The Faces of Neosho

Neosho is a tight-knit community rich in history and culture.

In the Faces of Neosho section, you will meet the people who help make Neosho a wonderful place to live and work. They are the industry leaders in healthcare, law, banking, esthetics, finance, entertainment, hospitality, economic development and more.

The Faces of Neosho series puts a face to the names of entities that put Neosho on the map. These people are the doers, the trailblazers, the givers, they’re our friends and they are our neighbors. Each one of them works hard and has a heart to serve, often behind the scenes. This is their moment to shine!

Without further ado, here are the Faces of Neosho!


The Face of Cinema Magic

Buzz Ball, General Manager, B&B Neosho Cinema 6

For almost 20 years, B&B Theatres has been dedicated to bringing the magic of the movies to the residents of Neosho. 

As the general manager for B&B Neosho Cinema 6 for the past 7 years, Buzz Ball strives to make a visit to the theater an interactive experience. 

“We do more than just show movies and pop popcorn,” he said. “We like to have special events based on a movie we are showing. We have retro nights, project pictures and special showings for schools and groups. We want to provide as many reasons as possible to bring guests to the Cinema 6!”

Ball is also the B&B Theatres Movie Magic coordinator and travels to ensure guests are having a magical experience at all the B&B locations. 

The motto of B&B Theatres is “Bringing Hollywood to your Hometown since 1924.” It’s one of the oldest theater chains in the country and one of the only still in existence that started out showing silent films.

B&B Neosho Cinema 6 shows the latest movies to hit the silver screen in a comfortable environment that’s fun for the whole family. Plan your next movie night at B&B Neosho Cinema 6! 

1601 Malcom Mosby Drive, Neosho   HYPERLINK “http://417.455.1802” 417.455.1802


The Face of Community Banking

Community Bank and Trust, Employee Owners 

A community bank is more than a place to open a checking account or get a loan – it’s a cornerstone of the community. 

Community Bank and Trust has held that role for 134 years. 

“The role that the community bank plays in developing the economic viability of the communities where they operate is very important,” said Rudy Farber, chairman of the board. “At Community Bank and Trust, we want to be responsible citizens of our communities.”

That commitment is what led Farber to establishing an Employee Stock Ownership Program (ESOP) in 1986. 

An ESOP rewards employees with an ownership position in the bank based on longevity. It is similar to a 401(k) but funded by investment in stock of the bank. In turn, employees have a greater incentive to align their interest with the success of the bank and greater incentive to stay until retirement. 

“If we hadn’t made the decision to implement the ESOP, it would no longer be Community Bank and Trust,” Farber said. “I would’ve been forced to sell it. But we decided to go a different route – a better route – for the employees and for the community.”

In the 1980s, when Farber was president of the bank, he saw that a lot of smaller community banks like CBT were struggling and would get snapped up by national banks. Farber didn’t want this to happen to CBT. His father, Arnold Farber, had been with CBT from 1941 to retirement. Rudy took his first job there in 1957 at 16-years-old. His love for the bank and for Neosho made him take an innovative approach to keep it locally-owned. 

That’s when he decided to implement the ESOP.

“The ESOP is a methodology where, if the bank continues to be successful, it will remain as a locally owned, independent corporation,” he said. “Keeping Community Bank and Trust local is not only good for the bank, it’s good for our employees, and it’s good for our community. And that is what CBT is all about.”

100 S. Wood St.  417.451.1040 


The Faces of Accounting Services 

Michael Kelly & Michael Compton, Kelly & Compton, CPAs, P.C. 

At every stage of your financial life and no matter what your personal or business goals, the CPAs at Kelly & Compton are here to serve you. 

Kelly & Compton, CPAs, P.C., is a full-service accounting firm located in the heart of Neosho. With professional services tailored to your individual needs, we will be your financial guides, ensuring you use the best resources available to effectively achieve your goals.

With a combined 61 years of experience, Michael Kelly and Michael Compton are both knowledgeable in helping you keep your taxes at a minimum, assisting in your recordkeeping and report-filing requirements, preparing and analyzing financial reports to make smart business decisions, achieving maximum success and profitability in your business, and planning for a comfortable retirement. 

Call today to schedule a consultation and learn how you can make the most of your financial situation.  

112 N. Wood St., Neosho     417.451.2932


The Face of Downtown Dining 

Sam’s Cellar Oven & Bar, John and Suzi Howsmon

A visit to Sam’s Cellar is an experience unlike any other in the area. Located in what was once the cellar of Wolfinbarger’s Luncheonette, historical features set against the modern décor create a warm and sophisticated atmosphere. 

