This article is the third of a series reflecting on the news stories that impacted Arkadelphia and Clark County in 2022.
By JOEL PHELPS | The Arkadelphian
From a major job announcement to some permanent and temporary business closings, Arkadelphia has gone through some changes in 2022. Here’s a look back at the business news this year.
Fish Net re-opens
The year was off to an awful start for the local restaurant scene, as the regionally famous Fish Net had closed its doors in December 2021 after a car crash claimed the life of longtime restaurateur Ronnie O’Keefe. In keeping the tradition alive, heiress Jenifer Spears uprooted her life in Dallas to keep the name alive, re-opening the popular Caddo Valley eatery in April.
Tiger Mart closed (for now)
Another fixture closed its doors — but will reopen them at the same location — due to the Pine Street widening and Arkadelphia Bypass projects. Exxon Tiger Mart temporarily ceased operations in February to make way for a larger convenience store and gas station between 10th and Robey streets. The Donut Palace hub in the storefront next to it was also razed in the process, although that business continues at its main headquarters on West Pine Street. Construction continues at the new gas station, well ahead of the Pine Street and bypass projects.
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Perhaps the biggest business news of 2022 was the March announcement that Hostess Brands had plans to convert the old Danfoss facility into a “bakery of the future” that will bring “at least” 150 jobs to Clark County. The company’s name was kept under wraps when economic developers first began talks in 2021 about “Project Cupcake”. The company’s name was made public months after the Economic Development of Clark County pledged $2 million of taxpayer money for infrastructure and equipment. By September, the company made its pledge to Clark County known in a ceremony to unveil its signage at the Gum Springs facility.
Also this year in Gum Springs, a company that treats hazardous waste announced the largest-ever industrial project in Clark County history. Veolia North America in October flew in its CEO from France to announce the local facility would add 100 jobs to its existing workforce, with a $600 million investment in a thermal hazardous waste treatment facility.
After shuttering its doors in 2020 during the pandemic, the Captain Henderson House was given new life this summer under the management of entrepreneur Addy Murphree. A lease agreement with Murphree’s family, floral shop owners David and Karrie Goodman, allowed the Henderson-owned Victorian mansion to be re-opened as an inn and venue for weddings, meetings and special events.
Alliance hires CEO
Following an announcement by former interim CEO J.L. Griffin that he was ready to step away from the position, the Arkadelphia Regional Economic Development Alliance launched a national search for its next leader. Central Arkansas native Shelley Short, whose resume includes 15 years of experience at the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and Arkansas Economic Development Commission, was tapped to lead Clark County in its job recruitment and retention efforts.
Sears Hometown Stores closes
We closed out the year on a bitter note as the bankruptcy of a national appliance store chain affected locations throughout the U.S. Arkadelphia’s Sears Hometown Store was not exempt from the closings, as the local owner/operator said he was among all the mom and pop shops being affected. There were no immediate plans to reopen the store under a different name.
In an unrelated move, the long-standing Gurdon business Plyler’s Hardware also announced it would be closing its doors, according to a recent article published by The Southern Standard.
Got business news in 2023? Share it with us! Contact editor Joel Phelps by email at email@example.com with a description of the news you want to publicize.