Northwest Arkansas Council Surveys Market for Local Foods

by Marty Cook  on Wednesday, May. 7, 2014 4:56 pm  

Mike Harvey wants to help hook up local farmers with niche restaurants.

The Northwest Arkansas Council is awaiting the results of a regional food assessment survey that is being conducted by Karp Resources of New York City.

Harvey hopes the survey, conducted in cooperation of the Northwest Arkansas Regional Food Council, collects information about what Harvey called "micro enterprises." He said he can count on one hand the number of restaurants that use local produce and he would like to know what the market is.

The survey is open through May 23 and can be found at the Northwest Arkansas Regional Food Council's website.

Harvey said the council, along with the regional food council, wants to help organize the organization and distribution of local produce. Some restaurants may not know what is available, Harvey said, and likewise some local growers may not know who might desire their produce.

Harvey believes that a better local food system will benefit growers and restaurants and could also help make the region more attractive to prospective employers. Harvey said other areas he has lived in have vibrant local food scenes that contribute to economic development just as much as parks and trail systems.

"One of the things that people pay attention to is the local food scene," Harvey said. "Having robust local food offerings is an amenity that helps attract [growth]."

 

 

Please read our comments policy before commenting.
Search
PublishArticle Object
(
    [id] => 102536
    [object] => stdClass Object
        (
            [id] => 102536
            [title] => Cody Metheny Parents: Hands Tied, Cannot Pay $2.1M Judgement
            [summary] => Kenny and Pamela Metheny of Mabelvale said their hands are tied so they can’t pay a $2.1 million judgment in connection with an unpaid medical bill for their son at a rehabilitation center in Virginia.
            [content] => 

Kenny and Pamela Metheny of Mabelvale said their hands are tied so they can’t pay a $2.1 million judgment in connection with an unpaid medical bill for their son at a rehabilitation center in Virginia. 

Last week, we told you that U.S. District Judge James M. Moody Jr. handed down the judgment in favor of the Neurological Rehabilitation Living Center of Virginia Beach, Virginia, which provided care to Cody Metheny between 2008 and 2013 without being paid.

Cody ended up in the center as a result of a surgeon operating on the wrong side of his brain in 2004, when he was 15. 

The proceeds of the $12 million generated from the lawsuits tied to the botched surgery went directly into a trust established for Cody, according to court records in the case.

The center said it should have been paid with the proceeds but wasn’t, so it sued in federal court.

We couldn’t reach Joel Hargis of Jonesboro, the attorney representing the Methenys, at press time for the Dec. 8 Whisper, but he called back last week. He pointed out that the judgment is not against either Kenny or Pamela Metheny personally but in their capacity as conservators. 

“It’s a title that has no authority on this trust,” Hargis said, so the parents can’t force the trustee to pay the bill, even though Pamela Metheny said in another court proceeding that she thought the rehab center should be paid.

“It’s not the case that they are refusing to pay,” Hargis said. “They don’t have $2.1 million to pay.”

Kevin Keech of North Little Rock, the attorney for the Argent Trust Co., as trustee of the Cody R. Metheny Special Needs Trust, didn’t return calls for comment.

But in court filings in the case Keech had argued that “The only contract in this case is between [the center] and the Methenys. Argent is neither a party to, nor guarantor of, that contract.”

This case, it’s fair to say, is a mess. 

[caption] => [status] => publish [published_on] => 2014-12-22 00:00:00 [updated_on] => 2014-12-19 18:19:24 [created_on] => 2014-12-19 11:48:36 [creator_id] => 27 [updater_id] => 27 [author_id] => 61 [author_other_name] => [author_other_email] => [legacy_id] => [legacy_post_id] => [slug] => cody-metheny-parents-hands-tied-cannot-pay-21m-judgement [legacy_id_family] => [expired] => 0 [high_res] => [related] => Array ( ) [creator] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 27 [email] => tbaker@abpg.com [username] => tbaker [logins] => 5849 [last_login] => 1419264991 [display_name] => Tre Baker ) [updater] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 27 [email] => tbaker@abpg.com [username] => tbaker [logins] => 5849 [last_login] => 1419264991 [display_name] => Tre Baker ) [author] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 61 [email] => info@abpg.com [username] => abstaff [logins] => 0 [last_login] => [display_name] => Arkansas Business Staff ) [assets] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 46357 [title] => Rehab Center [caption] => The Neurological Rehabilitation Living Center in Virginia Beach, Va., cared for Cody Metheny between 2008 and 2013. [published_on] => 2014-01-31 09:34:46 [credit] => [type] => image [path] => http://assets.inarkansas.com/46357/rehab-center-987.jpg [embed_code] => [video_id] => 0 [position] => 0 [width] => 660 [height] => 440 [assets] => Array ( ) ) ) [tags] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 20254 [tag] => Arkansas Business [created_on] => 2010-10-08 09:46:43 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 20394 [tag] => Kevin Keech [created_on] => 2010-10-12 12:27:15 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [2] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33390 [tag] => Industries [created_on] => 2012-01-23 15:38:43 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 20254 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [3] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33391 [tag] => Print Edition [created_on] => 2012-01-23 15:38:58 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 20254 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [4] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33404 [tag] => Whispers [created_on] => 2012-01-23 15:54:23 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33391 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [5] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33413 [tag] => Health Care [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:01:43 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [6] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33414 [tag] => Insurance [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:01:58 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [7] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33416 [tag] => Legal [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:02:20 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [8] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33536 [tag] => Daily Report [created_on] => 2012-01-26 11:00:50 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 20254 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [9] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 50186 [tag] => Neurological Rehabilitation Living Center [created_on] => 2014-01-31 13:25:08 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [10] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 50187 [tag] => Cody Metheny [created_on] => 2014-01-31 13:25:08 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [11] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 50188 [tag] => Kenny Metheny [created_on] => 2014-01-31 13:25:08 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [12] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 50189 [tag] => Pamela Metheny [created_on] => 2014-01-31 13:25:08 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [13] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 54570 [tag] => James Moody Jr. [created_on] => 2014-10-03 15:40:00 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [14] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 55692 [tag] => Joel Hargis [created_on] => 2014-12-19 11:48:38 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [15] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 55693 [tag] => Argent Trust Co. [created_on] => 2014-12-19 11:48:38 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) ) [issues] => Array ( ) ) )
Array
(
    [55692] => Joel Hargis
    [55693] => Argent Trust Co.
    [50188] => Kenny Metheny
    [50189] => Pamela Metheny
    [50187] => Cody Metheny
    [54570] => James Moody Jr.
    [50186] => Neurological Rehabilitation Living Center
    [20394] => Kevin Keech
    [20254] => Arkansas Business
    [33390] => Industries
    [33413] => Health Care
    [33414] => Insurance
    [33416] => Legal
    [33391] => Print Edition
    [33404] => Whispers
    [33536] => Daily Report
)
PublishArticle Object
(
    [id] => 102526
    [object] => stdClass Object
        (
            [id] => 102526
            [title] => The Top 10 Business Stories of 2014
            [summary] => Politics, white-collar crime, banking acquisitions, Turner Grain and more. Arkansas Business recaps the top 10 stories from the year that was 2014.
            [content] => 

No. 1 Arkansas Turns Solid Red

On Nov. 4, Arkansas voters gave the state’s Republicans the keys to both Capitols, state and federal, electing the first all-GOP congressional delegation since Reconstruction, handing them all seven of the state’s constitutional offices and increasing their strength in the state House and Senate.

Elections have consequences, as someone once said. Those consequences in Arkansas include Republican control of both the executive and legislative branches of state government along with oversight over elections, now that the GOP holds a majority of the state’s constitutional offices and is officially the state’s majority party. As such it controls two of the three seats on each of Arkansas’ 75 county election commissions. 

In addition, should Republicans hold onto any two of the offices of governor, attorney general and secretary of state in the 2018 elections — and incumbents usually have the advantage — they’ll have control of legislative redistricting after the 2020 census.

Political analyst Rex Nelson summed up the situation in a post-election column in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette: “We’ve gone from a one-party Democratic state to a two-party state to a one-party Republican state in just three election cycles. And I don’t think it’s going to change anytime soon.”

In Arkansas, the midterm election was dominated by out-of-state special interest advertising that decried the evils of Obamacare and linked all Democrats to the man in the White House for whom the health care legislation is named. 

Ads totaling $41.1 million in cost and 96,000 — not a typo — in number flooded Arkansas media, according to the Center for Public Integrity. Arkansas ranked No. 8 overall in terms of money spent and was No. 4 in terms of money spent per voter: $14. The U.S. Senate race that saw incumbent Democrat Mark Pryor losing to first-term Arkansas congressman Tom Cotton was responsible for most of that, 65,700 ads costing $29.4 million.

In these last few weeks before the inauguration, the centrist Gov. Mike Beebe, who was term-limited from office, is making way for Republican Asa Hutchinson, the man Beebe defeated in 2006. This time, however, it’s Hutchinson who delivered the shellacking, overcoming Democrat Mike Ross with 55.4 percent of the gubernatorial vote compared with Ross’ 41.5 percent.

To the victor belong the spoils, etc., and Hutchinson has begun naming the directors of top state agencies — those new, those he’s asking to stay and those who are being shown the door. With the offices of lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, auditor, treasurer and land commissioner all also now in the hands of Republicans, the state’s bureaucracy is likely to be transformed in the next four years.

Arkansas’ election results mirrored those of the nation and, in particular, the South, which went a deep red in the midterm. The GOP now dominates every legislative body in the South except for Kentucky’s House of Delegates. 

The Arkansas House will have 64 Republicans and 36 Democrats when the 90th General Assembly meets Jan. 12, while the state Senate will have 23 Republicans and 11 Democrats. The 35th seat is that of state Sen. President Pro Tempore Michael Lamoureux of Russellville, who resigned after Gov.-elect Hutchinson chose him as his transition director and chief of staff.  But that position also appears headed for Republican control: Three Republicans have filed to run but no Democrats.

The Republican rout threatens Arkansas’ widely heralded “private option” health insurance program. Many legislative candidates campaigned promising to fight funding for the program, the state’s Medicaid expansion that is its private enterprise-friendly method of implementing Obamacare. 

Appropriations — such as funding for the private option — require a “supermajority,” or three-fourths, vote for approval, making survival of the Arkansas program even more tenuous.

However, signs of Republican softening on the private option were apparent earlier this month at a panel discussion in Rogers at which legislators appeared. “If the private option doesn’t pass again, it’s going to kill Asa Hutchinson’s budget,” Jana Della Rosa, a Republican elected to the state House last month, said, according to the Democrat-Gazette reporting on the meeting. “There’s such a huge hole that suddenly appears. I don’t think there’s really any interest in doing that.”

Also appearing at that meeting was state Sen. Jon Woods, a Springdale Republican. “When people run for office, they’re new,” Woods said. “They say, ‘Let’s cut taxes.’ They say all these things, but then once you get in, you truly understand how the government’s role is in society.”

No. 2 Obamacare Re-energizes Hospitals

Going into 2014, Arkansas hospital executives were unsure what the Affordable Care Act would mean for their business. Beginning Jan. 1, the centerpiece of the legislation known as Obamacare required individuals to have health insurance and offered assistance for those who couldn’t afford it on their own.

“We’re in so many uncharted waters right now,” Gary Bebow, CEO of White River Health System in Batesville, told Arkansas Business in May 2013. 

But the impact of Obamacare turned out to be better than the hospitals expected.

Thanks to the “private option,” Arkansas’ innovative program that uses federal Medicaid expansion dollars to buy insurance for low-income workers, about 200,000 Arkansans were newly insured in 2014. 

The number of uninsured patients admitted to hospitals in Arkansas dropped by nearly half in the first six months of 2014 when compared with 2013, according to a survey released in November by the Arkansas Hospital Association and the Arkansas Chapter of the Healthcare Financial Management Association. The study also found that hospitals’ losses related to uninsured patients improved by 56.4 percent (to a loss of $53.4 million) during the first half of the year. 

Hospitals trimmed their own expenses and thought merging was a way to save on health care expenses.  

In April, Catholic Health Initiatives of Englewood, Colorado, and its affiliate, CHI St. Vincent Health System in Little Rock, completed their purchase of Mercy Hot Springs’ hospital and physician clinic. The terms of the purchase weren’t disclosed.

In December, White County Medical Center of Searcy said it would buy the 133-bed Harris Hospital in Newport and related outpatient services from Community Health Systems Inc. of Franklin, Tennessee. 

