURNAL

conwayarkansas.org

Conway Chamber’s Laura Davis earns IOM recognition Laura Davis, account executive at the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce, received the IOM graduate recognition in July from the Institute for Organization Management. Institute is a four-year professional development program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. As a graduate of Institute, Davis has completed 96 hours of course instruction in nonprofit management. Since its commencement in 1921, the Institute program has been educating tens of thousands of association, chamber, and other nonprofit leaders on how to build stronger organizations, better serve their members, and become strong business advocates. Institute’s curriculum consists of four weeklong sessions offered annually at five locations across the country. Through a combination of required courses and electives in areas such as leadership, advocacy, marketing, finance, and membership, Institute participants are able to enhance their own organizational management skills and add new fuel to their organizations, making them run more efficiently and effectively. “It was an honor for me to have been given the opportunity to walk through and complete the Institute for Organization Management program with some outstanding, forwardthinking industry peers from across the country,” Davis said. “I not only gained an advanced understanding of my

purpose for the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce but also a greater appreciation for the impact of the industry as a whole. “The chamber, association, and nonprofit executives in the IOM program with me have collectively shared unparalleled ideas, goals, strategies, and programs that I will carry with me throughout my career.” Davis joins six Conway Area Chamber colleagues in earning the IOM graduate recognition: Brad Lacy, president and CEO; Laura Grimes, chief financial officer; Lindsay Henderson, chief operating officer; Mary Margaret Satterfield, director of Toad Suck Daze and events; Adena White, director of communications; and Therese Williams, director of events. Lacy was appointed to the Board of Regents of Institute for Organization Management in 2012, serving as chairman in 2018. He completed his term on the board in 2019 but remains a faculty member for Institute, providing instruction and sharing resources in targeted courses. Institute for Organization Management is the professional development program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. It is the premier nonprofit professional development program for association and chamber professionals, fostering individual growth through interactive learning and networking opportunities. For more information about the program, visit Institute.USChamber.com.

Laura Davis received the IOM graduate recognition from the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for Organization Management. Conway Area Chamber of Commerce president and CEO Brad Lacy completed his final year on the Board of Regents of Institute for Organization Management but will remain a faculty member for Institute.


conwayarkansas.org

NORTH METRO BUSINESS JOURNAL

AUGUST 2019 11


Profile for Conway Area Chamber of Commerce

Invested in Conway: SPAN Hospitality plans major renovations for three hotels