"We will make it through this together."
Amid the current concerns around coronavirus COVID-19 transmission and per CDC recommendations to cancel or postpone mass gatherings or events of 10 or more people, the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce has postponed its Annual Meeting, which was previously scheduled for April 2, 2020. The new date will be announced at a later time.
Annual Meeting is billed as the largest business event in Conway, with approximately 1,100 business and community leaders in attendance each year. The 2020 event is underwritten by First Security Bank and presented by the University of Central Arkansas – the host of the event – together with Crafton Tull, Acxiom, and Conway Regional Health System.
An invitation-only reception for Annual Meeting award winners was also postponed. Log Cabin Democrat and Northwestern Mutual are the sponsors of the Annual Meeting awards. Read about the 2020 Annual Meeting award recipients.
In a Facebook post announcing the postponement, the Chamber wrote: “We will reschedule. And we will all come together to recognize excellence and our community’s tradition of teamwork – particularly in challenging times.”
Brad Lacy, president and CEO of the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce, emphasized the city’s community spirit:
There is so much uncertainty right now, but I am certain that Conway will do what Conway always has done – be good citizens, neighbors, and friends. It appears to be part of the DNA of this community. We saved our public schools more than once in the early 1900s before we had sustainable funding. We saved our colleges during the Great Depression when we had no functioning bank by forming the Conway Corporation (that turned out to be a good decision in many ways!).
I know many of our local businesses are nervous and have seen a reduction in foot traffic and business this week. Please don’t forget about them. They are the fabric of what makes us “us.” I will take some time to shop local today. I will be smart and do all of things that by now we know we should do. You can buy gift cards to use later, order online, follow them on Facebook or Instagram, and call in if you see something you like.
The same goes for our restaurant community. We were entering prime sports weekends, which are a financial windfall for our restaurants and hotels. Those gatherings are gone for now as you know. Now it’s up to us to patronize our favorite places. If you don’t feel comfortable eating out, order carry out, go through the drive-thru, or have a delivery service bring it to you. Our business is important to them.
I trust Governor Asa Hutchinson and his cabinet as they make decisions about our safety. We also couldn’t ask for a better mayor to have during a time like this. Mayor Bart Castleberry knows what to do during emergencies and is seasoned. If they tell us to do something, then we should.
We had our annual celebration of all things Conway business planned for April 2. That has been postponed. But that doesn’t mean we can’t recognize the incredible contributions so many individuals and businesses made last year and over the course of their careers.
Stay in touch with one another. Check on those who need special care. Support local business. We will make it through this together.