BACC Announces Annual Meeting & Gala Friday Jan. 26th’ Attendance Will Outshine Last Year’s Record


The Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce (BACC) first announced its plans for its 2018 Annual Meeting in late November. The response has been “overwhelming,” says BACC Chief Operating Officer Jamie Rayford.  The Annual Meeting & Gala, presented by First Community Bank, will be held Friday night at the Batesville Community Center. Edward Jones, Peco Foods, and White River Medical Center have joined First Community Back in support of bringing Chamber members and the community together to review the previous year’s accomplishments and learn about BACC’s program of work for the new year.

Outstanding businesses and individuals in the business community will be recognized during the Annual Meeting awards ceremony. In addition, the meeting will provide a glance at what to expect from IMPACT Independence County’s strategic planning initiative for 2018.  “We hear a number of times throughout the year from residents working alongside us toward community goals that it is very important to take time to reflect on work and celebrate “wins” each year. We have always known that the IMPACT plan would take time to implement and even longer to fully experience results, so we are grateful to our partners who make it possible for us to come together and share highlights of progress with our membership and community,” says Rayford.

Rayford added that BACC will host nearly 350 guests for this year’s Adventures in Wonderland themed event, which outshines last year’s record of 286 and 2016’s attendance of 252. The event is consequently, sold out. The Evason’s Mentalist Duo will provide the night’s featured entertainment and guests can expect a number of surprises both in experience and in reveals of  community work related to the IMPACT strategy,  providing advocacy, promotion and resources for chamber members. The Batesville Area Chamber of Commerce sets the standard for excellence in member service, community collaboration, business growth and achieving a high quality of life in the Batesville area.

Contact: Jamie Rayford, Chief Operating Officer || (870) 793-2378 |
(870) 595-4521 (M)|



Ginger Smith joined OGTC in 2014 as a volunteer, and has lived in this area since 1972 when she moved to be near her parents, the late Doss and Vivian Burgess. Her late father was Independence County Appraiser and any time family, whether kids or grand kids, came to visit for even a short time, he would take them to A.D. Hill’s grocery store, and get them a soda pop and candy bar, see the talking bird there, and end up “checking out the great White River.” All the kids and grands have played on the banks there, picnicked, and played on the old train. Ginger is adamant, since she moved to Batesville, there is just no other place to raise a family. Her love for the area and desire to help promote it in her professional capacity led her to seek volunteering, and Charlie Morris, whom she met when she was a typesetter at the Daily Guard Newspaper, put her in touch with Cathy Drew, Executor Director of OGTC. She has been on board since then and says she has loved everything she has done and is proud to represent North Central Arkansas.
The last 20 years of her employment she worked for the late County Judge David Wyatt, West Elementary School Principal Jerry Harris, and Circuit Clerk Claudia Nobles and Judge John Kemp. At the Guard Office she says she made friends for a life time, and then the West Elementary teachers, students, and their families grew close to her forever. Her last job she was hired in a newly created position to collect felony fines and restitution. She was so proud that after three years she more than tripled the annual revenues that she retired! Her part-time retirement job was with the ortho docs, Drs. Allen and Angel where she also met many people from all over the area, and made another set of new friends! She is a published writer and has also written feature articles for the Batesville Guard TV Guide and the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.
She has a daughter, Misty Long Sparks, son-in-law Dloyd Sparks, and three grands, Dalton Lee, Victoria Lynn and Anna Rose, who own her heart, and three more heartbeat grands, Nico and Corbin of Washington, and a late granddaughter, Ginger Savannah. Her late husband, Ken Smith, was the Batesville Postmaster.
Totally retired now, Ginger offers her time and writing abilities to OGTC as she travels around the state and visits with so many nice folks, writes reviews, and tries to be a worthy representative for Ozark Gateway Tourism. She is a people person who really cares for all God has blessed us with in our beautiful state of Arkansas in the United States of America.