The wood-fired pizzas, subs, wraps and salads are second-to-none. At the bar, try signature drinks or wine-tasting flights your whole party can enjoy. 

Sam’s Cellar recently expanded to the street level with Hubbub, a unique location that offers co-working spaces, meeting space, individual enclaves and a video conferencing room for local workers and business travelers. Hubbub is open 24/7/365.

Hubbub serves as overflow space for customers who are waiting for a table on busy evenings as well as providing a space where teams can meet to engage in strategy sessions with food and beverages provided by Sam’s Cellar. Also, Sam’s Cellar can now serve customers who are handicapped or unable to make it down the stairs to the Cellar. 

Sam’s Cellar: 101 N. Wood  417.451.3330   HYPERLINK “” and Hubbub: 100 E. Spring  HYPERLINK “”, both in historic downtown Neosho, Missouri.


The Face of Giving Back 

Susan Carlsten, Freeman Health System and Neosho National Fish Hatchery 

Despite losing her business in the May 2011 tornado, Susan Carlsten will tell you she’s had a lot of blessings in life. 

For 23 years, Carlsten ran Dance World near 20th and Wisconsin streets in Joplin. On that fateful day, she was out driving with her 87-year-old mother when the tornado hit. Carlsten was uninjured, but her mother suffered injuries to her head. 

“A woman we met drove us down to Freeman Neosho, and they were able to take care of my mother.”

May 22, 2011, was full of tragedy for Carlsten, but her sunny attitude shone through and she recognized things could’ve been worse. That’s when she decided to not rebuild Dance World and devote her life to giving back. 

“I started volunteering at Freeman Neosho to say thank you for saving my mom.” 

Last year she was named president of the Freeman Health System Auxiliary. 

Another blessing Carlsten holds near to her heart is the government aid that put her daughter through graduate school and funds some of her research as an associate professor at Kansas University Medical Center. That’s why Carlsten chose to work at the Neosho National Fish Hatchery – it’s her way of saying thank you.  

Carlsten is also active with Meals on Wheels, the Newton County Board of Mental Health and her church. Last year, she and her husband won the Lieutenant Governor Senior Service Award.

Carlsten’s house is a mainstay of the Neosho City Wide Garage Sale, a favorite stop for trick-or-treaters, and you will see her on her bicycle-built-for-two in the Christmas parade.    


The Face of Freeman Neosho Hospital 

Renee Denton, Chief Operating Officer, Freeman Neosho Hospital

Freeman Neosho Hospital has a history of bringing the best possible care and the most compassionate service to the residents of Neosho. 

No one is more committed to keeping that tradition alive than Renee Denton, chief operating officer of Freeman Neosho Hospital. 

“What I love most about Freeman Neosho Hospital is that we have excellent clinicians who provide exceptional service to our patients combined with a small-town, community feel,” she said. “A visit to the hospital can be a scary experience, so when you’re welcomed with smiles from caregivers who are your friends and neighbors, it is reassuring and comforting.”

Denton has been COO since 2012 and a member of the Freeman Health System team since 2009. She previously served as the director of the medical, oncology and pediatric units and patient care advocates at Freeman Hospital West. 

As COO, she oversees a staff of 220. She’s responsible for making sure all the financial and daily operations of the hospital continue to run smoothly. 

“I feel privileged to be in a position where I can make a difference in the community,” she said. “Being part of a hospital system that offers a wide array of services is extremely rewarding, and I enjoy opportunities where I can listen to the needs of the community and develop ways to make that vision a reality.”

113 W. Hickory St., Neosho     417.347.4357     HYPERLINK “” 


Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce

Charity Shelton, Ashley Siler and Lauri Lyerla

The Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce is excited to be celebrating 70 years in 2019! That is 70 years of welcoming new businesses, supporting existing businesses and uniting our communities. The Chamber’s focus is on making the Neosho area a better place to live, work and do business.


Stories tell a lot about people, so with the theme “Telling Your Story,” the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce loves to remind its members their business is not just selling a product or a service, but has a story and a “why” behind that product.


With a staff of only three people and a membership that exceeds 420 members, Lauri, Ashley and Charity wear many hats. They are looking forward to continuing to expand the benefits their members have grown to love. If you would like to know more about doing business in a town that is rapidly growing, give these ladies a call and let them help you tell your story.

216 W. Spring St., Neosho, MO     417.451.1925      HYPERLINK “”