Cheryl Ann Shook, the new board chairman of the Heber Springs Chamber of Commerce, is spearheading the first ever Freedom Fest on the Lake, scheduled for July 2 and 3.
The weekend event will consist of many activities, including a celebrity concert, an MEC Trap Shoot, a 5K and a Makers Market on July 3.
Shook, who was named the new chairman of the chamber earlier this year, said the second day of the event will also include the famous Cardboard Boat Races and Fireworks Extravaganza.
“This is the first event of its kind,” Shook said. “Heber Springs has always had a Fireworks Extravaganza, but [it was] a separate event from the cardboard boat races.
“This year, we are combining both events, as well as adding others, such as the concert.”
She said being named the chairman shows her commitment to the chamber and its members.
“It is an absolute honor to serves as board chairman for 2021,” Shook said. “As vice chairman in 2020, I worked closely with the chairman and the president of the chamber in planning events and moving toward my year as chairman.”
Shook comes from a broad chamber background, serving as first vice president of the Stuttgart Chamber of Commerce, a position from which she resigned when she moved to Heber Springs in 2014.
“My commitment to that chamber, being a business owner, was a huge success,” she said. “Volunteering and working the Wings Over the Prairie Festival, the Teacher Appreciation Luncheon and other events throughout the year showed my commitment to the community.
“I know when I moved to this area, I wanted to exemplify the same commitment to the Heber Springs Chamber.”
She said she has been involved with the Heber Springs Chamber since 2014 as a board member, as well as a volunteer. She has worked under the direction of Chamber President Ginger Harper.
“Everyone is really excited that Cheryl is serving as our board chairman this year,” Harper said. “Even before serving on the chamber board, Cheryl was a dedicated supporter of the chamber and never hesitated to volunteer.
“She has many creative ideas on how to serve our members and grow our annual events.”
Harper said the chamber wants to help its members and community prosper in 2021.
“Our mission is to promote and grow business while enhancing the community,” Harper said. “I believe Cheryl’s previous chamber experience and love for this community will help us fulfill that mission.”
Shook said Harper brings a lot to the chamber, and Shook said she “couldn’t work with a more devoted leader.”
“We share common ideas and have the same goals to strengthen our chamber, grow our chamber and accomplish successful events,” she said. “We have a solid group that is community-minded and ready to take on any task.
“It is all about giving back, and this is one way outside my business that I can do just that.”
Shook is the principal broker and owner of RE/MAX Advantage in Heber Springs. She sold her real estate company in Stuttgart and purchased RE/MAX Advantage in Heber Springs in 2015.
“Selling real estate has always been in the back of my mind, so in 2004, I decided to make it happen,” Shook said. “I started my real estate career in 2004 and worked for Thompson Trice Realty in Stuttgart.
“I eventually purchased that company as principal broker. After purchasing two other companies along the way, I ended up purchasing RE/MAX Advantage here in Heber Springs, and it was the best decision.”
She said that not only does she get to experience the beautiful homes all across Arkansas, but “I get to work with the nicest people along the way, some of whom have become my very best friends.”
“I came from a family with a strong work ethic, and I have learned that to be successful, you have to commit 100 percent to make it happen,” Shook said. “I hope my commitment will pass down through my children, as well, in their careers.”
Shook and her husband, Mike, moved to Heber Springs from Stuttgart, and after spending many years living on Greers Ferry Lake, she and her husband decided to make it their forever home. She graduated from Bryant High School in 1984 and started a family shortly thereafter.
She also attended nursing school at Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas but chose to stay home with her children. She said that after her children were further along in school, she had the opportunity to pursue her real estate career. She said it is truly her passion.
“Heber Springs is a unique area that sits [amid] the beautiful Greers Ferry Lake and the Little Red River,” Shook said. “Some classify this area as a resort town, but I feel it is truly much more than that.
“This community is one of the friendliest areas I have ever experienced. When we moved to the area, everyone was so helpful and welcomed us with open arms.”
She said Heber Springs is also a very giving community, and that, in itself, “proved to us that our decision to move to Heber Springs was the best decision.”
Her husband, Mike, is an agricultural engineer. He works from the couple’s home office and continues to provide service all across Arkansas and other states. She said they have four grown children: Sarah Barton, who is the founder and owner of LABEL Boutique in Bentonville; Emily Richard, a school counselor for the Heber Springs School District; Steven Shook, the University of Central Arkansas director for the Center for Leadership Development; and Clay Shook, an agriculture engineer and flour-mill production manager with Producers Rice Mill in Stuttgart.
“I soak up every opportunity to spend time with our children and grandchildren,” Shook said. “There is truly never a dull moment.”
As board chairman, Shook said, her ultimate goal is not only to help grow the area’s businesses and community but to “bring our businesses together so we can ultimately work together to benefit everyone.”
“The chamber supports its businesses, and it helps businesses prosper and have the desire to work together for one common cause, and that is to be successful and profitable,” Shook said. “It is vital to our community. Our mission is to promote and grow business, and that is exactly what we intend to do.”
She said that as chairman of the board, she has several events on the books for this year, including the annual chamber banquet, scheduled for May 6, and a Teacher Appreciation luncheon event.
“My goal is to bring our businesses together,” she said. “If COVID-19 will allow, we plan to have our events in person, with options to social-distance.”
Staff writer Sam Pierce can be reached at (501) 244-4314 or firstname.lastname@example.org.