In July, Baptist Health of Little Rock broke ground on a 216,000-SF hospital in Conway. The campus of Baptist Health Medical Center-Conway will sit on 37 acres and is expected to open in 2016 at a cost of $130 million. 

But not all news in 2014 was good for hospitals.

In August, after struggling for years and failing to find a buyer, Crittenden Regional Hospital of West Memphis announced that it would close its doors by Sept. 7.

“Despite our best efforts, the combination of challenges we’re facing — a changing health care industry, a recovering economy and one of the toughest reimbursement climates in the nation — continues to place mounting financial pressures upon our organization,” the hospital’s CEO, Gene Cashman, said in a news release. Only a few weeks after closing, Crittenden Regional filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection and listed $33.3 million in debts and $27.75 million in assets.

No. 3 Tyson Buys Hillshire

Tyson Foods Inc. of Springdale was originally willing to pay nearly $7 billion to purchase Hillshire Brands Co. of Chicago.

Tyson ended up spending $8.55 billion after it had to outbid a competitor for Hillshire. Months after the July acquisition, which was finalized in August, Tyson doesn’t have any buyer’s remorse.

Company officials said they expect about $500 million in synergy savings by 2017. Tyson reported net income of $864 million for fiscal 2014 and, thanks to the Hillshire acquisition, predicts 12 percent growth in 2015.

Tyson CFO Dennis Leatherby called the acquisition a “one-plus-one-equals-three opportunity.”

Tyson had been trying to expand its prepared foods division, and Hillshire was its fourth acquisition in 18 months following the 2013 purchases of Circle Foods LLC and Don Julio Foods and the January 2014 purchase of Bosco’s Pizza Co. The acquisition of Hillshire, which became a wholly owned subsidiary, was more than double Tyson’s previous largest purchase of $3.2 billion for IBP Inc. of Dakota Dunes, South Dakota, in 2001.

Hillshire had annual revenue of $4 billion but, more importantly, had top brands in many important categories for Tyson through its Jimmy Dean sausage and Ballpark hot dogs. After the merger, Tyson stood with the No. 1 brand in nine categories and ranked behind only Nestle as the largest frozen food company in the world with $3.7 billion in sales. 

Tyson announced its intention to buy Hillshire with a $6.8 billion bid on May 29, two days after Pilgrim’s Pride offered $5.58 billion. Pilgrim’s Pride raised its offer, forcing Tyson to go to $8.55 billion.

Tyson CEO Donnie Smith said the company had been interested in Hillshire for more than a year before announcing its bid. 

The merger was completed after both companies reached a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice over antitrust concerns. In July, a coalition of 82 farm, consumer and community groups had urged the Justice Department to extend its review of the deal. 

As part of the settlement, Tyson agreed to sell its Heinhold Hog Markets subsidiary, which produced $270 million in revenue in 2013, to alleviate concerns about the merged company’s potential domination of the hog market. 

Tyson also had to pay Pinnacle Foods $163 million to terminate its deal to buy Hillshire Brands.

“We operate in a competitive and complex marketplace that demands bold steps to remain an industry leader,” Smith said in a statement at the time of the purchase. “I am confident that together Tyson Foods and Hillshire Brands have the right products and the right people to create years of enhanced shareholder value and ensure more choices for our customers and consumers.”

No. 4 Banks Go on Buying Spree

Big transactions by public companies highlighted merger and acquisition activity in the Arkansas banking community during 2014. 

Leading the way was Bank of the Ozarks Inc. of Little Rock announcing its largest acquisition ever in January: the purchase of $1.2 billion asset Summit Bancorp Inc. of Arkadelphia. The $216 million deal, which closed in May, marked its first in-state transaction since buying River Valley Bank of Russellville in 2003.

The acquisition extended Bank of the Ozarks into new markets in Malvern, Arkadelphia, Hope and Magnolia and expanded its presence in the Garland, Saline, Pulaski and Faulkner county markets.

The size of the Summit transaction was topped with the August announcement of a purchase agreement for $1.6 billion-asset Intervest Bancshares Corp. The $228.5 million deal, expected to close in the first quarter of 2015, will add six Florida locations in the Clearwater market.

The acquisition will push Bank of the Ozarks to about $7.8 billion in total assets, second only to Arvest Bank Group Inc. of Bentonville among bank holding companies based in Arkansas.

Simmons First National Corp. of Pine Bluff announced two large out-of-state acquisitions this year: a $243.4 million deal to buy $1.9 billion-asset Community First Bancshares Inc. of Union City, Tennessee, and a $206.9 million deal to buy $1.1 billion-asset Liberty Bancshares Inc. of Springfield, Missouri. Both transactions were pending at press time.

The acquisitions will mark the company’s entry in Tennessee and Missouri. Simmons added to its Arkansas holdings with the purchase of $422 million-asset Delta Trust & Banking Corp. of Little Rock in August for $66 million.

In June, Harrison’s First Federal Bancshares of Arkansas Inc. became Bear State Financial Inc., days ahead of its $124 million acquisition of First National Security Co. in Hot Springs.

The deal tripled Bear State’s total assets to more than $1.4 billion.

The $986 million-asset First National Security was the parent company of First National Bank of Hot Springs and Heritage Bank of Jonesboro, which Bear State continues to operate independently of its original charter, First Federal Bank.

The only common market is Little Rock, where First National Bank and First Federal each have one branch.

First Federal’s network of 12 full-service branches stretches across north Arkansas from Mountain Home to Fayetteville.

First National operates 19 full-service branches across southwest Arkansas along with two in Oklahoma. The Heritage Bank network numbers seven in two northeast Arkansas counties: Craighead and Mississippi.

Home BancShares Inc. of Conway completed two Florida transactions this year, buying $307 million-asset Florida Traditions Bank of Dade City in a $39.5 million stock swap deal in July and $179 million-asset Broward Financial Holdings Inc. of Fort Lauderdale in a $33.1 million deal in October.

The selloff of surplus branches acquired in last year’s Metropolitan National Bank transaction brought new players this year to central Arkansas markets, Relyance Bank of Pine Bluff and Malvern National Bank; and to northwest Arkansas, First National Bank of Paragould.

No. 5 Turner Grain Goes Bankrupt

The bankruptcy of Turner Grain Merchandising Inc. of Brinkley is expected to prompt new legislation in an attempt to prevent other companies from experiencing a similar collapse.

In October, Turner Grain filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy, listing $24.8 million in debts and $13.8 million in assets. Some of the larger claims include Southern Rice & Cotton LLC of Harrisburg, $3.228 million; Zero Grade Farms of Blytheville, $2.293 million; and Kennedy Rice Dryers LLC of Mer Rouge, Louisiana, $2.285 million.

Revelations of more debts may be coming. Earlier this month, Turner’s receiver, attorney Kevin Keech of North Little Rock, said in a court filing that he plans to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for several of Turner’s related companies. Keech said the companies — with names that include Agri-Petroleum Sales LLC, Brinkley Truck Brokerage LLC and Ivory Rice LLC — are so intertwined that they shared money and other assets with Turner Grain.

Trouble for Turner Grain began in August when questions surfaced about its handling of grain and its finances. Incorporated in 2002, Turner Grain acted as a middleman between the farmer and the client who wanted to buy the grain. It would buy the farmer’s supply and hold it until a customer wanted to purchase it. But holding grain can be risky because of swings in commodity prices. A source told Arkansas Business that Turner Grain came out on the losing end when it hedged its bets against volatility in the market. The source said that when Turner tried to make up for losses, the losses only increased. Turner Grain President Dale Bartlett and Vice President Jason Coleman never responded to requests for comment.

As the farmers’ concerns increased, Arkansas House Speaker Davy Carter, R-Cabot, sent a letter to state Rep. Matthew Shepherd, R-El Dorado, chairman of the House Agriculture, Forestry & Economic Development Committee, seeking help for state farmers who might be left with breached commodities contracts in connection with Turner Grain. 

Days after the letter was sent, on Aug. 20, a group of farmers sued Turner Grain for fraud, saying they hadn’t been paid for grain they sold to Turner. The eight farmers, who have fields in Monroe, Phillips and Lee counties, said in a lawsuit filed in Lee County Circuit Court that they had commodities contracts to sell grain to Turner. But they said Turner either hadn’t paid them for their products or that checks they received from the company didn’t clear.

More lawsuits against Turner followed until the company filed for Chapter 11.

Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Butch Calhoun told Arkansas Business in October that he was working on legislation that he hoped would prevent another Turner Grain. “You could be out here buying millions of dollars worth of grain and reselling them,” he said. “And nobody’s checking your books and nobody’s doing anything.” 

Calhoun is retiring at the end of 2014, but the draft of the legislation will move forward, according to the Arkansas Agriculture Department. The issue is likely to be taken up when the General Assembly convenes in January.

White-Collar Fraud Makes News — Again

2014 was a year of reckoning and revelation regarding several long-running, high-profile fraud cases in Arkansas.

Brandon Barber was sentenced on Oct. 28 to 65 months in federal prison and ordered to pay restitution for loan fraud involving lenders in connection with his real estate development ventures in northwest Arkansas.

How much the restitution should be remains in dispute. The U.S. Attorney’s Office puts the number at $16.2 million. Barber pegs the figure at $550,000 and claims the higher figure wrongly includes amounts tied to civil judgments against him by Legacy National Bank of Springdale ($8.5 million) and Enterprise Bank & Trust of Clayton, Missouri ($7.6 million).

Barber pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bankruptcy fraud, conspiracy to commit bank fraud and money laundering.

James Van Doren, a former friend and Barber investor, was sentenced on Nov. 3 to 15 months in federal prison after a failed attempt to withdraw his guilty plea.

U.S. District Judge P.K. Holmes III enforced his plea agreement to one count of money laundering as part of a conspiracy to defraud creditors of Barber. Van Doren said he was innocent of the charge and wrongly agreed to plead guilty.

He asked to withdraw his guilty plea in June, days after Holmes took the unusual step of ordering the retrial of Vaughn Knight on five counts of money laundering and one count each of conspiracy to commit bankruptcy fraud and bankruptcy fraud. The judge also acquitted Knight of making a false statement. In November 2013, a jury had found Knight guilty on all eight counts.

Jeff Whorton, another Barber cohort, was sentenced on Nov. 5 to 14 months of home detention after pleading guilty to one count each of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and money laundering.

Brandon Rains, another Barber associate, was fined $5,000 in federal court on Nov. 6 but given no prison time after pleading guilty to making a false statement.

In October, a federal grand jury in Little Rock found John Stacks, owner of Mountain Pure water bottling company, guilty of seven counts related to a Small Business Administration loan. But U.S. District Judge J. Leon Holmes took the unusual step of setting aside the jury’s verdict, expressing concern that “a serious miscarriage of justice may have occurred.” 

On Dec. 2, Holmes ordered a new trial on three counts of wire fraud associated with three loan installments received from the SBA, one count of making a false and fraudulent claim and one count of making a false statement. He acquitted Stacks outright on two counts of making false statements.

Former Mount Ida insurance executive Steve Standridge was sentenced on Dec. 5 to five years in federal prison and ordered to pay $7.1 million in restitution in connection with loan fraud involving banks, insurance companies and individuals. Standridge pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Hot Springs to two of 35 felony counts as part of a plea agreement. Standridge is scheduled to report to prison on Jan. 14. 

Federal investigations continue into two cases that have not resulted in criminal charges:

  • Details of alleged loan fraud arose concerning Dennis Smiley, the former Arvest Bank executive who overpledged $552,000 worth of collateral to a long line of lenders in debts totaling an estimated $4.5 million.
  • Questions surrounding the financial dealings of fallen sports memorabilia dealer-photo archive buyer John Rogers took wing thanks to an FBI raid and lawsuits by banks, investors and others.

No. 7 Trucking Turns the Corner

You could forgive USA Truck officials if they have been in a celebratory mood this year.

The beleaguered Van Buren company has posted five consecutive annual losses, but things are looking a little rosier this year. In the second quarter, USA Truck reported income of $700,000, which may not sound like much, but it was the first positive quarter since 2011.

Then, in the third quarter, USA Truck made it two in a row, reporting income of $1.85 million, the best quarter the company has had in eight years. For the year, USA Truck is ahead $1.85 million — compared with being $4.4 million in the hole for the same three quarters a year ago — so snapping its five-year decline is a possibility.

“It was another strong quarter for USA Truck as we made further progress with the turnaround plan we implemented last year,” USA Truck CEO John Simone said in a conference call. “We’re especially proud of the fact that it was our eighth consecutive quarter of improved financial results.”

