DuBocage ABWA members get report on PB tourism at recent meeting

Sheri Storie, the director of marketing & events for the Pine Bluff Convention Center & Visitors Bureau, was the guest speaker for the DuBocage Chapter of the American Business Women’s Association at its meeting held recently at the Pine Bluff Country Club.

Storie is a native of Denver and moved to Pine Bluff in 1996, joining the Convention Center & Visitors Bureau in 2003. She has been married for 28 years, has two daughters and three grandchildren.

Storie is responsible for local, regional and national marketing efforts, as well as promoting Pine Bluff as a host city for events, meetings and conventions. They are here to attract visitors to spend money in Pine Bluff; tourism is a major factor in Pine Bluff’s economy. In 2012, Jefferson county hosted more than 485,00 visitors with over $105 million in total travel expenditures and 1,370 travel-generated jobs and over $20 million in travel-generated payroll. These figures come from the Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism using sources as tax reports, visitor surveys at welcome centers, and census information.

Pine Bluff is fortunate to be home of the Delta Rivers Nature Center, Regional Park with Harbor Oaks Golf course that is part of the Natural State Golf Trail, the Arts & Science Center, UAPB Museum & Cultural Center, the Pine Bluff/Jefferson County Historical Museum, as well as the wonderful Arkansas Railroad Museum and the Arkansas Entertainers Hall of Fame museum. The Old Town Theatre Center has been hosting the dinner theater for about a year now. Currently, the shows take place at the Pine Bluff Country Club every month.

The Old Town Theatre Center is in the process of renovating the Community Theater at Second Avenue and Pine Street and will hold their shows there. The first show is scheduled to take place in the New Community Theatre January 2014, with 50 shows planned for the first year. They hope to eventually host 100 shows per year in the 300-seat theatre. There are plans to open a restaurant next door to the theatre within the first year of reopening the Community Theatre. The Pine Bluff Film Festival will return in 2014.

During the business meeting, publicity chairman, Judy Kittler, apologized to the members for mistakes made in the article she sent to the newspaper from the last meeting. She had reported that Chapel Jones was ranked number one in her class and had the highest ACT score. The information was gleaned from reports at semester instead of the year-end and should have read Chapel was salutatorian and had one of the highest ACT scores in class.

The proposed budget was approved. The Chapter Standing Rules were passed out with changes in bold print to be discussed at the next meeting. It was announced that the September meeting will be the chapter’s birthday with each member bringing a gift worth $10 to exchange at the party.

Ways and Means chairman, Mary Baxter, reported on pecan sales for the past year. Due to the growers price going up, a bag of shelled halves of pecans will cost $10 this year. Allison Yaney read two cards from former members making donations in the name of deceased member Elaine Roan and former member Dorothy Crabtree. It was decided that donations from chapter members in Roan’s name go into the chapter’s own scholarship fund.

It was suggested that DuBocage send two members to the National ABWA Conference to be held at Little Rock on Oct. 3-5. The chapter would send the members for the Saturday meeting only.

Marnelle Clement won the dollar pot. Hellen Kennedy, Joyce Ann Green and Ella Dodson won the door prizes and Donna Renfro, Suzanne Archer, Green, and Ruth Morris won the birthday gifts.