136 Second Street, Suite 500
Henderson, KY 42420

Chamber News

March, 2019

Donna Crooks is stepping down after nearly seven years of overseeing the economic development functions of Kyndle.

Crooks, who is a native of Henderson county, plans to pursue a new career in commercial and industrial real estate development. During her tenure at Kyndle, Crooks was involved with the merger of the regional economic development organization and the Henderson Chamber of Commerce. During this time, Crooks has facilitated the development of two shovel-ready sites and Kentucky’s first build-ready site at the 4 Star Industrial Park, two new websites for Kyndle, and a new website for the 4 Star Industrial Park. Crooks recently secured a state grant of over $50,000 to assist with the opening of Henderson’s first-ever entrepreneurial center, HEATLab.

"For the past seven years, Donna has been the face of Economic Development for Kyndle”, said Tony Iriti, CEO of Kyndle. “We are selfishly saddened by her moving on but extremely happy for her as well. She has been a professional in every sense of the word but most importantly, a major part of our Kyndle family. Donna is very well respected by our colleagues at the Kentucky Economic Development Cabinet. She will be very hard to replace."
Before joining Kyndle, Crooks worked as a Director of Economic Development for Growth Alliance for Greater Evansville. Crooks started her Economic Development career in 1997 when she was hired by the Henderson Economic Development Council. Afterwards, Crooks worked as Business Development Director for EDAWN, regional economic development agency for Greater Reno for five years.
Crooks graduated from the Henderson Community College with an Associate Degree and received her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Nevada-Reno. Crooks also is a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) and is a member of International Economic Development Council.
“It has been a privilege to serve the Kyndle region over the past several years and work with so many outstanding local community leaders, utility providers, business and industry leaders, and others who care about the development of this region”, said Donna Crooks. “This was a difficult decision to make but I believe it is time for me to begin a different direction in my life.”

“We will be evaluating our service delivery before beginning a replacement search. In the interim, feel free to direct all inquiries to me, said Tony Iriti, CEO.”

Arvin “Bill” Rhodes has accepted and officially began his tenure as the new Executive Director at The Gathering Place on Monday, February 25th. Bill brings a background as a retired firefighter, advanced emergency medical technician, active community and Arvin Bill Rhodeschurch member to our local senior center. When asked what he is most excited about as the new director, Bill responded, “I am honored to be able to give back to Henderson and look forward to helping our senior population.”

The mission of The Gathering Place is, “To discover and identify needs of older persons; to promote the development of services to meet the special needs of senior citizens; to coordinate and evaluate services and programs of all agencies delivering services to older persons in Henderson County; to serve as a means through which group opinion can be voiced and community effort channeled to meet the needs of older people; to inform the community of existing programs and services to meet the needs of senior citizens.”

If you are local senior want more information on The Gathering Place, please contact Bill Rhodes at (270) 827-2948.

Kyndle announced Columbia Sportswear Co., a manufacturer of apparel and footwear products, will expand its distribution operation in Henderson County with a $700,000 investment that will create 25 full-time jobs.
"Columbia is a widely recognized brand within its industry, and we are excited for the company's decision to expand its presence in the commonwealth," Gov. Bevin said. "This is just the latest investment that exemplifies Kentucky's status as a national leader in distribution and logistics. We are grateful for Columbia's commitment to the commonwealth over the past 15 years, and we are excited to see their business continuing to grow."
Columbia plans to invest in its existing operation at 2001 Northern Star Way near Robards with the purchase of new racking and electronic processing equipment to accommodate growing customer demand. The expansion will increase the location's capacity to distribute Columbia, Sorel, prAna and Mountain Hardwear branded products. Located in the community since 2004, the company currently employs 89 people in Henderson County. The facility is one of two distribution locations operated by the company in the US, with the other located in Oregon.
"We have been very happy with our distribution center in Kentucky," said Tim Boyle, CEO and president of Columbia Sportswear Co. "We are pleased to invest again in Kentucky, and to create more quality jobs for the region."
Columbia Sportswear Co. has assembled a portfolio of brands for active lives, making it a leader in the global active lifestyle apparel, footwear, accessories and equipment industry. Founded in 1938 in Portland, Ore., the company's brands are today sold in approximately 90 countries. In addition to the Columbia® brand, Columbia Sportswear Co. also owns the Mountain Hardwear®, SOREL® and prAna® brands.
Sen. Robby Mills, of Henderson, said the company has been a great fit for the local community.
"I am excited that Columbia has decided to expand its operation in Robards by investing in new equipment and expanding its employment numbers," Sen. Mills said. "Columbia is a world-class corporate citizen, and when they choose Western Kentucky as the location to expand their business, I think that speaks volumes about our people, our location and our quality of life."
Rep. Suzanne Miles, of Owensboro, said the state's economy as a whole has shown great progress of late.
"I'm thrilled to see Columbia's new investment in Henderson County, which is just the latest positive trend in an economy that is seeing higher levels of job creation and consumer spending," Rep. Miles said. "These new jobs will pay dividends for our communities, and I look forward to seeing more growth and expansion in the future."