Along the way, USA Truck fended off a takeover attempt by Knight Transportation of Phoenix and added three members to its board of directors, including two representatives of United Shareholders for the Benefit of USAK, which owns about 28 percent of USA Truck’s shares.

Simone said better efficiency and concentration on better producing regions have helped the turnaround.

Another trucking company that has put its struggles in the rearview mirror is PAM Transport Services of Tontitown. PAM lost nearly $19 million in 2008 but has posted positive years recently.

PAM reported almost as much income ($5.05 million) in the third quarter of this year as it made in all of 2013 ($5.91 million). For the year, PAM is up more than $11 million and has seen its share price go from $20.65 at the start of the year to just under $50 this month.

“I couldn’t be happier or more excited about what’s going on here,” said PAM CEO Dan Cushman.

It’s not just the smaller trucking companies that have seen business pick up with the improved economy. Arkansas Best of Fort Smith changed its name to ArcBest in April, announced it would build a $30 million headquarters at Chaffee Crossing and then reported a string of positive quarters.

ArcBest’s third-quarter income of $19.6 million surpassed its entire year of 2013. The company also continues to benefit from a labor agreement reached with the Teamsters, and it moved up 38 spots to No. 889 in the Fortune 1000.

J.B. Hunt Transport Services of Lowell, the largest trucker operating in the state, reported income of $264.5 million for the first three quarters of 2014, up from $250.5 million for the same period of 2013.

No. 8 Wal-Mart Shakes Up Top Levels

When Doug McMillon, a product of Jonesboro and ultimate corporate insider, succeeded Mike Duke to become the fifth CEO of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. at the start of the fiscal year on Feb. 1, some industry observers expected more of the same.

“He’s a Wal-Mart guy from Arkansas, so I would be shocked to see dramatic changes in how the company is run,” USA Today quoted Faye Landes, an analyst at Cowen & Co., when McMillon’s coming ascension was announced in November 2013. “He’s not a person who is going to shake things up.”

It’s too soon to say whether the way the company is run is being changed dramatically by the man who previously ran Wal-Mart International, but a whole lotta shakin’ has been going on, especially in the Wal-Mart U.S. division, which recently managed its first tiny sales increase in almost two years. 

In July, McMillon jettisoned Bill Simon, CEO of Wal-Mart U.S. since 2010, even as he praised him as the innovator behind the $4 generic prescription and smaller store formats. Simon, who had been considered a possible successor to Duke less than a year earlier, was replaced by Greg Foran, who joined Wal-Mart three years ago after a career in retail in Australia.

Foran, in turn, showed Duncan Mac Naughton the door in November. Mac Naughton had been chief merchandising officer, and he has not been replaced by Foran, who said he wanted to get closer to that part of the operation himself.

Then, as the holiday season reached its zenith, Foran named Judith McKenna to replace Gisel Ruiz as chief operating officer of the U.S. division. Ruiz, No. 28 on the list of most powerful women in business published by Fortune magazine in September, was not escorted out of the company, but she was transferred to the division that runs human resources internationally. 

Attracting less attention stateside was the mass dismissal in November of approximately 30 executives in Wal-Mart’s Chinese operation and the retailer’s decision to close about 30 stores in Japan.

No. 9 Companies See Value in Spinoffs

There was a touch of spinoff fever in Arkansas in 2014 as several of the publicly traded companies based in the state continued or considered spinoffs.

One such spinoff ticked off its first full fiscal year, another Fortune 500 company announced plans for its own and an activist investor encouraged another.

The year opened with Murphy USA Inc., the gas station spinoff of Murphy Oil Corp. of El Dorado, continuing into its first full year as an independent company. In its third-quarter report in November, Murphy USA reported income from continuing operations of $67.2 million, or $1.36 per diluted share, on revenue of $4.68 billion.

That income was up from $36 million, or 77 cents per diluted share, in the same quarter last year, which was its first stand-alone quarter.

“Solid execution across the board in a favorable fuel margin environment paved the way for exceptional earnings in the third quarter,” Andrew Clyde, Murphy USA president and CEO, said in a news release. 

In July, Windstream Holdings Corp. of Little Rock announced innovative plans to spin off certain assets, namely its fiber and copper networks, into a publicly traded real estate investment trust. The company said the move would cut its debt by $3.2 billion but also lower its dividend by 30 percent.

Windstream said it hoped to complete the spinoff by the first half of 2015 to allow the company “to accelerate network investments, provide enhanced services to customers and maximize shareholder value.”

Tony Thomas, who was selected to lead the REIT, took over as CEO of Windstream Dec. 12, after the surprise departure of Jeffery Gardner. Francis X. “Skip” Frantz, who will serve as the chairman of the REIT’s board, will lead the selection process for a new president and CEO of the spinoff.

Talk of REITs also expanded to Dillard’s Inc. in November when Marcato Capital Management LP of San Francisco, which owns 4.9 percent of Dillard’s Inc. stock, said that it wanted the company to create one of its own.

One of Marcato’s managing partners said in a news release that the REIT would “unlock tremendous value” for Dillard’s and would increase the combined value of the companies to $193 a share, or a 75 percent increase. Dillard’s stock price’s all-time high was $123.80 on Aug. 8.

Not everyone was convinced about the value of a Dillard’s REIT.

Kenneth Leonard, principal of Leonard Associates of Chicago, which specializes in retailing and shopping center real estate, referred to the potential move as a “financial sleight of hand.”

“It doesn’t do anything ... except maybe fool the stockholders into thinking that there’s more collateral value to that stock and to that company than there is in the real world,” he told Arkansas Business.

No. 10 Public Officials Go Astray — Again

2014 brought another installment of “Badly Behaving Public Servants” as the state’s lieutenant governor, a former Arkansas treasurer, a circuit court judge and a former deputy director of
the Arkansas Department of Human Services became caught up in allegations, and findings, of misfeasance and malfeasance. 

The year had barely begun before Lt. Gov. Mark Darr — after much indecision — announced Jan. 1 that he would resign effective Feb. 1. Calls for his resignation began in late 2013 after the Springdale Republican agreed to pay an $11,000 fine to the Arkansas Ethics Commission for violations of state ethics laws and regulations. 

The commission found probable cause that, among other violations, Darr had made personal use of more than $31,000 of campaign funds and had improperly charged expenses to the state. Darr apologized for the mistakes but denied he’d had any “malicious intent.”

After Darr agreed to the fine, calls were made for him to resign with House Republican leader Bruce Westerman of Hot Springs calling Darr’s impeachment “inevitable” unless he left office. 

Former Arkansas Treasurer Martha Shoffner, meanwhile, was found guilty in March by a federal jury of 14 counts of extortion and bribery stemming from a scheme in which she directed state business to bond broker Steele Stephens in exchange for $36,000 in cash.

In November, after U.S. District Judge Leon Holmes refused to accept her guilty plea, federal prosecutors dropped mail fraud charges against Shoffner, a Democrat, for using campaign money to pay personal credit card debts. Her sentencing on the extortion and bribery charges awaits a presentence report.

In the spring, the state’s Judicial Discipline & Disability Commission began an investigation of Circuit Judge Michael Maggio of Conway after the blog Blue Hog Report reported that someone going by the name “geauxjudge” posted online comments about sex, bestiality, race and an adoption case involving actress Charlize Theron. 

Just a few days later, Maggio acknowledged making the comments and withdrew from his race for the Arkansas Court of Appeals. 

Soon after, the commission went on to launch an investigation of Maggio over thousands of dollars in contributions made by Michael Morton of Fort Smith, owner of a number of nursing homes in Arkansas, to political action committees that gave money to Maggio’s campaign for the Court of Appeals. Morton gave Maggio’s PACs thousands of dollars the same day that the judge heard a plea from one of Morton’s nursing homes asking him to reduce a $5.2 million judgment in a lawsuit over the death of one of its patients. Three days later, Maggio cut the jury’s award to $1 million. 

The FBI also began investigating the judge over the PAC donations, an investigation that continues. 

In September, the state Supreme Court ordered that Maggio be immediately removed from his post. 

And in October, Steven B. Jones, 49, a former deputy director of the Arkansas Department of Human Services, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds.

Jones, of Marion, was accused of providing official assistance in exchange for bribes from the owner (identified by DHS as Ted Suhl) of two mental health care companies. Jones is scheduled for sentencing on April 2 before U.S. District Judge Billy Roy Wilson.

[caption] => The Republican takeover, Wal-Mart changeups, Tyson acquisitions, the trucking rebound and white-collar crime were all among the top 10 stories this year. [status] => publish [published_on] => 2014-12-22 00:00:00 [updated_on] => 2014-12-19 13:39:30 [created_on] => 2014-12-19 10:25:02 [creator_id] => 27 [updater_id] => 27 [author_id] => 61 [author_other_name] => [author_other_email] => [legacy_id] => [legacy_post_id] => [slug] => the-top-10-business-stories-of-2014 [legacy_id_family] => [expired] => 0 [high_res] => [related] => Array ( ) [creator] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 27 [email] => tbaker@abpg.com [username] => tbaker [logins] => 5849 [last_login] => 1419264991 [display_name] => Tre Baker ) [updater] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 27 [email] => tbaker@abpg.com [username] => tbaker [logins] => 5849 [last_login] => 1419264991 [display_name] => Tre Baker ) [author] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 61 [email] => info@abpg.com [username] => abstaff [logins] => 0 [last_login] => [display_name] => Arkansas Business Staff ) [assets] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 57730 [title] => Top 10 Gallery [caption] =>

The Republican takeover, Wal-Mart changeups, Tyson acquisitions, the trucking rebound and white-collar crime were all among the top 10 stories this year.

[published_on] => 2014-12-19 13:30:00 [credit] => [type] => gallery [path] => [embed_code] => [video_id] => [position] => 0 [width] => 660 [height] => 440 [assets] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 57728 [title] => Asa Hutchinson [caption] =>

Arkansas Gov.-elect Asa Hutchinson greets supporters with his wife, Susan, by his side during a Republican watch party at the Embassy Suites in Little Rock on Nov. 4.

[published_on] => 2014-12-19 13:20:00 [credit] => AP Photos/Karen E. Segrave [type] => image [path] => http://assets.inarkansas.com/57728/asa-hutchinson.jpg [embed_code] => [video_id] => 0 [position] => 1 [width] => 660 [height] => 440 ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 56352 [title] => Top Stockholders [caption] => John Tyson, shown here in a photo from last December, and his brother’s widow, Barbara Tyson, own stock in Tyson Foods Inc. that was valued at almost $3 billion as of Nov. 7. | (Photo by Jason Burt) [published_on] => 2014-11-14 10:27:10 [credit] => [type] => image [path] => http://assets.inarkansas.com/56352/top-stockholders-204.jpg [embed_code] => [video_id] => 0 [position] => 2 [width] => 660 [height] => 440 ) [2] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 55549 [title] => Turner Grain Merchandising of Brinkley [caption] =>

Turner Grain Merchandising of Brinkley is winding down its operation after several farmers sue over allegations of breach of contract and fraud for not being paid for grain. | (Photo by Lee Hogan)

[published_on] => 2014-10-24 10:47:00 [credit] => [type] => image [path] => http://assets.inarkansas.com/55549/turner-grain-merchandising-of-brinkley.jpg [embed_code] => [video_id] => 0 [position] => 3 [width] => 660 [height] => 440 ) [3] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 57729 [title] => Brandon Barber and James Van Doren [caption] => [published_on] => 2014-12-19 13:29:00 [credit] => [type] => image [path] => http://assets.inarkansas.com/57729/brandon-barber-and-james-van-doren-990.jpg [embed_code] => [video_id] => [position] => 4 [width] => 660 [height] => 440 ) [4] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 46670 [title] => John Simone [caption] =>

USA Truck CEO John Simone, an experienced turnaround artist, put together a 27-point plan that has helped the Van Buren company’s stock price almost triple in the past year. (Photos by Kat Wilson)

[published_on] => 2014-02-21 08:55:00 [credit] => [type] => image [path] => http://assets.inarkansas.com/46670/john-simone.jpg [embed_code] => [video_id] => 0 [position] => 5 [width] => 660 [height] => 440 ) [5] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 57645 [title] => Dan Cushman, president and CEO of PAM Transport [caption] =>

Dan Cushman, president and CEO of PAM Transport, at his office in Tontitown: “I have to focus on what we do and do it well.” | (Photo by Brooke McNeely Galligan)

