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 450 businesses, organizations, educational institutions and individuals throughout theRiver Valley. We work diligently to help our members thrive and make connections throughout the area. Members have access to exclusive networking 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 networking 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 “Go Local,” 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!
Terry Carson | President
Carson is a long-time fixture in Western Arkansas’ business community. Before assuming the role of Chamber President in March 2018, he spent more than four decades in the banking and finance industries. A native of Ozark, Carson earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. He began his career in 1974 as a Bank Examiner with the State of Arkansas. He later moved to Commercial Bank at Alma, where he was promoted to the position of President. Over the next two decades, Carson held leadership positions at banks in Clarksville and Greenwood. He also worked as an independent bank consultant. In 2004, Carson joined Benefit Bank as Vice President, Commercial Loan Relationship Manager. He then accepted the position of President at First Community Bank of Crawford County, which later became Generations Bank. He retired as Market President in January and shortly after, joined the Chamber staff.
In addition to his professional experience, Carson is an active community volunteer, lending his time and talents to numerous organizations. He is a member and Past President of the Van Buren Lions Club, as well as a member of Alma Rotary, the Crawford County Volunteers for Literacy, and an executive committee member of Alma Kickstart. He previously served on the boards for both the Alma Area Chamber of Commerce and the Van Buren Chamber of Commerce.
Janie Simmons | Office Administrator
Simmons has served at the Van Buren Chamber of Commerce since September 2001. Originally from Illinois, she spent 20 years in Colorado before relocating to Arkansas. In her role as Office Administrator, she oversees day-to-day operations, including accounting, scheduling, and membership tracking. She coordinates with committees in their various endeavors and assists in planning Chamber special events.
Her involvement with the Chamber extends to the Fort Smith Regional Alliance, where she assists the Executive Committee with member relations. Simmons is a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) volunteer and currently serves as Secretary of the Crawford County chapter. She and her husband Jim are also members of Immaculate Conception Church in Fort Smith. Simmons’ institutional knowledge and connections within the community are valuable assets to the organization and in 2018, she was presented with the Chamber’s first-ever “Above and Beyond” Award in recognition of her faithful service. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her four children and her 11 grandchildren.