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Welcome to our Chamber Connection Newsletter!
In an effort to connect our Chamber Members to valuable news, information, and resources each month we will feature a spotlight topic to better connect our community.
This month's topic focuses on our Small Business Spotlight including resources, activities, member-submitted items, and more. Next month's topic will feature a focus on Healthcare.
January| 2022 | Small Business Spotlight
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This Month's Newsletter is Sponsored by Ritter Communications
More From our Newsletter Sponsor
Ritter Communications, a leading regional broadband provider headquartered in Jonesboro, recently invested $12 million to bring 100% fiber internet services and advanced cloud solutions to businesses in the Arkansas River Valley Region. Areas of Alma and Ozark were the first to be fiber connected starting in August, and construction is underway in Van Buren and Fort Smith with initial customers to receive services starting in April.

Ritter Communications delivers a full suite of telecommunications services, which offers business customers access to high-quality and reliable broadband solutions, delivering speeds up to 10 gigabits per second of 100% fiber connectivity. New business customers will also have access to the new Ritter Communications Data Technology Center, equipped with a local customer support team to assist with all services, eliminating the need for third-party technical support.

"Access to quality broadband internet is a must-have for all Arkansas businesses. Our highly-advanced internet services utilize the latest technology to provide rural communities with the most reliable and affordable broadband connectivity,” said Ritter Communications CEO Alan Morse. “As we continue our efforts to close the digital gap in Arkansas, Ritter Communications looks forward to bringing our 100% fiber, state-of-the-art broadband internet services to the River Valley business community.”

As a local Arkansas company with a new regional office presence in Rogers, Ritter Communications is bringing its Right by You pledge to the River Valley. “That pledge purposefully has a double meaning,” said Morse. “First, we are committed to operating as a local company right in your neighborhood and supporting your communities, and second, that we always strive to do the right thing for our customers as we deliver the most advanced, reliable services alongside an unmatched customer experience”

Ritter Communications serves over 100 communities in the region across four states with a full suite of innovative communications services. In the last 24 months, Ritter Communications has invested $60 million to bring high speed 100% fiber internet service to 18 previously underserved communities in Arkansas.

To learn more about Ritter Communications, the services they offer, or to sign up now, visit
Small Business Resources

Bill Sabo

Regional Office Director

They Can Help you:

  • Start a Business

  • Grow Your Business

  • Develop a TECH-Based Business
The UAFS Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center (ASBTDC) is an economic development program that assists entrepreneurs both new and seasoned. We help with every aspect of business creation, management, and operation.

The ASBTDC Office works with all types of for-profit businesses, from home-based to high-tech. You can receive one-to-one confidential consulting and cutting-edge market research at no charge or expand your expertise by participating in our affordable educational events. Our individual consulting services are confidential and tailored to your needs. Whether you are a first-time entrepreneur or looking for a competitive edge for your established business, ASBTDC is here to help you succeed.

Contact us at our UAFS offices, located in Fort Smith's Bakery District at 70 S. 7th St., or visit our organizational website to schedule an appointment or learn more.
The Center for Business and Professional Development at UAFS delivers customized training and consulting services to meet your personal or company goals. Improve efficiency, develop front-line managers, boost employee morale, or enroll in a personal development course and build your skillset — You set the goal, we create the training program, and together, we get results.
In addition to customized training programs, we also offer pre-set programming for professional development. These short courses are perfect for those who wish to improve a specific skillset or take a deeper dive into interpersonal and group communication. You'll find our latest listing of courses below. Please contact Kendall Ross if you have any questions or concerns.
Arkansas District Office
2120 Riverfront Drive Suite 250
Little Rock, AR
Phone: 501-324-7379
Fax: 501-324-7394

Little Rock | Fayetteville

District Director:
Edward Haddock
University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
2301 S. University Avenue
Little Rock, AR 72204

Phone: 501-671-2390
Fax: 501-671-2394 

Satellite Offices:
Northwest Arkansas Community College (NWACC)
One College Drive
Bentonville, AR 72712

Phone: 501-650-6180
Arkansas Procurement Technical Assistance Center is committed to the success of Arkansas businesses. 
The Arkansas PTAC has provided services to Arkansas-based businesses since 1993. In that time, more than a billion dollars in contract awards in federal and state contracts have been performed by our clients. Arkansas PTAC is committed to the success of Arkansas businesses in government contracting and economic growth in Arkansas.
Arkansas PTAC is part of the Community, Professional, and Economic Development Department of the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service. This Procurement Technical Assistance Center is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the Defense Logistics Agency. We have partnered together to bring Arkansans this program.
Get Free Expert Help from SCORE Northwest Arkansas to Start & Grow Your Small Business.

As highly successful and experienced business professionals and entrepreneurs, SCORE Northwest Arkansas mentors deliver valuable, timely, and practical advice at no cost. Below you can browse through mentor profiles to find your ideal expert or fill out the mentoring request form, and we will pair you with the right mentor to help your small business thrive.
Why Networking is Critical to Business Development
Build Your Business Through Networking
By Rieva Lesonsky

While it may not get as much buzz these days as social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, old-fashioned, face-to-face networking is still essential for building a business.
One of the most effective ways to grow your business is also one of the oldest: networking. While it may not get as much buzz these days as social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, old-fashioned, face-to-face networking is still essential for building a business.

One of my favorite business mottos is that, all else being equal, people do business with people they know and like. That's why networking is so important. I'm not suggesting you give up your social networking efforts, but simply that social networking is just one part of the overall networking picture.