Henderson County Judge-Executive Brad Schneider said the local leadership and workforce will continue to prove to be a serviceable partner to the company.
"It is a point of pride in Henderson County that one of the nation's most recognizable brands for outdoor gear in the world, Columbia Sportswear, has a distribution facility here," Judge-Executive Schneider said. 

"Columbia has become a terrific corporate citizen in our community, and we appreciate that Henderson Countians play prominent roles in managing its local operations. This expansion indicates Columbia approves of the business climate in Henderson County and the job their Kentucky team is doing. We couldn't be happier about that, and hopefully, this expansion will lead to even more investment by Columbia in Henderson County in the future. We look forward to doing anything we can to help Columbia continue to grow and prosper."
Tony Iriti, CEO of Kyndle, noted the company's reputation as a strong corporate partner.
"The Columbia distribution center has been a tremendous corporate citizen located in the 4 Star Industrial Park," Iriti said. "We are excited to work with them through this expansion project to add jobs and investment to the Kyndle region."


Organization Serves Henderson Chamber of Commerce & Economic Development for Northwest Kentucky

On Thursday, February 7, 2019, Kyndle announced the official launch of their newly designed website at the organization’s annual meeting and dinner.

The website, www.kyndle.us, built in partnership with economic development firm Insyteful, addresses Kyndle’s need for a web presence that serves both their economic development audience and their chamber membership. The site includes proprietary and interactive features, as well as complete data analysis and graphs supporting the Northwest Kentucky area as a wonderful location for business and industry and promoting the area’s existing businesses.

Tony Iriti, Kyndle CEO, addressed the need for the new site. “For some time now, we have recognized that our website is a primary tool for business recruitment and chamber interaction. Kyndle needed a contemporary site that offers the features and industry and labor force data that decision makers require when reviewing new locations. We also saw the need to better serve our local chamber members with enhanced features and a more prominent chamber branded website.”

Kyndle’s new tagline of “You Can Get There From Here” truly comes to life in this new website, stated Donna Crooks, CEcD, Vice President of Economic Development for Kyndle. She remarked, “this site is designed with our core audience of site selectors and corporate decision makers in mind. The site is full of data and interactive features - from our workforce, to targeted sectors, to our available sites - in a way that is easy to find, easy to use, and easy to save. In today’s digital world, this website allows us to effectively get our message out to the world that Northwest Kentucky is a great place for business.”

Ellen Redding, Vice President of Chamber of Commerce, reflected on the chamber side of the website. “We have heard from our membership and Henderson residents that they wished for a chamber site that is easy to find and use and one that offers more online features like membership payment, enhanced calendars, and is mobile-friendly. Our new site includes state-of-the-art chamber functions that will improve our website visitors’ experience.”

John Mathias, Kyndle Director of Communications and Marketing, emphasized, “the new website also allows us the ability and freedom to quickly edit and administer the site ourselves. This will keep the entire website content updated and fresh, ensuring that the site remains current and a useful tool for our great community and area.”

2019 Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner

The Chamber of Commerce of Henderson, KY Annual Dinner was held on February 7, 2019 at 5:30pm at Holy Name School.

The event was attended by over 300 persons and included the presentation of our annual awards.

Jay McChord was the keynote speaker for the evening. An artist, a cheerleader, a successful businessman, an entrepreneur, a community leader, a politician, a marathon runner and a father, Jay McChord is guided by his faith, driven by his passion for igniting new ideas in others and dedicated to healthier communities.

Born in Lexington, Kentucky, Jay graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1991 where he distinguished himself athletically by becoming a three-year letterman at UK as the University's Wildcat mascot, the first in the school's history to place in national competitions.

After graduation, Jay spent 13 years in the financial services industry in various capacities. He first ran his own business as an agent and registered representative for New York Life (one of America's Fortune 100 Companies) and later served as the Marketing Director/Director of Government Affairs for an international niche financial services firm.