[published_on] => 2014-12-12 11:47:00 [credit] => [type] => image [path] => http://assets.inarkansas.com/57645/dan-cushman-president-and-ceo-of-pam-transport.jpg [embed_code] => [video_id] => 0 [position] => 6 [width] => 660 [height] => 440 ) [6] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 52124 [title] => Doug McMillon [caption] => Doug McMillon, CEO of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., is atop this week’s list of the highest-paid public company executives. | (Photo by Ryan Miller) [published_on] => 2014-07-18 10:14:10 [credit] => [type] => image [path] => http://assets.inarkansas.com/52124/doug-mcmillon-776.jpg [embed_code] => [video_id] => 0 [position] => 7 [width] => 660 [height] => 440 ) [7] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 44905 [title] => Martha Shoffner [caption] =>

Martha Shoffner, ex-State Treasurer, walked away from a plea deal in favor of taking her bribery case to trial. (Photo by Mauren Kennedy)

[published_on] => 2013-12-20 10:28:00 [credit] => [type] => image [path] => http://assets.inarkansas.com/44905/martha-shoffner.jpg [embed_code] => [video_id] => 0 [position] => 8 [width] => 660 [height] => 440 ) ) ) ) [tags] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 648 [tag] => Baptist Health [created_on] => 2009-09-16 12:43:37 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 655 [tag] => White County Medical Center [created_on] => 2009-09-16 12:43:37 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [2] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 1164 [tag] => Mark Pryor [created_on] => 2009-10-14 14:45:14 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [3] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 3287 [tag] => Martha Shoffner [created_on] => 2009-11-25 09:24:09 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [4] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 5958 [tag] => Gary Bebow [created_on] => 2010-01-28 16:28:40 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [5] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 8764 [tag] => John Rogers [created_on] => 2010-03-31 11:44:45 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [6] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 9220 [tag] => Rex Nelson [created_on] => 2010-04-02 16:15:36 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [7] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 10763 [tag] => Asa Hutchinson [created_on] => 2010-04-22 15:28:26 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [8] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 11952 [tag] => Simmons First National Bank [created_on] => 2010-04-30 17:11:11 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [9] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 12717 [tag] => Steven Jones [created_on] => 2010-05-06 11:48:41 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [10] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 13455 [tag] => Bank of the Ozarks [created_on] => 2010-06-02 15:56:19 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [11] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 20254 [tag] => Arkansas Business [created_on] => 2010-10-08 09:46:43 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [12] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 20260 [tag] => Tyson Foods [created_on] => 2010-10-08 11:11:13 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [13] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 27644 [tag] => Tony Thomas [created_on] => 2011-06-13 15:42:18 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [14] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33390 [tag] => Industries [created_on] => 2012-01-23 15:38:43 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 20254 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [15] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33391 [tag] => Print Edition [created_on] => 2012-01-23 15:38:58 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 20254 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [16] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33402 [tag] => Spotlight [created_on] => 2012-01-23 15:54:02 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33391 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [17] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33405 [tag] => Agriculture & Poultry [created_on] => 2012-01-23 15:55:00 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [18] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33406 [tag] => Architecture [created_on] => 2012-01-23 15:55:28 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [19] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33407 [tag] => Banking & Finance [created_on] => 2012-01-23 15:55:51 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [20] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33408 [tag] => Business Services [created_on] => 2012-01-23 15:56:09 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [21] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33409 [tag] => Construction [created_on] => 2012-01-23 15:56:35 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [22] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33410 [tag] => Education [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:00:47 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [23] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33411 [tag] => Energy [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:01:07 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [24] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33412 [tag] => Government & Politics [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:01:21 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [25] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33413 [tag] => Health Care [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:01:43 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [26] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33414 [tag] => Insurance [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:01:58 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [27] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33415 [tag] => Investments [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:02:11 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [28] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33416 [tag] => Legal [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:02:20 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [29] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33417 [tag] => Manufacturing [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:02:30 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [30] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33418 [tag] => Media & Marketing [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:03:00 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [31] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33419 [tag] => Nonprofits [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:03:25 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [32] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33420 [tag] => Public Companies [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:04:49 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [33] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33421 [tag] => Real Estate [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:04:58 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [34] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33422 [tag] => Restaurants & Food [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:05:12 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [35] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33423 [tag] => Retail [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:05:19 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [36] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33424 [tag] => Small Business [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:05:32 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [37] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33425 [tag] => Technology & Telecom [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:05:45 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [38] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33426 [tag] => Tourism [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:05:57 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [39] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33427 [tag] => Transportation [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:06:08 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [40] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33536 [tag] => Daily Report [created_on] => 2012-01-26 11:00:50 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 20254 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [41] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 34586 [tag] => Cover Story [created_on] => 2012-02-27 14:43:36 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33391 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [42] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 37065 [tag] => Tom Cotton [created_on] => 2012-05-30 08:24:05 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [43] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 39529 [tag] => Mark Darr [created_on] => 2012-09-04 15:39:40 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [44] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 39881 [tag] => Steve Standridge [created_on] => 2012-09-19 17:03:46 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [45] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 40380 [tag] => Bill Simon [created_on] => 2012-10-10 10:47:46 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [46] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 40735 [tag] => Catholic Health Initiatives [created_on] => 2012-10-26 08:45:32 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [47] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 40755 [tag] => USA Truck [created_on] => 2012-10-26 13:11:45 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [48] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 41202 [tag] => Murphy USA [created_on] => 2012-11-09 14:46:31 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [49] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 41315 [tag] => Obamacare [created_on] => 2012-11-12 10:15:52 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [50] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 41395 [tag] => Davy Carter [created_on] => 2012-11-15 12:38:36 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [51] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 41520 [tag] => Donnie Smith [created_on] => 2012-11-19 07:14:57 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [52] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 42843 [tag] => Arkansas Hospital Association [created_on] => 2013-01-25 15:48:34 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [53] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 42874 [tag] => Affordable Care Act [created_on] => 2013-01-25 16:33:19 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [54] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 43312 [tag] => John Simone [created_on] => 2013-02-18 09:54:22 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [55] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 44042 [tag] => Brandon Barber [created_on] => 2013-03-20 13:15:45 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [56] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 44047 [tag] => Brandon Rains [created_on] => 2013-03-20 15:26:06 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [57] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 44127 [tag] => P.K. Holmes III [created_on] => 2013-03-22 11:55:56 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [58] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 44544 [tag] => private option [created_on] => 2013-04-08 16:53:13 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [59] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 44609 [tag] => Arvest Bank Group Inc. [created_on] => 2013-04-12 13:40:05 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [60] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 45547 [tag] => Wal-Mart Stores [created_on] => 2013-05-23 11:37:09 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [61] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 45728 [tag] => James Van Doren [created_on] => 2013-05-31 13:10:57 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [62] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 45805 [tag] => Jeff Whorton [created_on] => 2013-06-04 16:38:45 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [63] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 46863 [tag] => Community Health Systems [created_on] => 2013-07-30 08:26:52 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [64] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 47841 [tag] => First Federal Bancshares of Arkansas [created_on] => 2013-09-16 11:10:44 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [65] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 48560 [tag] => Michael Maggio [created_on] => 2013-10-25 13:42:53 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [66] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 49045 [tag] => Doug McMillon [created_on] => 2013-11-25 07:39:54 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [67] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 49182 [tag] => John Stacks [created_on] => 2013-12-03 21:39:01 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [68] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 50029 [tag] => Summit Bancorp Inc. [created_on] => 2014-01-24 15:27:17 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [69] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 50956 [tag] => Dennis Smiley [created_on] => 2014-03-14 15:54:55 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [70] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 50977 [tag] => Duncan Mac Naughton [created_on] => 2014-03-18 10:21:28 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [71] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 52355 [tag] => Hillshire Brands [created_on] => 2014-05-27 09:53:03 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [72] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 53010 [tag] => ArcBest [created_on] => 2014-07-02 14:44:53 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [73] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 53215 [tag] => Dennis Leatherby [created_on] => 2014-07-18 14:15:09 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [74] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 53287 [tag] => Greg Foran [created_on] => 2014-07-24 08:00:30 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [75] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 53656 [tag] => Dale Bartlett [created_on] => 2014-08-15 15:36:40 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [76] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 53657 [tag] => Jason Coleman [created_on] => 2014-08-15 15:36:40 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [77] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 53801 [tag] => Crittenden Regional Hospital [created_on] => 2014-08-25 10:47:52 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [78] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 53802 [tag] => Gene Cashman [created_on] => 2014-08-25 10:47:52 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [79] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 53890 [tag] => CHI St. Vincent [created_on] => 2014-08-29 13:31:16 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [80] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 54476 [tag] => Windstream Holdings Corp. [created_on] => 2014-10-01 07:22:49 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [81] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 54688 [tag] => Intervest Bancshares Corp. [created_on] => 2014-10-15 12:41:43 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [82] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 54935 [tag] => Turner Grain [created_on] => 2014-11-06 11:05:49 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [83] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 55176 [tag] => PAM Transport [created_on] => 2014-11-21 09:32:54 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [84] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 55269 [tag] => J.B. Hunt Transport Services [created_on] => 2014-11-26 09:37:22 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [85] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 55682 [tag] => Arkansas Chapter of the Healthcare Financial Management Association [created_on] => 2014-12-19 10:25:19 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) ) [issues] => Array ( ) ) )
Array
(
    [55682] => Arkansas Chapter of the Healthcare Financial Management Association
    [10763] => Asa Hutchinson
    [37065] => Tom Cotton
    [1164] => Mark Pryor
    [9220] => Rex Nelson
    [44544] => private option
    [41315] => Obamacare
    [5958] => Gary Bebow
    [42874] => Affordable Care Act
    [42843] => Arkansas Hospital Association
    [40735] => Catholic Health Initiatives
    [53890] => CHI St. Vincent
    [655] => White County Medical Center
    [46863] => Community Health Systems
    [648] => Baptist Health
    [53801] => Crittenden Regional Hospital
    [53802] => Gene Cashman
    [20260] => Tyson Foods
    [52355] => Hillshire Brands
    [53215] => Dennis Leatherby
    [41520] => Donnie Smith
    [13455] => Bank of the Ozarks
    [50029] => Summit Bancorp Inc.
    [54688] => Intervest Bancshares Corp.
    [44609] => Arvest Bank Group Inc.
    [11952] => Simmons First National Bank
    [47841] => First Federal Bancshares of Arkansas
    [54935] => Turner Grain
    [53656] => Dale Bartlett
    [53657] => Jason Coleman
    [41395] => Davy Carter
    [44042] => Brandon Barber
    [45728] => James Van Doren
    [44127] => P.K. Holmes III
    [45805] => Jeff Whorton
    [44047] => Brandon Rains
    [49182] => John Stacks
    [39881] => Steve Standridge
    [50956] => Dennis Smiley
    [8764] => John Rogers
    [40755] => USA Truck
    [43312] => John Simone
    [55176] => PAM Transport
    [53010] => ArcBest
    [55269] => J.B. Hunt Transport Services
    [49045] => Doug McMillon
    [45547] => Wal-Mart Stores
    [40380] => Bill Simon
    [50977] => Duncan Mac Naughton
    [53287] => Greg Foran
    [41202] => Murphy USA
    [54476] => Windstream Holdings Corp.
    [27644] => Tony Thomas
    [39529] => Mark Darr
    [3287] => Martha Shoffner
    [48560] => Michael Maggio
    [12717] => Steven Jones
    [20254] => Arkansas Business
    [33390] => Industries
    [33405] => Agriculture & Poultry
    [33406] => Architecture
    [33407] => Banking & Finance
    [33408] => Business Services
    [33409] => Construction
    [33410] => Education
    [33411] => Energy
    [33412] => Government & Politics
    [33413] => Health Care
    [33414] => Insurance
    [33415] => Investments
    [33416] => Legal
    [33417] => Manufacturing
    [33418] => Media & Marketing
    [33419] => Nonprofits
    [33420] => Public Companies
    [33421] => Real Estate
    [33422] => Restaurants & Food
    [33423] => Retail
    [33424] => Small Business
    [33425] => Technology & Telecom
    [33426] => Tourism
    [33427] => Transportation
    [33391] => Print Edition
    [33402] => Spotlight
    [34586] => Cover Story
    [33536] => Daily Report
)
PublishArticle Object
(
    [id] => 102530
    [object] => stdClass Object
        (
            [id] => 102530
            [title] => Best Quotes of 2014
            [summary] => They said it: The best quotes of the year.
            [content] => 

“We’ve been told we are the talk of China, and not in a good way.”

—Redman & Associates CEO Mel Redman, after his company announced its intention to move manufacturing of battery-operated cars from China to Rogers

“I’m not Job, but I know what he feels like.”

