August 2020

The Value of Chambers of Commerce for Businesses

By |2020-08-18T16:21:25+00:00August 18th, 2020|Uncategorized|

This guide explores the business value and ROI of joining a chamber of commerce. Small business owners and entrepreneurs often overlook chambers of commerce because they are unfamiliar with them. However, this guide provides a useful introduction to the benefits of joining a chapter, the fees and choices available to business owners, and how to become a chamber member.

What is a Chamber of Commerce?

Chamber of commerce is a broad term referring to a business network. This network is made of individuals who invest their time and money into the organization, generally with the goal of advancing their community’s economic well-being. Often, a chamber of commerce is made up of local business owners and entrepreneurs in a designated geographical area who advocate for local business.

Customers respond 63% more favorably to businesses that are members of a local chamber of commerce.

Each chamber of commerce is run as an individual organization, known as a chapter. A chapter represents a local, regional, state, or national interest. A chapter also represents many different initiatives and viewpoints within a specific community — typically with a pro-business and pro-free-enterprise viewpoint. While many people might associate the chamber of commerce with the government, it is not a government entity. A chamber will often lobby the government (whether local, state, or national) to ensure the chapter’s legislative agenda is represented. Chapters do not, however, receive any funding from the government.

The idea of a chamber of commerce has been around for hundreds of years. Today, you can find thousands of chapters across the country. For example, one of America’s largest chapters, the United States Chamber of Commerce, was founded in 1912. There are over 4,000 chapters in the U.S. advocating for a variety of issues, including tax policies, legal reform, and economic reform. While the guiding principles for each chapter are different, many of their goals center around economic development, prosperity, and employer community.

Benefits of Joining a Chamber of Commerce

Joining a chamber of commerce provides businesses with access to resources, discounts, and relationships that enable them to save money, market their products, and streamline their processes. Both employees internal to individual chapters and members of chapters bring their own benefits to the total body. Whether your business is looking for B2B partners and sales, help with customer acquisition, or guidance on HR processes, a chamber of commerce can help.


For more information go to the following link:

The Value of Chambers of Commerce for Businesses

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June 2020

2020 Chamber Awards Banquet Winners

By |2020-06-17T18:38:49+00:00June 17th, 2020|Uncategorized|

Lauren Siebert, Areawide News reporter, was honored at the 2019 Spring River Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards & Recognition Banquet on February 4, 2020 with several top awards, including the E.Wilson Green Award and the Volunteer of the Year Award. 

When Lauren was presented with the award from  Susan Jett , who was one of the recipients last year, her attention was directed at the side of the room where her parents were standing. “Here I was at 30 years old being honored with an award you get once in a lifetime,” Lauren Siebert mused, “ and when I saw my parents, whom I was not expecting as they were supposed to be out of town, I almost lost my mind! Here I was surrounded by my parents, grandmother, friends and people I highly respect sharing this highlight of  my life with me!”

Previously, SRACC President Ethan Barnes had presented her with his Volunteer of the Year Award, whom is chosen by the president to the volunteer that has supported the chamber the most.  “It is a difficult decision because there are so many hard working board members that donated their time throughout the year, but Lauren is always the first to step up when needed without being asked, and she has brought in more new chamber members in the last two years than any other volunteer. She highly deserved this recognition.”

Ty Rowland, son of Pam and Jeremy Rowland, won the Future Leader Award which was started last year to honor a young person who has provided excellent service to the community.  State Representative Fran Cavenaugh sponsored the Future Leader Award and presented each of the nominees a coin from the House of Representatives. This is the second year this award was given.

Member of the Year Awards were presented to Ozark Classic Crafts Mall (Bronze); Mike Watson State Farm Insurance – Highland and Melbourne offices (Silver); First Community Bank (Gold); Ozarka College (Platinum); Mission of Hope (Nonprofit), and Kasey Carter (Individual).

The 2019 Photo Contest had two winners, the 2020 Annual Guide Cover Award was won by Chuck Averwater, and the People’s Choice Award was won by Leigh LaCaze.

The 2020 Banquet was held at the BPOE Highland Elks Lodge and was the highest attended banquet with over 270 tickets sold.  The Chicken Florentine dinner was catered by Artisan Grill.  Guest speaker Dr. Shane Hunt, professor in sales leadership and marketing at Arkansas State University, gave a fabulous presentation about brand building, which really starts with how others perceive you or your company.




SRACC President Barnes emceed the event that also included a summary of the chamber’s 2019 accomplishments and goals for 2020.  Executive Director Kari Hollis announced the chamber has literally doubled in size in the last couple of years and is offering members more and more benefits in advertising, promotion, shop local events, member-to-member discount program, and Blue Ribbon Welcomes.