If the word-networking makes you break out in a cold sweat at the idea of entering a roomful of strangers, try these tips to make networking easier, more effective and maybe even fun.
The Chamber Offers Low-Cost Opportunities for Networking
The Fort Smith Chamber offers Chamber members an opportunity to network with other Chamber members on a regular basis. This is a simple but extremely effective way to promote your business.

Breakfast Club is an event held every third Tuesday of the month at various locations and is always FREE for Chamber members to attend. You will have a chance to mingle while enjoying a light breakfast and coffee from 8:00 - 9:00 am.

Business After Hours occurs quarterly with our next event planned for Thursday, March 24th. The event takes place from 4:00 - 6:00 pm and features a laid-back and fun atmosphere to connect. The event costs $10 for Chamber members to attend.

Business-2-Business Luncheon also takes place quarterly and features a speed networking style while you enjoy lunch. This event is held in various locations with our next event scheduled for Thursday, April 14th from 12:00 - 1:00 pm.

Submitted Chamber Member Small Business Spotlights
First Security has been a champion for small business since opening their doors in 1932 in Searcy, Arkansas. Committed to staying a community bank, today First Security continues to serve and support businesses of all sizes, nonprofits and more throughout Arkansas. They have over 80 locations (and growing), including a second Fort Smith banking center now open at 7613 Rogers Avenue.
Small businesses in particular benefit from First Security’s community-first approach. The team of local bankers are dedicated to helping small business owners meet their needs, providing a single destination for all things financial – personal and business accounts, financing, business tools, smart services and more. 
First Security helps small businesses secure financing to start up, operate and expand, with solutions like business loans, SBA loans, business lines of credit and business credit cards. Community banking keeps local dollars local, too, so individuals, families and other small businesses have even more opportunities.
Of course, local can still be powerful! First Security is backed by $1.7 billion in total capital and $8.3 billion in assets. Visit or stop by their new location on Rogers Avenue or their Downtown Fort Smith office to see what Banking Better is all about.

The first day for FREE tax preparation assistance this year will be January 26th. Services are available on a first come, first serve basis each day (Monday through Saturday except for March) at the following location:

RSVP Center, 401 North 13th Street, Ft. Smith, (Corner of Grand Avenue and 13th, red rock building).

WestArk RSVP (a local organization of active adults 55 years of age or older who volunteer) is proud to partner with Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly program (TCE). VITA /TCE volunteers offer free tax return preparation for families with incomes under $57,000 or for seniors 60 years of age and older with no income limit.

IRS certified VITA/TCE volunteers are trained to help prepare free federal and state (Arkansas and Oklahoma) income tax returns Prior year returns (2018-2020) and amended returns will be available beginning March 1st.

The form (to be completed before you get your taxes prepared) is available outside RSVP in plastic bins 24-7. Stapled to the form is a flyer explaining hours, days we are open, a list of required documents and other important information. The flyer is also available on our website or the WestArk RSVP Facebook page. Call 782-2525 for additional information.
Moore Dental Care announces the completion of significant investment in the training and technology to improve their team's ability to help patients that suffer from frequent headaches and/or jaw joint problems (TMJ).
The Fort Smith Chamber recently welcomed a new member, High Quality Handyman Service, with a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony in January 2021.

Owner, James Crossno shared this information about his small business and entrepreneurship,

"Here at High Quality Handyman Services, we are a family-owned and operated local small business. I started this business with the hopes and dreams that it would grow into something that I could pass on to my kids. Since I started in April 2020 it has grown into so much more than I was expecting. I strive to provide honest and genuine work to my customers. I am accredited with the Better Business Bureau since 2021. I specialize in concrete but have acquired many other specialties. This journey in starting my own business has been a learning experience and I am learning more every day."

James told us that becoming a member of the Fort Smith Chamber was a goal since forming his business. We are happy to help him check this goal off his list!
Community School of Arts is Holding an Upcoming Stage Production:

Performances will be held at ArcBest Performing Arts Center on March 18th and 19th.

The Community School of the Arts serves the Fort Smith Community and surrounding region by providing high-quality instruction in music, theatre, dance, and visual art. Children, youth, and even adults can participate in after-school, evening, and weekend classes and lessons.
Just Imagine Magic Mirror Photo Booth joined the Fort Smith Chamber toward the end of 2021, but they have already added many great memories to businesses and celebrations with their unique photo booth experience.

They are launching a "Lovers and Friends" day contest soon where you can win a FREE virtual photo!
Welcome New Members
Bubbles Laundry
Eric Sweet, Keller Williams Platinum Realty
Freedom Farms
Housing Hotline
Linda Chambers, Keller Williams Platinum Realty
Newk's Eatery
Rightmind Advertising
Rival CRE dba The Barracks at Chaffee
Samairah Hospitality LLC
U.S. Bank
UAMS/West Central Center on Aging
Upcoming Chamber Events
Join us to hear from Landmark CPA's, Katie Lejong
Date and Time:
Friday, February 4, 2022

Doors Open at 7:00am, Program begins at 7:30am

University of Arkansas Fort Smith, Smith-Pendergraft Campus Center, Reynolds Room
800 North 49th Street
Fort Smith, AR 72904
*2022 Ticket Pricing
$20 per ticket for Members
$25 per ticket for Non-Members

*Please note, individual ticket prices have changed. If you are a member, and need your Membership Login so that you can receive the Membership Rate, please call 479-783-3111 or email
Upcoming Chamber Connection Newsletters
February 24, 2022 - Healthcare
March 31, 2022 - Shop Local