—Fitz Hill, president of Arkansas Baptist College, which secured long-term financing after months of cash-flow difficulties

“There’s certainly not a place in Vilonia to put a business, because it’s pretty much wiped out.”

—Sue Shock, owner of Sue Shock Insurance of Vilonia, who said the renovated 1,100-SF home that she used for her business was destroyed by the devastating tornado that hit Faulkner County on April 27

“It’s been a phenomenal boost to my work, like an IPO basically.”

—Guy W. Bell, a Little Rock artist describing the effect of his inclusion in the State of the Art exhibition at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

“His mother and I are brokenhearted about it. I don’t know everything that’s happened, and I’m not sure if I could talk about it if I did.”

—Dennis Smiley Sr., regarding allegations that his namesake son committed loan fraud against some 20 banks and forged his name on documents

“Your honor, I come before you with a humble heart. More than a half-decade ago, I made bad decisions based on my selfishness and pride. I failed those who loved and trusted me the most.”

—Former high-profile northwest Arkansas developer Brandon Barber, addressing U.S. District Judge P.K. Holmes before being sentenced for bank fraud and money laundering 

“This was not a Ponzi scheme, not repetitive fraud. When his business collapsed he could have done what honest businessmen did, take his lumps.”

—Holmes, before sentencing Barber to serve 65 months in federal prison

“My grandmother told me I could be anything I wanted to be. I want to be a good executive. I don’t want to be a good female executive.”

—Shannon Newton, after being named president of the Arkansas Trucking Association

“Speaking to newspapers, it’s still not all hot tubs and champagne, but it’s much better than it was five years ago.”

—Tom Larimer, executive director of the Arkansas Press Association, on the state of the newspaper industry

“You’ve never had anyone stand before you who was closer to having this thing resolved.”

—Convicted former insurance agent Steve Standridge to U.S. District Judge Susan Hickey, in a last-ditch effort to avoid going to federal prison

“I question that. And I question that because in the past six months … no restitution has been made to the victims in this case, not even a token amount. And that gives me pause.” 

—Hickey, in response

“Carissa turned a year old when I was in drug rehab, and I gave her a mother for her birthday. And that’s a true story.”

—Martha Moore, owner of paving company McCormick Works, describing how her love for her daughter led Moore to kick drugs and get her life together

“I regret I wasn’t stronger. I should have stood my ground and took my chances with the jury. I shouldn’t have signed. I just shouldn’t have signed the plea agreement.”

—James Van Doren, who was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison after trying to withdraw a guilty plea to one count of money laundering as part of a conspiracy to defraud creditors of Brandon Barber

“We’ve lost it all.” 

—A member of the Acme Holding Co. employee stock ownership plan regarding the investment in Allied Bank’s parent company after Lex Golden steered the venture into bankruptcy court

“These folks are brand new to the process. They need help learning about how to use health care benefits. They are unfamiliar with wellness. They are unfamiliar with physician appointments, with compliance, with medication. They really need to be taught how to use the system, and the good news is they really want to be taught.”

—Max Greenwood, spokeswoman for Arkansas Blue Cross & Blue Shield, on Arkansans newly insured through the “private option”

“The stakes are high because of the importance of this project to everyone. It’s a little different than doing a corporate office for a corporation.”

—David Porter of Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects, speaking about the renovation of Little Rock’s 75-year-old Robinson Center

“People in the business world are smart, and it doesn’t take them long to figure out that if Wal-Mart is doing it because it helps their bottom line and also improves their green thumbprint, then it must be a smart thing to do.”

—Ken Johnson, vice president for communications at the Solar Energy Industries Association, on other businesses expanding their solar energy generating capacity

“That’s the great thing about cheese making, is that if you mess up a batch, you take it to the market and charge extra. It’s crazy.”

—Kent Walker, founder of Kent Walker Artisan Cheese

“We were just depositing the cash in a way we thought our bank had told us to do years ago.”

—Patrice Duncan, owner of Duncan Outdoors Inc. of Conway, who pleaded guilty in May to one count of aiding and abetting “structuring” transactions and was sentenced in August to two years of probation. Duncan and her husband also forfeited the $94,500, because the U.S. Attorney’s Office alleged she made smaller bank deposits in order to sidestep a bank’s requirement to report deposits of $10,000 or more.

“We have had several farmers from the Midsouth call us — wanted to know if we had any money of theirs that they could access, just kind of a state of panic.”

—David Choate, vice president of grain and barge operation for Bruce Oakley Inc. of North Little Rock, speaking in August as news of the financial troubles at Turner Grain Merchandising Inc. of Brinkley began to surface

“The tax cuts the Legislature passed — while they made great partisan sense to the people who passed them — boy, you can’t maybe just flip the switch and not put any more money into prisons or Medicaid or some of those things.”

—Richard Weiss, retiring director of the Department of Finance & Administration, regarding reconciling the state’s fiscal obligations with available funds

“I could easily — easily — use 500 more drivers right now. He who has the drivers will have the business. That’s the name of the game.”

—Maverick USA Inc. CEO Steve Maverick, discussing the current driver shortage in the industry

[caption] => They said it: The best quotes of the year in Arkansas Business. [status] => publish [published_on] => 2014-12-22 00:00:00 [updated_on] => 2014-12-19 13:57:36 [created_on] => 2014-12-19 11:11:59 [creator_id] => 27 [updater_id] => 27 [author_id] => 61 [author_other_name] => [author_other_email] => [legacy_id] => [legacy_post_id] => [slug] => best-quotes-of-2014 [legacy_id_family] => [expired] => 0 [high_res] => [related] => Array ( ) [creator] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 27 [email] => tbaker@abpg.com [username] => tbaker [logins] => 5849 [last_login] => 1419264991 [display_name] => Tre Baker ) [updater] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 27 [email] => tbaker@abpg.com [username] => tbaker [logins] => 5849 [last_login] => 1419264991 [display_name] => Tre Baker ) [author] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 61 [email] => info@abpg.com [username] => abstaff [logins] => 0 [last_login] => [display_name] => Arkansas Business Staff ) [assets] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 57732 [title] => Best Quotes of 2014 [caption] => [published_on] => 2014-12-19 13:56:00 [credit] => [type] => image [path] => http://assets.inarkansas.com/57732/best-quotes-of-2014.jpg [embed_code] => [video_id] => [position] => 0 [width] => 660 [height] => 440 [assets] => Array ( ) ) ) [tags] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 1872 [tag] => Crystal Bridges Museum [created_on] => 2009-11-03 14:27:53 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 13967 [tag] => Arkansas Baptist College [created_on] => 2010-06-11 16:27:16 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [2] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 14116 [tag] => David Choate [created_on] => 2010-06-23 14:29:17 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [3] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 15022 [tag] => Robinson Center [created_on] => 2010-07-07 14:30:28 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [4] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 18340 [tag] => Richard Weiss [created_on] => 2010-08-26 14:44:55 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [5] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 20254 [tag] => Arkansas Business [created_on] => 2010-10-08 09:46:43 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [6] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 20756 [tag] => Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects [created_on] => 2010-10-27 17:35:49 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [7] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 21267 [tag] => Fitz Hill [created_on] => 2010-11-11 15:48:54 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [8] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 21954 [tag] => Kent Walker [created_on] => 2010-12-03 15:51:05 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [9] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 26838 [tag] => Guy Bell [created_on] => 2011-05-16 10:45:02 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [10] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33390 [tag] => Industries [created_on] => 2012-01-23 15:38:43 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 20254 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [11] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33391 [tag] => Print Edition [created_on] => 2012-01-23 15:38:58 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 20254 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [12] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33402 [tag] => Spotlight [created_on] => 2012-01-23 15:54:02 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33391 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [13] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33405 [tag] => Agriculture & Poultry [created_on] => 2012-01-23 15:55:00 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [14] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33406 [tag] => Architecture [created_on] => 2012-01-23 15:55:28 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [15] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33407 [tag] => Banking & Finance [created_on] => 2012-01-23 15:55:51 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [16] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33408 [tag] => Business Services [created_on] => 2012-01-23 15:56:09 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [17] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33409 [tag] => Construction [created_on] => 2012-01-23 15:56:35 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [18] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33410 [tag] => Education [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:00:47 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [19] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33411 [tag] => Energy [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:01:07 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [20] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33412 [tag] => Government & Politics [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:01:21 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [21] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33413 [tag] => Health Care [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:01:43 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [22] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33414 [tag] => Insurance [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:01:58 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [23] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33415 [tag] => Investments [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:02:11 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [24] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33416 [tag] => Legal [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:02:20 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [25] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33417 [tag] => Manufacturing [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:02:30 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [26] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33418 [tag] => Media & Marketing [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:03:00 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [27] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33419 [tag] => Nonprofits [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:03:25 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [28] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33420 [tag] => Public Companies [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:04:49 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [29] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33421 [tag] => Real Estate [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:04:58 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [30] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33422 [tag] => Restaurants & Food [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:05:12 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [31] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33423 [tag] => Retail [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:05:19 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [32] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33424 [tag] => Small Business [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:05:32 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [33] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33425 [tag] => Technology & Telecom [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:05:45 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [34] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33426 [tag] => Tourism [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:05:57 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [35] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33427 [tag] => Transportation [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:06:08 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [36] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33536 [tag] => Daily Report [created_on] => 2012-01-26 11:00:50 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 20254 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [37] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 36872 [tag] => Arkansas Blue Cross & Blue Shield [created_on] => 2012-05-22 17:30:39 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [38] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 39881 [tag] => Steve Standridge [created_on] => 2012-09-19 17:03:46 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [39] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 44042 [tag] => Brandon Barber [created_on] => 2013-03-20 13:15:45 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [40] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 44473 [tag] => Arkansas Department of Finance & Administration [created_on] => 2013-04-05 14:05:25 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [41] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 44481 [tag] => Max Greenwood [created_on] => 2013-04-05 14:11:47 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [42] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 45011 [tag] => Maverick USA [created_on] => 2013-04-26 12:08:25 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [43] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 45473 [tag] => Bruce Oakley Inc. [created_on] => 2013-05-17 15:24:42 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [44] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 45480 [tag] => Arkansas Trucking Association [created_on] => 2013-05-17 16:12:28 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [45] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 45728 [tag] => James Van Doren [created_on] => 2013-05-31 13:10:57 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [46] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 45803 [tag] => P.K. Holmes [created_on] => 2013-06-04 16:38:45 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [47] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 46162 [tag] => Kent Walker Artisan Cheese [created_on] => 2013-06-20 11:07:46 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [48] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 46787 [tag] => Arkansas Press Association [created_on] => 2013-07-26 13:59:38 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [49] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 47421 [tag] => Tom Larimar [created_on] => 2013-08-23 14:29:24 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [50] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 50550 [tag] => Redman & Associates [created_on] => 2014-02-21 16:32:27 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [51] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 50551 [tag] => Mel Redman [created_on] => 2014-02-21 16:32:27 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [52] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 50956 [tag] => Dennis Smiley [created_on] => 2014-03-14 15:54:55 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [53] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 51812 [tag] => Martha Moore [created_on] => 2014-04-25 14:33:45 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [54] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 51813 [tag] => McCormick Works [created_on] => 2014-04-25 14:33:46 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [55] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 51877 [tag] => Acme Holding Co. [created_on] => 2014-04-29 16:27:33 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [56] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 51878 [tag] => Lex Golden [created_on] => 2014-04-29 16:27:34 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [57] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 52182 [tag] => Patrice Duncan [created_on] => 2014-05-14 20:01:54 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [58] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 52184 [tag] => Duncan Outdoors [created_on] => 2014-05-14 20:01:54 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [59] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 52687 [tag] => Shannon Newton [created_on] => 2014-06-11 17:04:43 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [60] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 53223 [tag] => Susan Hickey [created_on] => 2014-07-18 14:42:22 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [61] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 53522 [tag] => David Porter [created_on] => 2014-08-08 13:49:13 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [62] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 53526 [tag] => Sue Shock [created_on] => 2014-08-08 13:58:17 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [63] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 55418 [tag] => Solar Energy Industries Association [created_on] => 2014-12-05 08:26:45 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [64] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 55419 [tag] => Ken Johnson [created_on] => 2014-12-05 08:26:45 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [65] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 55684 [tag] => Steve Maverick [created_on] => 2014-12-19 11:12:02 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) ) [issues] => Array ( ) ) )
Array
(
    [55684] => Steve Maverick
    [50551] => Mel Redman
    [50550] => Redman & Associates
    [21267] => Fitz Hill
    [13967] => Arkansas Baptist College
    [53526] => Sue Shock
    [26838] => Guy Bell
    [1872] => Crystal Bridges Museum
    [50956] => Dennis Smiley
    [44042] => Brandon Barber
    [45803] => P.K. Holmes
    [52687] => Shannon Newton
    [45480] => Arkansas Trucking Association
    [47421] => Tom Larimar
    [46787] => Arkansas Press Association
    [53223] => Susan Hickey
    [39881] => Steve Standridge
    [51812] => Martha Moore
    [51813] => McCormick Works
    [45728] => James Van Doren
    [51877] => Acme Holding Co.
    [51878] => Lex Golden
    [44481] => Max Greenwood
    [36872] => Arkansas Blue Cross & Blue Shield
    [53522] => David Porter
    [20756] => Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects
    [15022] => Robinson Center
    [55419] => Ken Johnson
    [55418] => Solar Energy Industries Association
    [21954] => Kent Walker
    [46162] => Kent Walker Artisan Cheese
    [52182] => Patrice Duncan
    [52184] => Duncan Outdoors
    [14116] => David Choate
    [45473] => Bruce Oakley Inc.
    [18340] => Richard Weiss
    [44473] => Arkansas Department of Finance & Administration
    [45011] => Maverick USA
    [20254] => Arkansas Business
    [33390] => Industries
    [33405] => Agriculture & Poultry
    [33406] => Architecture
    [33407] => Banking & Finance
    [33408] => Business Services
    [33409] => Construction
    [33410] => Education
    [33411] => Energy
    [33412] => Government & Politics
    [33413] => Health Care
    [33414] => Insurance
    [33415] => Investments
    [33416] => Legal
    [33417] => Manufacturing
    [33418] => Media & Marketing
    [33419] => Nonprofits
    [33420] => Public Companies
    [33421] => Real Estate
    [33422] => Restaurants & Food
    [33423] => Retail
    [33424] => Small Business
    [33425] => Technology & Telecom
    [33426] => Tourism
    [33427] => Transportation
    [33391] => Print Edition
    [33402] => Spotlight
    [33536] => Daily Report
)
PublishArticle Object
(
    [id] => 102494
    [object] => stdClass Object
        (
            [id] => 102494
            [title] => Outlets at Little Rock Developer Talks Construction, Tenants, Impact
            [summary] => The Outlets at Little Rock will open this summer. Michael Barelli, vice president of New England Development, recently talked to Arkansas Business about the 325,000-SF shopping center coming to central Arkansas.
            [content] => 

