Local business were honored on Monday night during the Carlisle Business Appreciation Banquet.

The idea behind the business appreciation banquet began with the Carlisle Economic Development Corporation (CEDC). The organization is designed to promote business retention and to help market Carlisle to potential investors.

"This is our way of thanking you for being a business in Carlisle," Mayor Ray Glover said.

Along with a meal, guest were presented with a program on the five-year progress of the CEDC and the impacts of the film industry in Arkansas.

President of the CEDC, Margret Zimmerman recognized the organizations strategic partners. Sherry McDonell and Regina Montgomery were recognized. Montgomery also served on the CEDC board. Other recognitions went to Renee Doty and Christopher Crane with the Arkansas Economic Development Corporation and Metro Little Rock Alliance (MLRA). CEDC board member Hal Hillman also serves on the MLRA board.

"You [businesses] are truly appreciated," Zimmerman said. "I hope you stay in Carlisle and continue to grow with us."

Beth Plafcan presented a powerpoint program of the five year progress made by the CEDC. According the Plafcan, the CEDC was formed in 2010 to strengthen existing employers and to welcome new ones. She said Carlisle is a appealing community because it is small-town living, with the convenience to Little Rock and Memphis for shopping and entertainment.

The certification of the 1925-acre site was the first step in the city’s business expansion program, Plafcan said. The site was certified through Entergy’s Select Site program, a 50-point site certification process which provides top quality shovel-ready industrial sites. It is the largest certified site on Interstate 40 and Carlisle is one of only 17 communities to achieve site certification to-date in Arkansas.

The CEDC is also a recourse for information need by business, including county educational statistics, growth and connections to workforce training programs, according to Plafcan.

Plafcan said Carlisle is a business friendly community which continues to grow. She said in the past five years, some of the city-wide accomplishments include the new high school, airport construction and upgrades, a new senior citizens center, a new fire department, construction of civic center which houses city offices and the remodel of the community center. Plafcan said Carlisle offers big town amenities with small town living.

More information about the CEDC can be found at www.Carlisleedc.com.

Arkansas State Film Commissioner Christopher Crane was the guest speaker for the evening. He said his job is to recruit and develop the film industry in the state.

"Every single community can take part in this economic development intuitive," Crane said.

Crane said the film industry takes partnership. He spoke about how the film industry can affect a community and how it has, particularly during the filming of the movie Mud. Mud starting Reese Witherspoon and Matthew McConaughey was filmed primarily in Stuttgart, according to Crane. He said over 200 people were brought into the community for about two month. He said last year because of the film, $9 million was brought into the communities where it was filmed. Crane said this made a huge economic impact on those communities. He said he also foresees increase in tourism, following the release of the movie. Crane said Arkansas was highly praised by one of the movies producers, Sarah Green. According to Crane, Green said "I have never met such warm and welcoming people". Mud will be released nationally in theaters April 26.

After showing a short trailer from the movie, Crane said every community has the opportunity to market itself to the film industry. He said some of the things a film crew will be interested in other than the specific areas associated with the movie include hotels, catering, hardware stores, restaurants, laundry mats and anything else anyone might need as they become a part of the community for months. He said by visiting the film commission website, www.arkansasproduction.com , business and property owners have the opportunity to submit their business or locations to a database. This allows potential production crews can see what is available in an area. He said you never know what they maybe looking for. The information is submitted to a database which is used nationally and world wide, according to Crane.

Crane said he is asking for everyone’s help in building a database for Arkansas. Those wanting to submit land, building , other areas or items for use should go to location/directory/submit on the film commission website.

"Please submit anything you have," Crane said.

Business wanting to submit their information should go to talent/support/register on the website.

"Let film crews know what you have.. let them know you’re here," Crane said.

Anyone with production experience can sign up to be part of the film crew at talent/crew on the website.

"It takes a community of skill sets to put together a production," Crane said. "You never know what a film is going to need."

Also during the banquet, Carlisle Chamber of Commerce awards were presented by Chamber President Judie Bariola. Fever McElyea was named Chamber member of the Year. The Carlisle High School Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) received the Chamber Volunteer of the Year award. Carlisle Banking Center received the Chamber Business of the Year award. Keith Woodall, Lions Club President, accepted the President’s award given to the Carlisle Lions Club for the work they do in the community. Chamber awards, with the exception of the President’s Award are chosen by nomination and voting by members of the Carlisle Chamber of Commerce.

FBLA members serve guests during the meal. The banquet was sponsored by the CEDC and the Carlisle Chamber of Commerce.