April 16, 2008 Edition

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Chamber meeting features good news



Renee Doty (left), community development consultant with the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, visits with Hoxie Mayor Donnie Roberts and Portia Mayor Dale Freeman during the quarterly Chamber of Commerce meeting on Thursday.
Gretchen Hunt
Editor

Renee Doty, community development consultant with the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, spoke to members of the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce Thursday about the importance of targeting specific industries.

Doty said at the state level they have been looking at what industries are the best fit for Arkansas.

"We wanted to use our limited resources to be more focused," she said.

She said the commission has elected to focus on growth manufacturing; technology; clean, green and sustainable; and tourism industries.

"If we get a lead from somebody else, we'll go after it," she said. "But as far as marketing efforts, the AEDC will be focusing on these."

The concept of marketing the state to specific industries can also be applied to different areas in the state, including Lawrence County and the region surrounding it.

Wayne Gearhart, executive director of the Randolph County Chamber of Commerce, was at Thursday's meeting and received congratulations from Chamber Board Chair Junior Briner on the recent announcement of a new industry in Pocahontas that will eventually employ 200 people.

"We are all working together to make our area, our region, a better place to live," Briner said.

Doty said marketing the strengths of the state or region is always a good idea.

"We have found that it is not that people have a poor image of Arkansas, they just don't think about us," she said. "A lot of people don't even really have a concept of where Arkansas is."

Doty said the AEDC is working to get the word out to industries that are a good fit for Arkansas about what the state has to offer, including that it is a good place to live.

"Communities are the lifeblood of economic development," she said. "We have a low cost of living and high quality of life."

Briner told those gathered at Moni's Steakhouse and Grill in Walnut Ridge on Thursday that a lot of things are going on in the county's economic development and that he hoped more announcements would be coming soon.

"It's an exciting time to live in Lawrence County," he said.

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