Things are taking shape at what was once a wooded area near the intersection of I-30 and I-430 in southwest Little Rock — a site that will soon host Arkansas' first outlet mall.

New England Development purchased the 30-acre tract of land at Gateway Town Center in May for $5.2 million. Site work on the 325,000-SF shopping center began the next month. Now, Michael Barelli, vice president of New England Development of Newton, Massachusetts, says the entire building foundation has been poured, and steel is following quickly behind. CDI Contractors LLC of Little Rock is the construction company on the job.

When it opens in the summer, the Outlets at Little Rock is expected to have about 75 stores — both shops and restaurants — and support about 1,000 jobs. New England Development expects the shopping center to generate $100 million in annual retail sales, and in turn, generate $6.5 million in state sales tax, $1.5 million in city taxes and $1 million in county taxes.

Arkansas Business spoke with Barelli this week for an update on the development. Here's some of that conversation:

Arkansas Business: How is construction different for an outlet mall, compared to a regional mall?

Michael Barelli: It's similar. The fact an outlet isn't an enclosed mall means the staging of the construction is a little different. It means you're building individual buildings, so that makes the pacing different, but in terms of time and how long it takes, it's a similar building process.

AB: Do the demographics of a particular area factor into the size and layout of the outlet mall?

MB: Size-wise, we work hard to make them the right for the size and depth of the market, so in a market like Little Rock, we feel like 325,000-SF of retail that we are delivering is the right size — especially for a center that is the only one in the state and for a great distance, so it will be a destination. This is right in the wheelhouse or sweet-spot of outlet centers around the country. If it's a larger market, you start to see 400,000-SF and above.

AB: What do you see in current retail trends and how it affects Outlets at Little Rock?

MB: Outlet shopping has been very popular, especially, in the past few years. I think people are more cost-conscious and the relative rarity of outlet centers and the kind of deals they offer… we really see these centers becoming destinations and magnets for retail activity. It's not like you can build an outlet center in every part of the country, and there won't be as many outlets as regional malls. They will remain somewhat of a unique product type, but we see them being a strong piece of the market.

AB: Palm Beach Outlets was mentioned as a barometer for possible tenants at Outlets at Little Rock. Is that still so?

MB: We absolutely still plan to bring the same types of tenants as the Palm Beach center.

(More: Read more about possible tenants in this story from June.)

AB: Any idea on when announcements could be made on tenants?

MB: It's off in the distance, but we will be open summer 2015, so our tenants typically start announcing — and allowing us to announce their names — a few months before that … There will be a lot of tenant action around that time.

AB: What kind of impact does The Grove have on the outlet mall?

MB: Tommy Hodges' plan includes very dramatic lighting of the elm trees, which is great. It creates a beacon along the highway, that's important, because it marks the place. Another great thing, in terms of synergy, is the plan to deliver a number of hotels and restaurants. Those are all uses that compliment the outlet center and allows people to stay an extra day or spend a little more time at our center to shop and dine. In terms of synergy and complimentary uses, The Grove and all that is great for the outlet center.

[caption] => [status] => publish [published_on] => 2014-12-18 08:30:00 [updated_on] => 2014-12-18 16:46:30 [created_on] => 2014-12-17 16:31:16 [creator_id] => 93 [updater_id] => 93 [author_id] => 93 [author_other_name] => [author_other_email] => [legacy_id] => [legacy_post_id] => [slug] => outlets-at-little-rock-developer-talks-construction-tenants-impact [legacy_id_family] => [expired] => 0 [high_res] => [related] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 102249 [title] => Gateway's Grove Project Adds to 2015 Commercial Construction [summary] => A 33-acre piece of Little Rock’s Gateway Town Center development is poised to add some new commercial construction in 2015. [content] =>

A 33-acre piece of Little Rock’s Gateway Town Center development is poised to add some new commercial construction in 2015.

Dubbed The Grove, the land is envisioned to become an entertainment district with hotels, restaurants and other attractions.

“As an amenity, we’re going to light up all the trees year-round,” said Tommy Hodges, developer of Gateway Town Center. “We’ll be planting 500 trees, and 75 are already in the ground.”

Hodges said the inspiration for planting and lighting the decorative elm trees was Highland Park Village in Dallas.

“Synergy starts building on itself,” he said, “and we’re just starting to get the synergy from the Bass Pro Shop and the outlet mall,” with its 325,000 SF of shops set to open next year (No. 7 at $35 million). “The improved interstate access is a milestone.”

Infrastructure improvements valued at $1.5 million are already in motion on The Grove site in the northeast quadrant of the Gateway Town Center project.

[caption] => [status] => publish [published_on] => 2014-12-08 00:00:00 [updated_on] => 2014-12-11 13:12:12 [created_on] => 2014-12-05 08:32:00 [creator_id] => 27 [updater_id] => 27 [author_id] => 56 [author_other_name] => [author_other_email] => [legacy_id] => [legacy_post_id] => [slug] => gateways-grove-project-adds-to-2015-commercial-construction [legacy_id_family] => [expired] => 0 [high_res] => ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 101019 [title] => Otter Creek Mall Development Decades in the Making [summary] => Once upon a time, the current site of the Gateway Town Center and Bass Pro developments was slated to be part of a grand 1.1 million-SF regional mall development. The fabled Otter Creek Mall never achieved escape velocity from its drawing board concept unveiled on April Fool’s Day in 1980. [content] =>

(Editor’s Note: This is the latest in a series of business history feature stories. Suggestions for future Fifth Monday articles are welcome. Please contact Gwen Moritz at (501) 372-1443 or GMoritz@ABPG.com.)

These days, the northwest corner of Interstates 30 and 430 is an anthill of construction activity with subcontractors excavating soil, pouring concrete, moving dirt and erecting steel. Much of the action is focused on building The Outlets at Little Rock, a $30 million retailing destination scheduled to bring 325,000 SF of shops on line next summer at the Gateway Town Center.

The development bustle, next door to the Bass Pro Shop that started things rolling at Gateway, is a sight decades in the making.

Once upon a time, the outlet mall site and Bass Pro location were slated to be part of a grand 1.1 million-SF regional mall development. The fabled Otter Creek Mall never achieved escape velocity from its drawing board concept unveiled on April Fool’s Day in 1980.

The announced August 1982 groundbreaking for the “state’s largest mall” would be the first in a series of projected starts that would come and go without event.

Tommy Hodges has worked deals on the site since 1998 and seen his share of promising proposals evaporate and purchase options expire.

“Somehow the money didn’t materialize, and the property went back fallow,” said Hodges, who is overseeing development of Gateway Town Center.

He heads a list of a dozen developers who entered and exited the narrative during the past 35 years. The commercial aspirations for the property date back even further.

The story is one of exultation and frustration among its owners, with plot twists colored by bruised egos, battered friendships and testy litigation.

Today’s Gateway Town Center site and would-be location of the Otter Creek Mall were part of a big-time land play launched about 60 years ago.

The play entailed assembling more than 1,000 acres in advance of a new interstate intersection to be built near the Pulaski-Saline county line.

The exact location of the future I-430 connection with I-30 required some calculated guesswork in the early 1950s. The planned link between I-40 and I-30 was only a future prospect back then, and question marks hovered over the final, definitive route.

Faced with that uncertainty, a broad swath of land was assembled in hopes of snagging the future interchange site and with it a hefty multiplier effect in value for the surrounding property.

This acreage was ultimately controlled by James C. Becknell Sr., a Little Rock real estate investor and retired vice president and general merchandising manager of Pfeifer’s of Arkansas department stores.

“He was speculating on the route of 430, and he hit it dead on,” said Dan Robinson, an investor in the Otter Creek Mall site from 1971-85.

Becknell nailed the location of the future interchange, but a lagging timetable to build I-430 would delay development in the area far longer than expected. Becknell wouldn’t see the highway construction even start during his lifetime.

The last stage of I-430 from Col. Glenn Road south to I-30 was completed in November 1975. By then, Becknell had been gone for 11 years, and his widow, Aileen, and namesake son had teamed up with Luke Quinn and Ed Moore to form Otter Creek Development Co. with a roster of limited partners who contributed cash.

“We sort of fell into it be-cause we owned the property across the interstate” from the Becknells, Moore said in a recent interview. “When they opened 430, we were sure glad.”

Quinn and Moore had developed a Texaco Truck Center in the mid-1960s on the south side of I-30 from what would become the Becknells’ corner at I-430. The truck stop project became a landmark for successful possibilities in the area.

Aileen Becknell contributed 322 acres to Otter Creek Development Co. while Quinn and Moore added 50 acres. The planned home of the Otter Creek Mall was included in her acreage.

Real estate records indicate Aileen Becknell’s consideration for her property was $250,000. She also retained a sizable ownership stake in the property through Otter Creek Development when the investment group was formed in 1971.

Otter Creek Development was led by two general partners, Luke Quinn and James Becknell Jr.

His mother transferred her shares in Otter Creek Development into trusts for her two granddaughters, with her son as trustee.

By 1979, the Becknell family trusts would be washed out of the ownership picture. The door to that circumstance was opened by James Becknell Jr., who was in financial distress at the time.

He used the trust shares in Otter Creek Development to borrow a combined $720,000 from two Little Rock banks: Worthen Bank & Trust and First National Bank.

Court documents indicate the loans were linked with Becknell’s involvement in the failed redevelopment of the Little Rock train station and surrounding property into a shopping and entertainment complex augmented by office space leased to state agencies.

Becknell was unable to repay the loans, and the banks took possession of the trust shares through foreclosure. The trust shares later were purchased from the banks by the Otter Creek limited partners for $873,000, about $60,000 more than was owed in outstanding principle and interest.

During the dispute, Becknell provided an appraisal that placed the value of the limited partnership’s property at $6.8 million.

His effort to hold onto the trust shares led to a series of lawsuits in state and federal court that culminated in a 1983 ruling that settled the controversy.

Along the way, Becknell attempted to derail the foreclosure sale of the trust shares by negotiating a $2.9 million sale of Otter Creek Development land to Dean Dauley, a Dallas developer. That offer and acceptance was declared null and void in court action because the other limited partners didn’t vote on it and were unaware of it.