The SRACC is thankful for thier sponsors, which included the WRMC Medical Complex as the Awards Sponsor, and the following Table Sponsors:  Art Center of North Arkansas; Centennial Bank; City of Cherokee Village; Coldwell Bankers Ozark Real Estate Co.; State Representative Fran Cavenaugh/Future Leader nominees; Highland Assembly; King-Rhodes & Associates Real Estate; Mike Watson State Farm Insurance – Highland & Melbourne offices; North Arkansas Electric Cooperative; Ozark Classic Crafts Mall; Ozark Gateway Realty, OGWLLC; Ozarka College; Triple R Pawn and Bail Bonds; Spring River Draft House; St. Bernards First Care – Highland; Tri-County Farm & Ranch Supply, and WRMC Medical Complex.

The SRACC 2020 Board of Directors was installed and include:  Ethan Barnes, President; Lauren Siebert, 1st Vice President; Kasey Carter, Secretary; Laura Clute, Treasurer; Eddie Ishmael, Past President; and directors Debra Ball, Joey Cooper, Nathan Criss, Marc Herring, Fred Holzhauer, Susan Jett, Angela Phipps, Rhonda Messer, Jody Smotherman and Clint Wiles.

The silent auction was a huge success that raised over $1,800 with items donated by Ozark Gateway Realty Ozarka College, B&B Supply, Platinum Rive, r Hardy Village Antiques, Ozark Classic Crafts Mall, Progressive Eye Center, Spring River Draft House, Biggers Bed & Breakfast, Centennial Bank, Arts Center of North Arkansas, The Master’s Bouquet & Christian Book Store; Twomey PC Repair; Leaves & Beans; Triple D Package Store; Frontier Lanes; The Tanning Bed, FNBC, and  Rox Outfitters. Also , Dr. Shane Hunt donated a signed book. And the 50/50 raffle netted $296 for the Scholarship Fund.


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2019 Photo Contest Winners and Entries

By |2020-06-17T15:19:12+00:00June 17th, 2020|Uncategorized|

The 2019 Photo Contest had two winners, the 2020 Annual Guide Cover Award was won by Chuck Averwater, and the People’s Choice Award was won by Leigh LaCaze.
1st Place by Chuck Averwater



People’s Choice Winner by Leigh LaCaze

Other Entries:

Keith Darner:

Other Entries by Leigh LaCaze:

Other Entries by Chuck Averwater:

Entries by Diann Dennis:

Entries by Lucy Kaiser

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May 2020


By |2020-06-17T15:44:41+00:00May 11th, 2020|Uncategorized|

Following a disaster, the immediate reaction of many business owners is to reopen their businesses as soon as possible. However, a post-disaster env -ronment is anything but “business as usual” for you, your employees, key suppliers, and customers. It may therefore be prudent to reflect on your options.  Here is a checklist for you to consider.

6-15-20 Reopening Guide








April 2020

CARES Act Resources

By |2020-06-17T16:27:07+00:00April 3rd, 2020|Uncategorized|

Please find  at the links below new and updated resources that the U.S. Chamber has developed to assist businesses access resources created under the CARES Act (Phase III bill).  This includes an update to the guide we released several days ago on the Paycheck Protection Program.



Additionally, the U.S. Department of Treasury issued additional guidance yesterday regarding the Paycheck Protection Program.  Links to the resources provided by Treasury can be found, or on their webpage.


  • A top-line overview of the program can be found here.
  • If you’re a lender, more information can be found here.
  • If you’re a borrower, more information can be found here.
  • The application for borrowers can be found here.


Thank you and I hope that everyone is well and safe.

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Payroll Protection Program Borrower Information