For the past decade, Jay has become a recognized authority on generational communication, leadership and visioning in today's workplace. He speaks and consults with companies and organizations from around the globe on getting the best from all generations.

Jay brings a unique understanding, perspective and insight to the process of problem solving in today's economy and workplace.

Awards presented for the evening were:

Small Business of the Year – Shaw’s Flower

Larry Dixon is the owner of Shaw’s Flowers in Henderson and located on Second Street. Shaw’s has been serving this community sine 1928.

During those 81 years they have been a full service florist for weddings, funerals, birthday arrangements. They were active with FTD and Telefloral – allowing those from out of town to send flowers locally.

All the arrangements from Shaw’s are made from scratch, - meaning that they build it for the customer from individual flowers.

Larry and his wife are devoted members to the floral industry and the Henderson Chamber of Commerce is proud to present Shaw’s Flowers with the Small Business of the Year Award.

Small Business of the Year – Hometown Roots

Casey Todd is the owner of Hometown Roots in downtown Henderson. Hometown Roots opened about six months ago in August of 2018. Even though the restaurant has not been opened very long – the re-design of the space to make it what it is today took months of planning and implementing. With the help of family and friends, the target date for opening was achieved. The community and surrounding area has embraced this restaurant with it culinary twist on traditional favorites.

The unique design of the bar area and the event space located in the rotunda has generated a consistent flow of patrons enjoying the camaraderie of friends from near and far.

Casey brought his passion of owning his own restaurant back home after years of gaining extensive experience from around the world. His use of local resources only enhances the wonderful flavors of his traditional with a twist dishes like the deviled eggs, shrimp and grits and warm buttery cornbread.

Casey Todd – thank you for bringing Hometown roots HOME and congratulations on receiving the Henderson Chamber Small Business of the Year.

Ambassador of the Year - Lori Tuggle

The Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors play a very important role with the chamber. These individuals take time from their busy work schedules to help, plan, attend and celebrate everything Chamber. Their time and talent given to us is all volunteer.

Lori Tuggle is small business owner in Henderson and serves as an Ambassador with the Chamber. She chairs the membership committee and was very busy this year with the new membership tier restructuring and benefits plan updates. Lori opened Shelter Insurance in April 2018 and became a Chamber member to get involved in the community and to network with other small businesses. Her passion and energy is demonstrated at all chamber functions, including ribbon cuttings for new businesses, networking events, and chamber recognition events.

Distinguished Citizen of the Year – Larry, Donnie, ad Gary Barnes

This years recipients are brothers in the community. There nomination was based upon the following projects the Barnes Brother helped with.

Father Bradley’s Women’s Shelter of Henderson - When the need for the shelter was discussed and plans were being made to make it happen – the Barnes brothers were contacted to get their input on building it. They took the lead from there and donated the land for the site, organized sub contractors, then built and finished the entire building inside and out - then handed over the key ready for operations to begin. Since its opening in 2001, the Father Bradley Shelter for Women and Children has provided safe haven and services to more than 1,900 women and children. Father Bradley Shelter for Women and Children works to provide homeless women and children with the tools and knowledge to improve their self-sufficiency and well-being.

Relay for Life Concert – The Barnes brothers got together with their sister and held a benefit concert for Relay for Life. The concert raised well over $30,000 for the American Cancer Society . Donnie’s wife, Jerry died from cancer in 2009.

Boys and Girls Club of Henderson - The mission of the Boys and Girls Club of America is To enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. BGC was created in 1860 with the vision to Provide a world-class Club Experience that assures success is within reach of every young person who enters our doors, with all members on track to graduate from high school with a plan for the future, demonstrating good character and citizenship, and living a healthy lifestyle. Realizing that this was needed in Henderson – A group gathered to raise funds to do just that – and the contacted the Barnes Brothers with their sister Kathy, to help. The concert was held at the Henderson Fine Arts Center in November 2018 and raised $20,000.

These are just a few of the many things this family has done for our community and recognition is well deserved.

Criteria for the awards are:

The Small Business of the Year is awarded in two categories. A Business with 1-10 employees and a business with 11-50 employees.

The Distinguished Citizen of the Year Criteria for 2019 recipient:

  • The individual must have worked diligently and successfully for the growth and development within our community.
  • The individual must have provided voluntary services in several different areas. The areas of consideration are:
    • Church
    • Community Development
    • Youth
    • Humanitarianism
  • The community service that the individual has provided must be in addition to his/her regular job or work.
  • The individual must have provided voluntary service over a number of years.