GRAVETTE -- Members of the Greater Gravette Chamber of Commerce met for their regular meeting Wednesday, June 15, at the Chamber office on Main Street. Chamber secretary Nicole Jowers welcomed everyone and recognized guests and new members. She announced that Chamber membership has now reached 58.
Jowers recounted a couple of success stories, including the Gravette Farmers Market and the recent Chamber disc golf tournament. Amanda Gittlein invited all to attend a meeting of the Northwest Arkansas Marketing Group at Ozarks Community Hospital Tuesday, June 21, with a guest speaker, lunch and networking opportunities.
Sundee Hendren gave an update on the first annual Chamber golf tournament scheduled Saturday, Oct. 1, at Scottsdale golf course in Bella Vista. Registration for the event will begin at 7 a.m., with shotgun play beginning at 8 a.m. The deadline to enter is Sept. 15. Entry fees are $100 per individual, $400 per team, and $500 per team with hole sponsorship. Registration forms are available at the Chamber office or from Sundee at Legacy Bank and may be returned to Greater Gravette Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 33, Gravette, AR 72736,
Jowers, owner with her husband Greg, of Lagniappe Bistro and Market at 115 Main Street S.E., was the moderator for the program, a panel discussion on "Rebirth of Main Street -- Where We Are." Speakers were Gabriel Antillon and Yao Fu, owners of Lili's Bubble Waffles, 123 Main Street S.E.; Ruby Jackson, owner of MIRA Home, 107 Main Street S.E.; and Dez and Aaron Whitten, owners of TBD, 109 Main Street S.E.
Jowers commented that area growth should mean progress for Gravette Main Street businesses. She noted that she and other business owners have had to pay attention to traffic patterns and adjust their hours accordingly. Her goal was to have 75% of Main Street business buildings full and they have now reached 61% with 28 businesses active on Main Street so she considers that progress.
Gabriel Antillon, co-owner of Lili's Bubble Waffles, said business is good. The business is named after his youngest daughter. He and his wife, Yao, have been in the area for 10 years and have operated a food truck for almost four years. When they began looking for real estate they liked the friendly feel of Gravette, he said, and were impressed with the Main Street revitalization project. He and his wife have full-time jobs and two small children and still operate the food truck so Lili's Bubble Waffles is now open only on Friday and Saturday and for third Thursday events, but they plan to expand their hours soon.
Ruby Jackson, owner of the MIRA Home store, is from Rogers and is using the Gravette storefront mainly as a display space now and doing most of her sales online. She sees area growth and the potential population increase as a great opportunity and says she hopes to be open for more business hours. She says she wants to keep the hometown feel and will be open for third Thursday events.
Dez Whitten and her husband Aaron own the building which houses the Chamber office. Aaron is a Gravette graduate and they want to stay local. They hope to use the building as an event venue, hosting such gatherings as showers, receptions and reunions. They repainted the exterior of the building just last week. Dez notes that a Main Street business can't succeed alone but needs the support of the community, family and friends.
Jowers concluded by saying the whole city of Gravette is beautiful and business owners must invest in each other. She mentioned the third Thursday events as an ideal way to showcase one's business and encouraged everyone to participate in the 2030 Vision planning process as local schools, hospitals and streets will all be affected by area growth. She concluded by inviting everyone to the next Chamber meeting Wednesday, July 20.
Marisa Crain, owner of Gravette Nutrition, encouraged all business owners to help each other by sharing phone numbers and contacts on social media.