By Joel Phelps
A longtime fixture in Arkadelphia is shutting its doors soon while construction begins to widen the city’s main east-west thoroughfare. But Exxon Tiger Mart, located at the corner of 10th and Pine streets, will return in a larger, better building once the dust settles.
Tiger Mart and Donut Palace’s hub location on the adjacent lot will halt business operations on Tuesday, Feb. 1. Randy Dixon, who has operated Tiger Mart the past 15 years, said the store will be rebuilt on the vacant lot west of the current location, between Robey and 10th streets.
As for Donut Palace, the Pine Street location will continue its normal operation after closing the doors at the location next to Tiger Mart. Owner Ravuth Em said he hopes to re-open a second store. “We have been looking for a new location for a couple months,” Em said. “We really want to open a new one.” Property owners looking to lease a location can contact Em at 870-403-0071.
The 10th Street hub was a laundromat that had sat vacant for a few years before becoming Donut Palace.
Blackmon Oil, Inc., has purchased the land that makes up that entire block to make room for the bigger Tiger Mart store. “It’ll probably be twice the size of what we have now,” Dixon told The Arkadelphian. The rebuilding process should take 9-12 months, according to Dixon. The new store will have one entrance and face 10th Street, with fuel pumps located between the store and the highway.
“There should be better parking and an easier entrance,” Dixon said.
Dixon remembers delivering potato chips to Tiger Mart when he was a vendor in the mid-1980s. Originally a Texaco gas station owned by Lynn Healy, it was converted to a convenience store in the late ‘70s, Dixon said.
Healy eventually sold the business to the Glenwood-based Blackmon Oil, Inc. Blackmon razed the building and rebuilt it in 1993 as one of three Tiger Marts built in surrounding counties. Since then, it has been under the management of either the Blackmons, Jim Burns or Dixon.
“We appreciate everybody supporting us through the years, and would love to have them visit our other two locations,” Dixon said. He also operates Dixon Family Store, 3036 Pine St., and Dixon’s Valley Exxon, 144 Valley St. in Caddo Valley.
Blackmon Oil president David Blackmon’s father, Ken, ran the company for 56 years. “He had the vision and determination for building the Tiger Mart stores [in Glenwood, Mt. Ida and Arkadelphia] and others” before his death in 2008, Blackmon said. “I’m very grateful for the Clark County customers. We’re building this new facility to serve them better. The whole facility is going to be very nice, state-of-the-art.”
Excellent reporting. Thank you!
Thank you for your reporting. Love reading the Arkadelphian.