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story.lead_photo.caption Heber Springs Area Chamber of Commerce board members, from left, Ryan Sartin, Toi Logan, Jeremy Bivins, Cody Davis and Brett Graham take part in the Boardwalk auction during the 2017 chamber banquet.

HEBER SPRINGS — The 62nd annual Heber Springs Area Chamber of Commerce banquet will take place March 29 at the Heber Springs Community Center.

The guest speaker will be Randy Zook, president and chief executive officer of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and the Associated Industries of Arkansas.

Prior to becoming president of the state chamber, Zook was deputy director of administration and finance for the Arkansas Economic Development Commission. For 34 years, he worked for Athletic Envelope Co. of Atlanta, Georgia, serving as president and CEO of the company from 1989 to 2004. He currently serves on the boards of KIPP Delta Public Schools in Helena-West Helena, Economics Arkansas, and McGehee Farm and Real Estate Co.

The chamber will present several awards during the banquet. They include the Distinguished Citizen Award, which will be presented by state Rep. Josh Miller, R-Heber Springs; the Hall of Honor Award, which will be given to Jo Price; the Outstanding Business of the Year award; and the Outstanding Nonprofit Organization of the Year award.

Heber Springs Chamber Executive Director Julie Murray said this is the third year that the awards for the outstanding business and outstanding nonprofit will be given.

“We’re excited about that,” Murray said.

Finalists for the outstanding business award are: Eagle Pest Management, Southridge Village and Nursing Rehab, and Sulphur Creek Outfitters. Finalists for the nonprofit award are the Single Parent Scholarship Fund of Cleburne County, the Rotary Club of Cleburne County and Downtown Heber Springs.

Murray said the award for distinguished citizen is a surprise and will be announced the night of the banquet.

Price, who will receive the Hall of Honor Award, is a past executive director for the Heber Springs Area Chamber of Commerce.

“That recipient is selected by all the past presidents of the board,” Murray said.

Price has been a Realtor and a substitute teacher and ran her own screen-printing business for 11 years before becoming executive director of the chamber in 2000. According to her biography supplied by the Heber Springs Chamber, during the next eight years, Price was “privileged to be a part of the network to help pass a 1-cent countywide tax for an Arkansas State University-Heber Springs campus, the formation of the Community Foundation, the Christian Health Center and the Arkansas Scholars Program, and she and Rick Davis headed the ‘Our Town’ team in passing a 1-cent sales tax to build the current Heber Springs Community Center, Aquatic Center and the Heber Springs Sports Complex.”

Price is also a past president and charter board member of the Sugarloaf Heritage Council.

The chamber will honor the board members who are leaving the board. They are Rena Kelley, who served from 2013-17; and Paula Sporn, who served from 2015-17. Past board president Brett Graham will also be honored.

Murray, who has been the executive director for 3 1/2 years, said planning has gone smoothly for this year’s banquet.

“I will tell you that the staff that preceded me had it down to a fine science,” Murray

said. “It’s a well-oiled machine. It goes quite smoothly. The community center, where we host it, does a fabulous job of setting it up and getting it ready for us.”

Tickets for the banquet are $35 each or $250 for a table of eight. Tickets can be purchased by calling the chamber at

(501) 362-2444 or visiting Tickets must be purchased by Friday.

Staff writer Mark Buffalo can be reached at (501) 399-3676 or

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