During his court battles, Becknell alleged that the other members of Otter Creek Development Co. conspired with the banks to push him out of the ownership picture and acquire his family’s shares on the cheap.

In his ruling two months after a three-day nonjury trial 31 years ago this month, U.S. District Judge H. Franklin Waters believed the limited partners didn’t do anything to hinder Becknell from remaining in the investment group.

“To the contrary, their attitude was that they would not do anything in any way to obstruct Mr. Becknell’s opportunity to hold onto the partnership units owned by the trusts created by his mother.

“The court was particularly impressed with the testimony of Mr. [Robert] Light [a limited partner and Little Rock attorney]. He obviously testified with some discomfort because he had been a close friend of Becknell since early childhood.

“He testified that they had known each other since they were in kindergarten together, and that each was a participant in the other’s wedding. He testified that he still considered himself to be a close friend of Becknell.

“In spite of this, and with some obvious pain, he testified that, in effect, Becknell had, because of his financial difficulties, lost sight of the reasons for which the partnership was formed.

“His testimony was that everyone at the time understood that it was to be formed for the purpose of the partners realizing long-term income, and it was not intended that it be used as a vehicle to sell real estate as contemplated by the Dauley deal.”

Mall Talk

Before Becknell’s financial meltdown, he and Quinn had considered proposals from four national shopping center developers for a regional retail project. Paul Broadhead & Associates Inc. of Meridian, Mississippi, was selected by Otter Creek Development in March 5, 1980.

A simple site plan showed a mall configuration in the shape of an elongated plus sign, tilted from true north toward the northeast. The vision for Otter Creek Mall included more than 100 stores, with four major department stores anchoring the wings of the project.

The property had recently been annexed into Little Rock, and Otter Creek Development had brought water and sewer service to its land through the formation of a special improvement district.

An April 2, 1980, article adjacent to the Arkansas Gazette’s coverage of the mall plan unveiling noted that the prime rate had climbed to 19.75 percent. Six months earlier, it had been 13.5 percent.

Before the end of that year, the cost of borrowing money would reach 21.5 percent, a record that few want to see broken.

Double-digit interest rates would dominate the decade and hang over the proposed mall, which was to be a joint venture between Paul Broadhead & Associates and Otter Creek Development Co.

M.G. “Buddy” Herring Jr. was president and general partner of PB&A, which was touted in 1980 as having 17 malls developed or under construction. The firm would morph into The Herring Group of Dallas in 1984 when he acquired sole ownership of the company.

Although his stake in the Otter Creek Mall site would pass to another, Herring worked on deals for the property off and on for more than a quarter of a century.

His last run came in 2006, when he optioned 176 acres in a deal that would have produced a $13 million sale. But Herring was unable to pull together the roster of retailers needed to make the development happen.

He filed preliminary plans for a project that included a 578,000-SF lifestyle center with a series of free-standing buildings, a neighboring 172,000-SF power center consisting of a series of adjoining buildings with space for several large retailers and eight outparcels with a combined building area of 101,000 SF under roof.

Delay After Delay

After the unveiling of the Otter Creek Mall project, Becknell in his role as co-general partner wouldn’t consent to the transfer of 120 acres to launch the joint venture with Herring’s group. That brewed up a litigious cloud in 1981 that would remain until the 1983 ruling by Judge Waters.

The first announced groundbreaking for Otter Creek Mall didn’t happen in 1982. However, a preliminary plat for the project was approved that November by city officials, and Dillard’s was named as one of the four department store anchors. The announced 1984-85 opening came and went.

Dissatisfaction and impatience among the limited partners in Otter Creek Develop-ment blossomed into litigation. The end result was the exodus of Quinn, Robinson, Jerry Grigsby and Larry Brashears from the investment group, and majority ownership of the Otter Creek Mall site passed in 1985 from Herring to Marathon U.S. Realties of Chicago, a subsidiary of Canadian Pacific Limited.

The $8.68 billion shipping, rail and hotel company based in Montreal purchased controlling interest in the Otter Creek land along with Herring’s other mall holdings.

The renovation and expansion of Little Rock’s University Mall and Park Plaza Mall, completed in 1988, added competitive complications.

An announced 1987 opening of Otter Creek Mall didn’t materialize. 1988 didn’t see it either. A 1989 opening became an equally unrealized 1991.

The property sign reflecting the ever-changing dates became something of a cry-wolf landmark for I-30 motorists.

The sign eventually collapsed, and some quipped that the weight from years of altered openings was responsible for the structural failure.

In May 1984, the property was linked with a loan commitment of $10 million from InterFirst Bank of Dallas. In March 1987, the land was tied to a $13.7 million funding agreement with Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in Toronto.

The planned mall site was mostly cleared in the 1980s, but trees and underbrush would have 20 largely undisturbed years to reclaim the land. Money reserved for the development went untapped.

“We thought that the mall would come in, and then the houses would follow,” Dan Robinson said. “But the reverse happened. The retailers wanted the rooftops to come first.”

New competitors rose up closer to residential concentrations to lure potential tenants to west Little Rock’s Pleasant Ridge Town Center, Shackleford Crossing and The Promenade at Chenal along with Alcoa Exchange Shopping Center in Bryant.

The Otter Creek Mall site languished as a no-man’s land of development despite its prescient location at the junction of two interstates.

Tommy Hodges and partners Jim Keet, Mike Flynn and Harry Aburrow put the property under contract in March 1998 and extended the agreement seven times before closing in January 2002.

They assembled 176 acres in deals totaling more than $2.4 million.

The biggest and most expensive piece of the puzzle was the Otter Creek Mall site purchased for $1.46 million from Canadian Pacific Properties Inc.

Hodges thought they had a deal worked out that would allow them to flip the property in 1999 for $6.5 million to Woodmont Co. of Fort Worth, Texas. That didn’t happen.

From 2002-10, Hodges had the property under contract to sell to four different groups, all interested in developing a regional retail center. One walked away leaving behind $200,000 spent to option the property without closing.

“It was just so frustrating,” Hodges said. “You were working hard, and it looked like you’re going to have success and something was always happening.”

The breakthrough deal to land Bass Pro Shop was the result of 10 years of work. The $3 million sale of 29.3 acres in 2012 brought retailing life long envisioned for the property.

It followed the 2010 sale of a 9-acre site for $910,000 to Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores Inc. of Oklahoma City, which built a super convenience store/truck stop. The creation of a TIF district was critical in making the Bass Pro deal happen, according to Hodges.

The tax increment financing added a $2 million piece to the financial puzzle for the needed infrastructure to support the 120,000-SF outdoor and sporting goods store.

“All of the smiles and handshakes will turn into something else if we screw this up,” Hodges remembers thinking after winning the support of Little Rock city leaders.

The traffic generated by Bass Pro also hastened the interstate access improvements now in motion along with construction of the outlet mall. The 30-acre site of The Outlets at Little Rock closed at $5.2 million earlier this year.

The commercial project provides a curious symmetry for Hodges, who was working to develop a new residential neighborhood nearby in the early 1970s. The Otter Creek Development investors had a request.

“They came to me and asked if I would consider calling it Otter Creek,” Hodges said. “I agreed, and we opened Otter Creek in 1975.”

He never dreamed he would be working to develop their commercial land all these years later.

[caption] => [status] => publish [published_on] => 2014-09-29 00:00:00 [updated_on] => 2014-09-30 11:44:38 [created_on] => 2014-09-26 13:51:33 [creator_id] => 27 [updater_id] => 18 [author_id] => 56 [author_other_name] => [author_other_email] => [legacy_id] => [legacy_post_id] => [slug] => otter-creek-mall-development-decades-in-the-making [legacy_id_family] => [expired] => 0 [high_res] => ) [2] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 100785 [title] => West Little Rock Hosts $1.4M Boot City Buy (Real Deals) [summary] => Development of a 20,000-SF Cavender’s Boot City store is in motion in Little Rock’s Gateway Town Center after a $1.38 million land deal. And the Town Pump and its adjoining liquor store in Little Rock’s Riverdale area changed hands in a $500,000 sale. [content] =>

Development of a 20,000-SF Cavender’s Boot City store is in motion in Little Rock’s Gateway Town Center after a $1.38 million land deal.

Cavender Investment Properties Ltd. of Tyler, Texas, acquired the 2.44-acre site near the southwest corner of Interstates 430 and 30 from Town Center LLC, led by Tommy Hodges.

The land previously was linked with a June 2012 mortgage of $3.5 million held by Malvern National Bank.

The property was part of a four-part assembly of 176 acres in January 2002 deals totaling more than $2.4 million.

The sellers were Canadian Pacific Properties Inc. of Alberta, Calgary, $1.46 million; Otter Creek Development Co. LLC, led by Robert McGinnis and Byron Eiseman, $784,000; Cynthia Keaton, $143,000; and Jennifer Mae Kochtitzky Trust No. 2, $81,390.

Town Pump Buy

An adjoining bar-liquor store combo in Little Rock’s Riverdale area changed hands in a $500,000 sale.

Lilac LLC, led by Andy Collins, purchased the Town Pump and Coppings Liquor at 1321 Rebsamen Park Road. The seller is JKD Real Estate Partnership, led by Jack Holtzman and Donna Vargas.

The 0.44-acre development was acquired for $200,000 in February 1991 from Claude and Barbara Carpenter.

Heights Home

A 3,399-SF home in the Heights area of Little Rock sold for $700,000. The Rhodes Family Revocable Trust, led by Noah Rhodes Jr., bought the house from the Diane Davenport Wilder Living Trust.

The deal is financed with a 15-year loan of $500,000 from BancorpSouth Bank of Tupelo, Mississippi.

The residence previously was linked with a November 2012 mortgage of $417,000 held by Delta Trust Mortgage Inc. of Little Rock.

The property was purchased for $649,000 in October 2010 from the Herbert Jones & Janet Treseder Joint Revocable Trust.

Parking Purchase

A 0.54-acre piece of downtown Little Rock rang up a $262,000 transaction.

Shollmier Family Ltd., led by James Shollmier, acquired the parking lot at the northwest corner of Third and State streets. The seller is Rainwater Properties LLC, led by Bryan Hosto.

The property previously was tied to a May 2008 mortgage of $192,000 held by BancorpSouth Bank of Tupelo, Mississippi.

Rainwater bought the parking lot for $140,000 in March 2004 from Alice Staton, Leonard Ewenstein, the Samuel Ruby Staton Revocable Trust and the Edward Ewing Staton Revocable Trust.

Courts Home

A 5,206-SF home in The Courts neighborhood of west Little Rock’s Chenal Valley development drew a $550,000 transaction.

Kevin and Judith Forte purchased the house from Patrick and Dina Ifrah.

The deal is funded with a 30-year loan of $417,000 from Delta Trust Mortgage Inc.

The residence previously was tied to a May 2008 mortgage of $80,000 and a September 2011 mortgage of $406,000 held by Charles Schwab Bank of Reno, Nevada.

The Ifrahs acquired the property for $564,000 in February 2006 from MJ Innovative Builders Corp., led by Jamal Solaimanian.

PV House

A 4,667-SF home in west Little Rock’s Pleasant Valley neighborhood changed hands in a $510,000 deal.

Anna and Michael Kendrick bought the house from the Robin N. Orsi Revocable Trust.

The deal is backed with a 25-year loan of $494,700 from Regions Bank of Birmingham, Alabama.

The residence previously helped secure an October 2011 mortgage of $640,000 held by Delta Trust & Bank of Little Rock.

The property was purchased for $450,000 in February 2002.

The seller was the Cathryn Ann Slayden Revocable Trust.

[caption] => [status] => publish [published_on] => 2014-09-15 00:00:00 [updated_on] => 2014-09-12 15:11:56 [created_on] => 2014-09-12 15:11:26 [creator_id] => 27 [updater_id] => 27 [author_id] => 56 [author_other_name] => [author_other_email] => [legacy_id] => [legacy_post_id] => [slug] => west-little-rock-hosts-14m-boot-city-buy-real-deals [legacy_id_family] => [expired] => 0 [high_res] => ) [3] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 99464 [title] => Site Work Starts on Outlet Mall in Southwest Little Rock [summary] => Site work for a proposed outlet mall has begun on a 30-acre tract of land at the Gateway Town Center in southwest Little Rock. Outlets at Little Rock is slated to open in summer 2015. [content] =>

Site work for a proposed outlet mall has begun on a 30-acre tract of land at the Gateway Town Center in southwest Little Rock.

