Southwest: E-Z Mart Grows in 2010

by Joanna Kauffmann  on Monday, May. 23, 2011 12:00 am  

Having celebrated its 40th anniversary in October, E-Z Mart is in a good place to do some reflection.

"My dad started the business and opened the first store in Nashville, Ark., in October 1970," said Sonja Hubbard, the company's CEO.

The company is now headquartered on the Texas side of Texarkana, but Arkansas Business' annual list of the state's largest private companies has always recognized Texarkana companies on either side of the state line.

(Click here for a list of the largest private companies in southwest Arkansas.)

Hubbard's father, Jim Yates, was inducted into the University of Arkansas' Business Hall of Fame in 2009 for his accomplishments and contributions, and Hubbard seems determined to keep his legacy alive.

"One of the things with celebrating your 40th anniversary ... you have to reflect and realize that you are 40 years old," she said. "We realized that we do have some dated facilities."

Hubbard said that the company had invested millions of dollars during the past decade in the renovation and rebuilding of some of its older stores, particularly in the fueling equipment used.

"We're trying to find new ways to stay fresh and competitive. We do see that people are as busy or busier than they've ever been. Certainly convenience is a huge deal, and we want to stay ever-present and try to fill that void the best we can, and maybe try to give a little time back to those with busy lives."

As part of that goal, the company is continuing to expand. In 2010, Hubbard said, E-Z Mart added about 15 stores through acquisition and group deals. In Arkansas, that included eight stores that the company bought from B-B-F Oil Co. of Pine Bluff. The purchase included stores in Pine Bluff, Hot Springs, Benton and Sheridan, and brought the total number of stores under the E-Z Mart name to 306.

The company's revenue for the year was $788.4 million, a 19 percent increase over 2009.

Hubbard said that the company had remained stable, even in the tough economic climate.

"Over the years we've had our ups and downs," she said. "I think we were very lucky with the recession and the current economic condition. We didn't have some of the boom, but we avoided the bust. And I would take stability."



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