By |2020-06-17T15:31:05+00:00April 1st, 2020|Uncategorized|

Under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) created by the CARES Act, loans may be forgiven if borrowers use the proceeds to maintain their payrolls and pay other specified expenses. Congress recently changed the rules regarding loan forgiveness. The Treasury Department and Small Business Administration are responsible for updating the application form and instructions for loan forgiveness. You can find the most up-to-date information at:
PPP borrowers must apply for loan forgiveness with the lender that processed the loan. This guide is designed to help borrowers understand the process by which their loan forgiveness amount will be calculated and the overall approach of the loan forgiveness process.
The process to calculate the amount of loan forgiveness requires three steps: 1. Determine the maximum amount of possible loan forgiveness based on the borrower’s expenditures during the 24 weeks after the loan is made; 2. Determine the amount, if any, by which the maximum loan forgiveness will be reduced because of reduced employment or reduced salaries and wages; and3. Apply the 60% rule that requires that at least 60% of eligible loan forgiveness expenses go towards payroll costs.
Expenses Qualifying for Loan Forgiveness:The following expenses incurred or paid by the borrower during the 24 weeks following loan origination (see below for determining the 24-week period) are eligible for forgiveness:••Payroll Expenses, defined as:•• Compensation (not exceeding $46,154 per employee) in the form of: gross salary, gross wages, gross commissions, and gross tips, vacation, parental, family, medical, or sick leave (other than leave for which the employer was reimbursed under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act), and allowance for separation or dismissal;•• Employer contribution for employee group health care coverage;•• Employer contribution for employee retirement plans; and•• Payment of state and local taxes assessed on compensation of employees. Note: For an independent contractor or sole proprietor, payroll costs only include wages, commissions, income, or net earnings from self-employment, or similar compensation.••Non-Payroll Expenses, defined as:•• Mortgage interest payments for the business on real or personal property (debt incurred before February 15, 2020);•• Rent or lease payments for the business on real or personal property (lease in force before February 15, 2020); and•• Utility payments for the business for electricity, gas, water, transportation, telephone, or internet access (service began before February 15, 2020).Note: For an independent contractor or sole proprietor, you must have claimed or be entitled to claim a deduction for these expenses on your 2019 Form 1040 Schedule C in order to claim them as expenses eligible for PPP loan forgiveness in 2020.
1B.Identifying Your 24-Week Period:The 24-week period during which expenses must be incurred or paid:••The 24 weeks (168 days) beginning on the day the PPP loan was disbursed or••For borrowers with a biweekly (or more frequent) payroll schedule, the 24 weeks (168 days) beginning on the first day of the first pay period following the PPP loan disbursement.Tip: If you are using an online date calculator, remember to count the date of the disbursement of the loan as part of the 168 days. For example, if the loan was disbursed on April 20, the last day of the 168 days would be October 4).
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March 2020


By |2020-03-25T22:41:36+00:00March 25th, 2020|Uncategorized|

COVID-19 March 25 Daily Update
White House and U.S. Senate leaders of both parties have reportedly struck an agreement on a $2 trillion stimulus package designed to aid workers, businesses and the health care system that have been strained by the rapidly increasing coronavirus outbreak. A Senate vote is expected today, with a House vote to follow. Stay tuned for further details.
State Chamber member AT&T is doing its utmost to keep everyone connected. Offerings include internet access to limited income households, expanded eligibility to households participating in the National School Lunch Program and Head Start, waiving domestic wireless voice and data overage fees for customers nationwide, offering Webex Meetings to help businesses stay connected, and assisting schools with distance learning tools. For full details, click here.
In other positive news, State Chamber member UAFS has donated more than 70,000 personal protective equipment (PPE) units to State Chamber member UAMS. The much-needed items include gloves, masks and gowns. Read more here.
Michael Pakko, an economist with the Arkansas Economic Development Institute, has released a study titled “Impact of COVID-19 on the Arkansas Economic Outlook.” The study examines Arkansas’s predicted unemployment rate as well as other indicators including personal income and consumer spending. The full study can be accessed here.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said yesterday during his daily press conference that he wants to convene a Special Session this Thursday to deal with the impending financial impact of COVID-19 on the state. The press conference also covered the latest information on the number of COVID-19 cases in the state and other items. To read a summary, click here.
The Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center (ASBTDC) is continuing to provide webinars on relevant topics to help small businesses during this crisis. Upcoming offerings include online information sessions to help small businesses in filling out EIDL applications. Access their event page here to register for a webinar or for additional information.
The U.S. Department of Labor is providing guidance on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, including sections related to paid sick leave and expanded medical and family leave. Learn more here.
The State Chamber/AIA and the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement (ACHI) will hold another podcast from 1:45 – 2:45 p.m. this Thursday, March 26, featuring State Chamber President & CEO Randy Zook and ACHI Director Dr. Joe Thompson. Additional details will follow.
For additional information and resources, check our COVID-19 Coronavirus and Arkansas page here.


By |2020-03-24T18:44:16+00:00March 24th, 2020|Uncategorized|

All local Social Security offices are closed to the public for in-person service as of Tuesday, March 17, 2020.  This decision protects the populations we serve—older Americans and people with underlying medical conditions—and our employees during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.  However, we are still able to provide critical services.

Please visit our Social Security & Coronavirus webpage to get updates on the latest, including how to get help from the Social Security Administration by phone and online. I encourage you to share this information with your members, colleagues, affiliates, and other interested parties.


Jeffrey Buckner
Associate Commissioner
Office of Strategic and Digital Communications
(T) 410-965-1804

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