Put your business front and center by sponsoring a Chamber event, annual program, or digital media.
New network building events in 2022 include the Battle of the Business Bowling Tournament and the Local Lunch for restaurants. BE PRO BE PROUD and Connecting Educators in Industry are focused on building the workforce pipeline for our community. Also new this year are two annual program sponsorships, the Governmental Affairs Committee, and the Chamber Ambassadors, both focused on advocacy for a strong, business friendly climate in our community, county, and state.
Or promote your business utilizing the Chamber website, which received more than 145,000 visits in 2021. And don't forget the long running favorites; the Annual Meeting & Business Expo, the Golf Classic, Business After Hours, and the Arkansas Scholars Award Ceremony.
The Van Buren Chamber of Commerce has proudly served the community for more than 60 years. Our mission is to prepare, develop, and promote the Van Buren community for economic growth.
The Chamber membership base is comprised of nearly 400 businesses, organizations, educational institutions and individuals throughout the River Valley. We work diligently to help our members thrive and make connections throughout the area. Members have access to exclusive network building events and marketing opportunities. The Chamber also sponsors important educational programs, which are designed to help develop a highly-skilled workforce. We provide members with opportunities for engagement through various committees and our Ambassadors program. These also facilitate network building and help members learn more about local needs and ways they can give back.
Chamber membership demonstrates to the public that your business is committed to the community. Research consistently shows that consumers look favorably upon organizations active in the Chamber and that they are more likely to be patrons of Chamber-affiliated entities. We promote our members in print, online, in the media, and through initiatives such as National Small Business Week and National Small Business Season, which highlights member businesses and encourages citizens to spend their dollars here at home.
Learn more about the Chamber and how you can become a valued member of our organization by calling 479-474-2761 today!
Julie Murray, PCED | President & CEO
A graduate of Van Buren High School, Murray is an experienced business professional with an extensive background in strategic planning and community development. Before returning to Van Buren in early 2019, Murray served as Executive Director of the Heber Springs Area Chamber of Commerce. Prior to her directorship at the Heber Springs Chamber, Murray worked at the Walmart corporate office in strategy and development, as well as the global communications department.
She earned her undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of Arkansas and a Master of Science in Leadership from John Brown University. In 2018, she graduated from the Community Development Institute and passed a rigorous exam to earn the certification of Professional Community and Economic Developer (PCED).
From 2020 until 2022, Julie served on the board of the Arkansas Economic Developers/Chamber Executives. She currently serves on the boards of Western Arkansas Planning and Development, the Community Development Institute Alumni Advisory Board, and the Crawford County Adult Education Advisory Board.
Phyllis Thompson | Director of Membership
A graduate of Van Buren High School, Phyllis is a long-time resident of Van Buren. Prior to joining the Van Buren Chamber of Commerce, Phyllis worked in the retail industry in administration and management roles. She also has extensive experience in customer service and purchasing, having worked several years in the Oil Industry and the Food Processing business.
Thompson is a 2022 graduate of Leadership Crawford County and is an active member of the Robert Jack VFW Post 1322 Auxillary including previously serving as secretary of that organization. Thompson currently serves on the Keep Van Buren Beautiful board of directors. She and her husband, David, live in Van Buren, have two children and one grandchild.
Ailia Heilman | Business Manager
Heilman earned her Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith in 2022.
Prior to joining the Chamber, she worked as a manager in the retail industry as well as bookkeeping for a small business.
Pat Powell | Executive Director, Leadership Crawford County
Pat Powell was hired as the Executive Director of Leadership Crawford County in February 2021. She is a long-time resident of Van Buren and a 2009 graduate of Leadership Crawford County.
Pat most recently held the position of Vice-President of Human Resources at Golden Living in Fort Smith. In this position, she was responsible for the oversight of up to 1,200 employees. Pat has served as the President of the Women’s League of Van Buren in 2006, as a board member of the Van Buren Boy’s and Girl’s Club and as a board member of the United Way. In 2008, she was recognized with the Women's League Volunteer of the Year Award.