Small business center director visits Berryville

Friday, November 16, 2018
Mary Beth Brooks (center), director of the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center in Fayetteville, observes students getting hands-on training on how to service and repair industrial motors at Carroll County’s Connect Four career center during a recent tour of Berryville.
Photo courtesy of the Greater Berryville Area Chamber of Commerce

Greater Berryville Area Chamber of Commerce

Mary Beth Brooks, director of the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center in Fayetteville, recently toured Berryville to see local economic development projects. Brooks met with Berryville Mayor Tim McKinney as well as local business leaders to discuss the ways her office can assist the city by delivering training resources to help local businesses prosper.

After her visit to Carroll County’s Connect Four career center, Brooks pledged to provide workshop training materials and resources from her office free of charge to the Greater Berryville Area Chamber of Commerce so it can continue offering informative, relevant training workshops that are held in Berryville to support new business start-ups and expansion by existing businesses.

“I am impressed that another official from UA would take time out from her busy schedule to come to Berryville to see for herself the innovative ways we are building our workforce from the ground up,” McKinney said. “Mary Beth showed a genuine interest in the Carroll County students participating in our C4 Program. I think she was impressed by the business climate we are building here. We appreciate Cornerstone Bank president Jason Tennant in arranging Mary Beth Brooks’ visit to our community.”

Brooks summed up her visit by saying: “I had a fantastic visit to Berryville. It is great to see a town where the mayor, the chamber and the economic development director are all singing off the same page and are laser-focused on the growth of Berryville.”

Brooks described the focus on economic development between the Berryville Chamber and the city’s economic development office as having the same mission as the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Center, which is located on the campus of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.

“Our center provides consulting, workshops and research to assist small business to launch, grow, transition and innovate,” she explained. “We are an outreach of the University of Arkansas and we are partially funded by the Small Business Administration so we are able to provide our services for free.  Supporting business — it’s what we do.”  

Chris Claybaker, director of the city’s economic development department, described the visit by Brooks as signaling that a new era of economic progress is now dawning in Berryville.

“First, the visit here from Stacy Leeds, the vice chancellor of Economic Development of the University of Arkansas, and now a visit from the director of the UA Small Business Development and Technology Center, demonstrates the UA’s commitment to extending the benefits of the university beyond the campus walls in Fayetteville,” he said. “Allowing us to partner with the SBD&TC and the Berryville Chamber’s Business Development Workshop series will help further our economic development goal to ‘Grow our Own.’

“I’m really excited about UA’s outreach into our community. Combine that with NorthArk’s recent opening of a full-fledged satellite campus in Berryville and it spells good economic development news for Carroll County,” Claybaker added.

Tennant was joined by James Myatt of the Berryville branch of Cornerstone Bank in facilitating this meeting in Berryville.

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