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VB chamber banquet set Thursday

A sell-out crowd is expected for Thursday’s 58th annual Van Buren Chamber of Commerce business fair and banquet at Van Buren High School.

The business fair will get underway at 5 p.m. at the Fine Arts Center, followed by the banquet at 7 p.m. in the Commons Area.

This year’s event offers more opportunities than ever to connect with business and community leaders, according to Jackie Krutsch, chamber executive director.

Citizens Bank & Trust Co., JMR/PFP Insurance and Nabholz Construction Services are platinum sponsors for the banquet. Arkansas Tech University - Ozark Campus, Bekaert Corp., PAC Printers, Press Argus-Courier and Strategic Realty are gold sponsors.

Silver sponsors are Arvest Bank, Arkansas Federal Credit Union, BancorpSouth, Bank of the Ozarks, City of Van Buren, Experian Consumer Director, First Community Bank, Garner Abattoir, Heritage United Methodist Church, Liberty Bank of Arkansas, Morton Family Dentistry, OG&E, Progressive Business Systems LLC, Rhodes Chevrolet, Simmons First National Bank, SPMI, Summit Medical Center, Turf-Pro USA, University of Arkansas - Fort Smith, United Federal Credit Union, US Bank, Van Buren Advertising and Promotion Commission and Williams Florist and Gifts.

Krutsch said Business Fair 2013 gives area businesses and organizations the opportunity to network and display their products and services in front of hundreds of potential clients and customers.

“This is the fourth year for our business fair and it has continued to grow,” Krutsch said. “Companies, small businesses and even our non-profit members find that this type of business networking and exposure helps them grow customers and clients.”

Casey Millspaugh of UPS and David Young of JMR/PFP Insurance are co-chairing the business fair this year.

Business fair participants include Arkansas Federal Credit Union, Arkansas Tech University - Ozark Campus, BancorpSouth, Boys and Girls Club of Van Buren, Cardio Studio, CASA of Crawford County, Center for Art and Education, Citizens Bank & Trust Co., Crawford County Highway Department, CV’s Family Foods, Experian Consumer Direct, First Community Bank, Fountain of Youth Adult Day Care, Garner Abattoir, Hampton Inn of Van Buren, Heritage United Methodist Church, JMR/PFP Insurance, Keep Van Buren Beautiful, Leadership Crawford County, Liberty Bank of Arkansas.

Also, Mr. John’s Lifestyle Salon and Spa, Nabholz Construction Services, Newroads Telecom, Omrinet, PAC Printers, Press Argus-Courier, Progressive Business Systems LCC, Rhodes Chevrolet, Rodan and Fields, Sam’s Club, SPMI, Stepping Stone School, Summit Medical Center, Turf-Pro USA, University of Arkansas - Fort Smith, United Federal Credit Union, UPS, Van Buren School District Fine Arts Center, Van Buren Rotary Club and Western Arkansas Counseling and Guidance Center.

The annual banquet featuring a prime rib dinner will follow the business fair. This event recognizes and celebrates the many members of the business community who drive economic development in the area.

Highlighting the evening will be the presentation of the Iverson Riggs Citizen of the Year Award. This distinctive honor recognizes an individual or individuals who have made exemplary contributions of time, talent or resources to the community. Recognition of chamber accomplishments and individual honors will round out the chamber’s annual banquet.

Previous award recipients have been Press Argus-Courier Editor Kenneth Fry (2012); community supporter Mary Blount (2011); educator Lonnie Myers (2010); community supporter/nurse, emergency medical professional Susan McCartt (2009); community supporter/educator Donna Parker (2008); philanthropists Richard and Helen Hodo (2007); library supporters Ed and Shirley Yeager (2006); community supporter Alan Swaim (2005); community supporter Fred Williams (2004); Van Buren Mayor John Riggs (2003); community volunteer Debbie Thomas (2002); community leader Cathy Gifford (2001); former State Sen. Morril Harriman (2000); Realtor/developer Jimmy Bell (1999); businessman and school board member Dorvan Wiley (1998); former Van Buren Mayor Allen Ray Toothaker (1997); former retailer Susan King Skillen (1996); developer Dibrell Johnson (1995); retired optometrist Dr. Louis Peer (1994); Earl Robinson, founder of Robinson Real Estate (1993); Van Buren Advertising and Promotion Commission chairman Rusty Myers (1992); former Van Buren Mayor Gene Bell (1991); banker and businessman Raymond Allen (1990); longtime Van Buren Boys/Girls Club volunteer Jimmy Lansdell (1989); and retired Van Buren High School football coach Clair Bates (1988).

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