VILONIA — After a meeting held Monday night, the Vilonia Area Chamber of Commerce plans to move forward in 2011 with planning workshops, fundraising efforts and cashing in on new business opportunities.  

Debbie Townsend, chamber president, told the board members to expect a planning workshop and budget planning session to be held in 2011 where goals will be set and plans will be laid.

"I feel like we went through 2010 without much direction and formal planning," Townsend told members at the November meeting. "We need to look at what we want to do. We will need the entire board there. We also want to make sure our committees understand their duties. We have some new opportunities with some new businesses coming in and we need to go forward in 2011."

Although a date was not set, Townsend said it would be held in January. 

The board discussed activities and acted on several issues under new business including:  

• The nominations for officers were presented for 2011. Names listed are Debbie Townsend, president; Charlie Weaver, vice president; Camille Ball, treasurer and Jeannie Mayhan, secretary. New board nominations are Freddie Fowlkes and Joe Maxwell. 

Board members renewing include Camille Ball, Jackie Fowlkes, Johnny Reed, Dave Bowling, Gay Leifer, Michelle Mallett and Sheila Pruett. 

A general meeting is set for Dec. 13, where the proposed slate of officers will be presented and the general membership will be allowed to cast ballots.. 

• Briefly discussed the chamber’s contract with the city for services. Townsend said she had been told the city’s proposed 2011 budget includes a payment to the chamber for contract labor.  

• Discussed the chamber’s annual banquet set for Feb. 19 at the high school cafeteria. It was said that award nominations may be e-mailed to the chamber. Jill Bonnema, chamber executive officer, confirmed Walt Coleman, a NFL referee for about 21 years, is to be the guest speaker for the event. The theme, she said, is to be football and sponsors are needed. The menu is to be pork tenderloin and roast beef.  About 200 tickets will be available for selling, Bonnema said. 

• Discussed  a new service that will be provided soon to businesses by the chamber allowing them to "blast" via email announcements and advertisements to the membership. 

• Although a slow turnout, Bonnema said the fall business expo was "good,"  with a profit of about $125. Board members talked about new events that may be incorporated into 2011 schedule including a teacher appreciation banquet, A Taste of Vilonia and a fall festival. 

• The Vilonia Royalty Pageant was discussed, however, a date was not confirmed. It was said the pageant may be held early in April at the Vilonia Primary School. Due to the large turnout anticipated, the event may be split into a two-day event. 

• The chamber has kicked off the 2011 membership drive. The cost to join the chamber is only $60 per year for businesses and $25 per year for individuals. Applications are available online at or stop by the chamber office at Gordon Financial Services from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. any Wednesday.