Chamber Connection 8/9/2023

Chamber Connection – Aug. 9

By Butch Burney

The Chamber of Commerce would like to welcome home a native son who has a distinguished and decorated military career for more than three decades.

We welcome Joel Newsom to the team here at the Chamber, where he will serve as an intern for the next three plus months. A native of Hopkins County, Joel graduated from Como-Pickton High School in 1990 and joined the US Army. After serving as an infantry officer in locations across the country and around the globe, Joel is now a colonel and will soon retire after 33 years of service to our nation.

Joel and his wife Amy are excited to return to their hometown along with four of their seven children. Amy is a family nurse practitioner who is providing primary care, holistic health, and aesthetic healthcare at Pierce MD and Elan Med Spa.

Their daughter Madilyn is a nurse in the Emergency Room at CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital in Sulphur Springs; their son Joel is a senior at Como-Pickton High School; and Abigail and Jed are in the 6th and 3rd grades respectively.

Their son Jackson and his wife Madison are located in Port Arthur, Texas, where Jackson serves as an ensign in the Coast Guard, while their daughter Hannah is a senior at the US Merchant Marine Academy at King’s Point, NY.

Joel and Amy are grateful to be back in Hopkins County and look forward to plugging into this amazing community.

We are excited to have them back home, where we know they will enrich our city and county.

Lunch and Learn

The Eclipse is coming, and so are the visitors. If you have an extra space to rent out to visitors the weekend before the total solar eclipse on Monday, April 8, 2024, you will want to sign up for our Lunch and Learn this month.

The Chamber is sponsoring a Lunch and Learn on Wednesday, Aug. 16, to explain how to get your property ready for a possible rental. AirBnB entrepreneur Callie Bradshaw will be on hand to help explain the process of putting rental property on the website. We will also discuss insurance and other peripheral information.

The Lunch and Learn will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at a venue to be determined by the number of participants. Cost is $20 for Chamber members and $25 for non members.

Call us at 903-885-6515 or email us at [email protected] to sign up by noon on Thursday, Aug. 10.

Eclipse Information

When April 8, 2024 rolls around, get ready!

Almost weekly, we are messaged, called or visited by people who will be coming to Hopkins County for the total solar eclipse on that date. They are coming from around the country and literally around the world. Our latest message was from Karen Ridgway in the United Kingdom, who said she was coming to Sulphur Springs for the eclipse. “Can’t wait!” she wrote.

If you and your business aren’t already thinking about what to do when literally tens of thousands of visitors will be here for that weekend leading up to the Monday eclipse, now is the time to start!

The Chamber is making plans for a weekend market and is looking for sponsors to help us bring a concert to town for the Sunday evening before the eclipse. But, there are plenty of options and opportunities available for all businesses.

If you have an idea or an event, please contact us at the Chamber and we will help promote it on the website

It’s not only time to start planning, it’s time to start getting things ready for our visitors.

Stewing It up

If you are a returning stew cook or a new cook who wants to get in on the biggest annual event in Hopkins County, it’s time to start registering.

Registration for stew cooks is now available online at The cost remains the same for our cooks — $100 registration fee. You can also pre-order this year’s T-shirt with Stew Cook on the back for just $20 each.

If you are a returning stew cook, check your email account for a form sent from us, and if you don’t do email, then you should have received a registration form in the mail.

The 54th Annual Hopkins County Stew Festival, presented by Alliance Bank, has been able to keep its costs down because of our generous businesses in the community, and the cost just got even cheaper for some families.

Signature Solar and the Chamber announced last week that children 12 and under will eat free at the festival on Saturday, Oct. 28, due to Signature Solar’s generous sponsorship.

Children will still need tickets, which can be obtained either online or via paper tickets. Online tickets, which are $8 each for everyone 13 years and older, are available at Paper tickets will be available in early August at the Chamber and local banks.

City National Bank will be sponsoring the Friday night festivities, Oct. 27, and we will be announcing that line-up soon.

Thanks to all of our sponsors who make the stew festival affordable for families in Hopkins County. Follow the Chamber’s Instagram and Facebook accounts for spotlights on our sponsors and updates on the stew festival.

Hopkins County Law Enforcement

The Hopkins County Law Enforcement Association will have a Golf Tournament fundraiser at the Sulphur Springs Country Club on Aug. 21. The four-person teams will tee off at 10 a.m.

For sponsor or player information, call Michael Russell at 903-438-4040 or email [email protected].

Candidate Forum

A forum for those running for Texas House District 2 is set for Saturday, Sept. 9, at the Hopkins County Regional Civic Center. Hot dogs and homemade ice cream will be available at 5 p.m., followed by the candidate forum at 6:30 p.m.

District 2 covers Hopkins, Hunt and Van Zandt counties.

If you have questions for the candidates, send them to Donnie Wisenbaker at [email protected]; Lance Lenz a [email protected]; or David Hale at [email protected].

Wedding Expo

The DIY Wedding Expo is coming back to the Civic Center from noon to 5 p.m. on Sept. 23. For more information on sponsorships or vendor spaces, contact Tracey Treadway at 214-683-7669 or [email protected].

Ribbon Cutting

Goodwill Industries, 1320 Shannon Road, hosted a grand reopening after making improvements to its facility at noon on Friday, Aug. 4. Please drop by to see their improvements and to shop.