Once a quarter, our staff selects a member of the Fort Smith community to be named a Hometown Hospitality Hero.
Fort Smith and our region benefit tremendously from conventions and events brought to our area. Attracting and retaining these happenings relies on the efforts of everyone in the hospitality industry. The citizens that our staff feels have brought the most positive exposure and economic impact to our city we name Hometown Hospitality Heroes. We appreciate these people and all of those who help us bring more visitors to Fort Smith more than we can say!
Brook Shock – left
Our newest hometown hospitality heroes are Brooke Shock and Courtney Shreve, co-owners/organizers of Konsplosion!: A Multi-Genre Convention. These young women are responsible for bringing Konsplosion to Fort Smith. This event features exhibitors and activities in Anime, Pop culture, Gaming, Costuming and Collectibles. This year Konsplosion was held in the Fort Smith Convention Center (FSCC) from September 19-22, 2013.
When questioned as to why these ladies enjoy hosting this convention, Brooke and Courtney’s response was: “This convention gives three days to the kids where they can be in their own world with their peers; where there are no worries about bullying, what they are wearing and what they are doing. It’s an opportunity to be themselves in a safe and relaxed environment. They get to share what they love and experience new genres and new things.”
Not only do Brooke and Courtney organize and host the Konsplosion Convention, they also own a store in south Fayetteville, Realms Anime. The store began as a part-time endeavor in 2003 and over the course of the past 10 years has become a full time endeavor with a staff of five. Brooke and Courtney both also host two smaller anime shows in Northwest Arkansas, called the Arkansas Anime Festival. They brought Konsplosion to Fort Smith because they needed a larger venue. This second year this event boasted an attendance of 1200 attendees and 35 vendors.
The Konsplosion Convention has a full staff of 23 employees. Because of the magnitude and attention to detail that is necessary to organize and administer this year’s event, 50-80 people volunteered their time to make this event a success. Most of the volunteers assisted attendees with finding their particular activities of interest and the registration process.
There were many factors that drew Konsplosion to Fort Smith. What started out as a need for a nicer and larger venue turned into an appreciation of the Fort Smith Convention Center and the Center staff. Courtney says that, “Not only is it the Center a beautiful venue that puts the kids and attendees in a good mood, but FSCC staff will do anything to help. It was so refreshing to see Convention Center staff engaged with and assisting the people and young adults in attendance”. The center staff was actively engaging with our customer’s customer.
“I was completely taken aback by the intense willingness of the representatives of the Convention Center and City of Fort Smith to provide us with everything we needed to make the event a success,” says Brooke.
The economic impact of this event is huge! Based on their information that we submitted to a national economic impact computer program, using variables that include overnight attendees, Day attendees, space rental, number of meeting days and overnight stays, the total economic impact of this three day event was $447,484. This dollar amount is a cumulative total of lodging costs, transportation, food & beverage, retail, recreation, space rental and business services.
Thank you, Konsplosion for choosing Fort Smith, Arkansas!!!