About the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce
The Voice of Business in the Conway for More Than 125 Years.
A Message from the President
On behalf of the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce staff and board of directors, I appreciate your interest in our organization. With more than 1,300 members, the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce is the leading business organization in Faulkner County and north-central Arkansas.
The Chamber and our sister organization, Conway Publications, Inc., provide numerous opportunities for you to grow your business. Whether it is one of our many networking events, targeted advertising opportunities, or specialty trade shows, the Chamber provides you with a variety of options to grow and develop your business.
We are the voice of business in our area and advocate for important issues such as natural gas production and transportation projects. Our successful partnership with the Conway Development Corporation has created an economic development program that has created nearly 2,000 new jobs over the last four years. Furthermore, the Chamber and the Conway Development Corporation have developed a five-year strategic plan to guide the city’s future growth.
Please take a moment to review our website to see how membership with the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce strengthens our community while directly benefiting your business. Should you have specific questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
President & CEO
Our Vision, Mission, & Values
The Conway Area Chamber of Commerce facilitates the development of Conway, Arkansas, into a nationally competitive, economically diverse city.
The Conway Area Chamber of Commerce leads our community toward sustainable economic growth, advocates a pro-business climate for our members, builds upon Conway’s educational foundations, and establishes and executes the community’s vision.
The Conway Area Chamber of Commerce adheres to the following core values:
The Chamber uses appropriate communication methods internally and externally at suitable times.
The Chamber embraces and encourages new ideas and creative thinking.
• Continuous Improvement
The Chamber strives to continuously improve organizational operations, programs, and services.
The Chamber conducts business with honesty and integrity.
• Customer Service
The Chamber provides impeccable customer service to all stakeholders.
The Chamber provides leadership that transcends our membership and impacts the direction of the community.
The Chamber ensures our membership, board, staff, committees, and programming represents the diversity within our business community.
The Chamber offers programs and services that are relevant to our members and the larger business community.
• Employee Development
The Chamber commits to offering educational opportunities to all staff members.
The Chamber membership and business community see measurable results from our programs, services, and activities.
• Financial Stability
The Chamber makes wise financial decisions to ensure future stability.
The Chamber cultivates a culture of teamwork to accomplish goals and objectives.
The Conway Area Chamber of Commerce is organized to achieve the following objectives:
Promote Economic Development in Conway & Faulkner County.
The most important role any chamber of commerce can play is that of an economic developer. Simply put, this means bringing money into our local economy. Whether it is a real estate agency, an automobile dealer, a homebuilder, or a merchant – all businesses are affected by the health of the local economy.
The Chamber works to recruit new businesses, retain & expand existing businesses, promote Conway, and host business-to-business networking opportunities for Chamber members, all to develop our economy. As a result, over the past decade, Conway and Faulkner County have added more than 8,000 jobs and 1,000 new businesses to the economy.
Tourism & Promotion
Conway may not be a traditional “tourist destination,” but it is a destination for business events and youth sports. Hotels and restaurants are the most direct beneficiaries of this piece of our economy. The city has a 2 percent tax on hotel rooms and a 2 percent tax on food prepared in restaurants, delicatessens, bakeries, and concession stands. This money is managed by a city-appointed Advertising and Promotion (A&P) Commission.
The Conway Area Chamber acts as the staff of the A&P Commission. This includes assisting visitors and events, advertising on behalf of the commission, and looking for opportunities to promote the city. Because many guests are unfamiliar with the term “A&P Commission,” the Chamber now markets its services as the Conway Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB). The CVB name puts the organization in line with peer cities.
Business Retention & Expansion
The bread and butter of economic development is the expansion of existing businesses. The Conway Area Chamber stays in constant contact with the local business community, offers a yearly visitation program to help gauge the relative health of our largest employers, and hosts regular executive forums for the leaders of the city’s largest private employers.
New Business Recruitment
Few things garner excitement in the Chamber world more than recruiting a major employer to a community. Through a decades-long partnership with the Conway Development Corporation, the Chamber leads the community in efforts to recruit new businesses.
Provide advocacy for our members by representing them in city, county, state, and national legislative and political affairs.
There is an old saying in the chamber business that goes:
“Chambers do what people think just happens.”
No description is more appropriate for what a strong government affairs agenda can do. Without it, large infrastructure projects would go unfunded or occur at a much slower pace, and the voices of small-business owners would be unheard.
The majority of Chamber members are small businesses that do not have the luxury of having a lobbyist represent their interests. Each year, hundreds of pieces of legislation are introduced at the state and national levels that can impact businesses. Because of the Chamber’s affiliation with the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, those members have representation in both capitals to monitor legislation.
While many Chambers take dozens of positions on legislation each year, the Conway Area Chamber’s policy is to save that energy for areas that are incredibly hostile to business or are specifically relevant to the local business community. It is also the Chamber’s role to speak up when big things need to be done. This Chamber has supported a number of successful initiatives that have built our community’s schools, roads, and infrastructure.
The Conway Area Chamber has an established record as the chief advocate for major public projects in Faulkner County. Whether it’s additional lanes and exits on Interstate 40, a new airport, or extended highways, the Chamber is the catalyst for public projects on the state, federal, and local stages. These projects are often decades in the making; no individual or elected official can sustain the effort necessary to see them through. It takes an organization with a 120-year track record of vision and service to get the job done.
Support the county’s educational institutions, which are a cornerstone of the area’s economy.
An educated population and workforce are critical to recruiting jobs and growing a local economy. Our chamber works toward that goal in three ways: educational funding through proceeds from the Toad Suck Daze festival, recognizing student achievement at Academic Signing Day, and connecting education and the business community through the Teacher Fair.
The Chamber also helped create and sustain Arkansas Preschool Plus (formerly Lifelong Learners Inc.), a local nonprofit focused on early childhood education. The partnership provides professional development and a first-class curriculum to area preschools. Today, Arkansas Preschool Plus is helping more than a dozen preschools offer the highest-level teaching practices to Conway’s youngest students.
In 2020, the Chamber sought public input through an anonymous survey to identify priorities for the city to address as it moves forward. We received more than 1,800 responses, marking a 31% increase over the 2010 efforts that led to our Conway2025 strategic plan.
From that community feedback, our Conway2035 steering committee identified 14 priorities and grouped them into two categories: People and Places.
From November 2020 to March 2021, members of the community sacrificed more than 1,000 hours of their time to serve on 14 sector committees and craft a vision statement for each sector, develop specific goals, and suggest ways for individuals, families, businesses, and organizations to get involved.
The organizational efforts culminated in a two-day “Vision Summit Conway2035” held April 20 – 21 at the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute for the purpose of reviewing the committees’ work. The summit involved 50 leaders from around the city, who met to help identify partners needed to achieve the Conway2035 goals, find collaboration opportunities between organizations, as well as identify redundancies among the plans and form an order in which the goals can be completed.
Now, we begin working to achieve the 140-plus goals set by you, the community, and paving the way toward Conway2035.
Uncover the Benefits of Becoming a Member
The Conway Area Chamber of Commerce has always strived to help business leaders and create a vibrant economy in the city of Conway, and this commitment remains steadfast today. Discover how membership at the chamber of commerce can help you as a Conway business leader.