Arkansas Business first reported on New England Development's planned purchase of the land in February. The $5.2 million land acquisition was made in May.

Michael Barelli, vice president of New England Development, said site work will continue for the next two months and include the clearing of trees, grading and the placement of drainage pipes and utilities. Building construction is expected to begin in mid to late August. 

The only outlet mall in Arkansas is slated to open in summer 2015.

New England Development has hired CDI Contractors LLC of Little Rock to manage construction of its 325,000-SF shopping center located near Bass Pro Shops and the intersection of I-30 and I-430.

Outlets at Little Rock is expected to bring approximately 75 stores and support about 1,000 jobs. New England Development did not release information on tenants of the outlet center or construction costs to erect the shopping center.

However, the development company said shoppers could expect a gamut of options, including men's, women's and children's clothing, home furnishings and shoes. New England Development said it expects the Little Rock center to be similar to its Palm Beach Outlets in West Palm Beach, Florida

The Florida location includes stores like Ann Taylor, Chico's, LOFT, Haggar Clothing Co., Jos. A. Bank, Men's Wearhouse, Calvin Klein, Banana Republic, Nike, Carter's, The Children's Place and Kitchen Collection.

In terms of food offerings, Barelli said the shopping center will offer both a food court and restaurant options.

"Traditionally, it's been strictly food courts," he said. "We're going to provide a food court, but we also want to have fast-casual and sit-down options with a little more of a dining destination or a place you can spend more time."

Location, Location, Location

A nearby Bass Pro Shops and being at the junction of two major highways was enough for New England Development to settle on Gateway Town Center for its outlet mall.

"It's about being at a destination with great access," Barelli said.

Deborah Black, vice president of marketing and public affairs at New England Development, said the development company is "delighted" to have Bass Pro Shops — the only one in Arkansas — so close to help bring in shoppers from areas outside of Little Rock.

"Outlet centers have a different sort of market reach than traditional shopping centers," Black said. "Tourists will come from miles and miles away to outlet centers."

New England Development expects Outlets at Little Rock to generate $100 million in annual retail sales, and in turn generate $6.5 million in state sales tax, $1.5 million in city taxes and $1 million in county taxes.

A Shift in the Industry

Although Outlets at Little Rock will be the state's only outlet mall when it opens for business, New England Development said there has been a shift from traditional shopping malls to more outlets.

In recent years, retailers have begun to see outlets as a growth and expansion opportunity, Black said.

"There is such an emphasis on value," she said. "Outlet centers meet the needs of consumers, and they meet the needs for retailers looking for expansion opportunities so it is really a win-win for everybody."

Barelli said it was "somewhat" of a surprise to learn Arkansas did not have an outlet mall. 

"There are not many metro areas that have this kind of population where an outlet center has not gone," he said. "It is something of a great opportunity."

Interstate Exits & Bass Pro Drive

The Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department is set to receive bids July 23 for improvements to the I-30/430 interchange near Gateway Town Center. 

The improvements include a new of the I-430 southbound off-ramp and connection to the frontage road that runs in front of the Gateway Town Center. Another improvement is moving the I-30 westbound off-ramp for Otter Creek and Mabelvale West Road farther east. 

Danny Straessle, spokesman for AHTD, said the work work should be done by the end of the calendar year. The estimated cost is between $5-$10 million.

In a project separate from AHTD, Bass Pro Drive, which currently ends at Otter Creek Road, will be extended behind Bass Pro Shops and Outlets at Little Rock, and connect with the frontage road.

[caption] => [status] => publish [published_on] => 2014-06-24 15:02:00 [updated_on] => 2014-12-12 08:54:31 [created_on] => 2014-06-24 15:13:00 [creator_id] => 93 [updater_id] => 93 [author_id] => 93 [author_other_name] => [author_other_email] => [legacy_id] => [legacy_post_id] => [slug] => site-work-starts-on-outlet-mall-in-west-little-rock [legacy_id_family] => [expired] => 0 [high_res] => ) [4] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 98655 [title] => LA Fitness Works Out $11.9 Million Transaction (Real Deals) [summary] => A 52,700-SF LA Fitness project in midtown Little Rock weighed in at $11.9 million. The planned site for an outlet mall in west Little Rock tipped the scales at $5.2 million. And California investors were on both sides of a $1.1 million fast-food sale in southwest Little Rock. [content] =>

A 52,700-SF LA Fitness project in midtown Little Rock weighed in at $11.9 million.

The Jim Hooper Trust of Upland, Calif., purchased the 1.64-acre development at 304 S. University Ave. from LAF LR Ltd. of Dallas.

The deal is financed with a five-year loan of $7.6 million from Bank of the West in San Francisco.

The property previously was linked with a January 2013 mortgage of $7.3 million from First Security Bank of Searcy.

LAF bought the location in the Park Avenue development for $2.18 million 15 months ago.

The seller was SPC Park Avenue Ltd., an affiliate of Strode Property Co. of Dallas.

Outlet Dirt

The planned site for an outlet mall in west Little Rock tipped the scales at $5.2 million.

NED Little Rock LLC of Newton, Mass., acquired the 29.7-acre location in the Gateway Town Center development from Town Center LLC, led by Tommy Hodges.

The land previously was tied to a June 2012 mortgage of $3.5 million held by Malvern National Bank.

The land was part of a four-part assembly of 176 acres in January 2002 deals totaling more than $2.4 million.

The sellers were Canadian Pacific Properties Inc. of Alberta, Calgary, $1.46 million; Otter Creek Development Co. LLC, led by Robert McGinnis and Byron Eiseman, $784,000; Cynthia Keaton, $143,000; and Jennifer Mae Kochtitzky Trust No. 2, $81,390.

KFC Purchase

California investors were on both sides of a $1.1 million fast-food sale in southwest Little Rock.

Ben and Bita Azizi of Beverly Hills, bought the KFC project at 8220 Geyer Springs Road from Donna Webben of Long Beach.

The 0.57-acre development previously was linked with a September 2005 mortgage of $950,000 originated by First Bank of Beverly Hills, Calif.

Webben acquired the property for $1.6 million more than eight years ago from Sovereign RF LLC of Palo Alto, Calif.

Dollar Location

The site for a Dollar General Store in the Landmark community in south Pulaski County rang up a $265,000 transaction.

Argen Holdings (Argen) LLC, led by Leonard Boen, purchased the 1.83-acre location at 14600 Arch Street Pike.

The seller is Koon Properties LLC, led by Walter and Diane Koon.

The property previously was tied to a May 2009 mortgage of $62,652 from Peoples Bank of Sheridan.

The land was assembled in two transactions with Teddy and Bonnie Lawson, $81,000 in March 2006; and the Lewis Caron Dortch estate, $67,000 in July 2012.

Rural Residence

A 3,482-SF home in west Pulaski County changed hands in a $700,000 transaction.

Thomas and Jennifer Burnett acquired the house from Sandra Holloway. The deal is backed with a 25-year loan of $400,000 from Regions Bank of Birmingham, Ala.

The 10.7-acre residential spread previously was linked with a February 2006 mortgage of $301,400 held by Citibank Federal Savings Bank of Reston, Va.

The location was purchased for $119,000 in April 1994 from Fletcher and Linda Clement.

St. John’s Home

A 3,125-SF home in Little Rock’s St. John’s Wood neighborhood sold in a $520,000 sale. Arthur and Angela Chandler bought the house from Michael and Marilyn Ledbetter.

The residence previously was tied to a March 2009 mortgage of $122,000 held by JPMorgan Chase Bank of Columbus, Ohio.

The Ledbetters acquired the property for $430,000 in July 2002 from George and Patricia Cannady.

Purcell Financing

A 12,514-SF auto service facility in southwest Little Rock was used to help secure a $6 million funding agreement.

Purcell Properties II Ltd., led by Robert and Juanita Purcell, obtained the five-year loan from Bank of America in Charlotte, N.C.

The 2.48-acre Purcell Tire & Service Center location at 11501 Mabelvale West Road was purchased for $76,000 in August 1983 from Otter Creek Development Co., led by Luke Quinn.

[caption] => [status] => publish [published_on] => 2014-05-12 00:00:00 [updated_on] => 2014-05-09 14:44:34 [created_on] => 2014-05-09 14:44:34 [creator_id] => 27 [updater_id] => 27 [author_id] => 56 [author_other_name] => [author_other_email] => [legacy_id] => [legacy_post_id] => [slug] => la-fitness-works-out-119-million-transaction-real-deals [legacy_id_family] => [expired] => 0 [high_res] => ) [5] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 97004 [title] => Developer Plans Outlet Mall at Gateway Town Center [summary] => New England Development Co. of Newton, Mass., is planning a 325,000-SF outlet mall called The Outlet at Little Rock near Bass Pro Shops at the Gateway Town Center in Little Rock. [content] =>

New England Development Co. of Newton, Mass., is planning a 325,000-SF outlet mall called The Outlet at Little Rock near Bass Pro Shops at the Gateway Town Center in Little Rock.

Developer Tommy Hodges, who worked for years on what ultimately became Gateway, said the development company signed a $5.2 million deal Thursday morning to buy a 30-acre tract for the mall. 

According to a New England Development Co. fact sheet, the mall would include at least 65 stores and open in 2015. You can download the fact sheet here (PDF) and see a brief on the project here.

Hodges said work on utilities for the mall would begin quickly.

An outlet mall has long been part of the plan for the Gateway Town Center, which landed its first tenant, the Bass Pro, in June 2012. The 120,000-SF outdoor sporting goods store opened late last year on its own 30-acre tract.

In August 2012, Arkansas Business reported that Joe Jackson Sr. of Boca Raton, Fla., and Rich Rucker of Silverdale, Wash., were planning an outlet mall Gateway. Hodges said Thursday that the pair are part of the group behind The Outlet at Little Rock.

Hodges also said Cavendar's Boot City will build a 20,000-SF store at Gateway. The Tyler, Texas-based western clothing store is on track to open around the same time as the outlet mall, Hodges said.

And Malvern National Bank will begin work this spring on a bank branch at Gateway, Hodges said. The shopping center already has a First Security Bank branch. 

Gateway Town Center sits on 169 acres at the the northwest corner of Interstates 430 and 30. In addition to the retail projects, Hodges has had three hotels and five restaurants on the drawing board, with office buildings planned for the west side of the property.

"It's going to have all the non-residential uses you can think of," Hodges told Arkansas Business in 2012. "Town center pretty much describes what we're trying to do."

Hodges has been working the site since the early 2000s, leading a 2002 effort to buy and expand a 120-acre site once reserved for an "Otter Creek Mall" project that never came to fruition.

But Hodges finally broke the ice in 2010, selling a 9-acre section for $910,000 to Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores Inc. of Oklahoma City, which built a super convenience store/truck stop there. The deal for Bass Pro, the Springfield, Mo.-based chain that had long been pursued by Arkansas developers, kicked the Gateway Town Center into high gear.

[caption] => [status] => publish [published_on] => 2014-02-06 13:01:00 [updated_on] => 2014-02-06 14:22:03 [created_on] => 2014-02-06 13:09:22 [creator_id] => 18 [updater_id] => 18 [author_id] => 18 [author_other_name] => [author_other_email] => [legacy_id] => [legacy_post_id] => [slug] => developer-plans-outlet-mall-at-gateway-town-center [legacy_id_family] => [expired] => 0 [high_res] => ) ) [creator] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 93 [email] => lhogan@abpg.com [username] => lhogan [logins] => 455 [last_login] => 1419267127 [display_name] => Lee Hogan ) [updater] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 93 [email] => lhogan@abpg.com [username] => lhogan [logins] => 455 [last_login] => 1419267127 [display_name] => Lee Hogan ) [author] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 93 [email] => lhogan@abpg.com [username] => lhogan [logins] => 455 [last_login] => 1419267127 [display_name] => Lee Hogan ) [assets] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 57711 [title] => Outlets at Little Rock — Gallery [caption] => [published_on] => 2014-12-17 16:20:00 [credit] => [type] => gallery [path] => [embed_code] => [video_id] => 0 [position] => 0 [width] => 660 [height] => 440 [assets] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 57707 [title] => Outlets at Little Rock [caption] =>

This aerial photo of the Outlets at Little Rock was taken in December. The 325,000-SF shopping center is to open in the summer.

[published_on] => 2014-12-17 16:08:00 [credit] => Outlets at Little Rock [type] => image [path] => http://assets.inarkansas.com/57707/outlets-at-little-rock.jpg [embed_code] => [video_id] => 0 [position] => 0 [width] => 660 [height] => 440 ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 57708 [title] => Outlets at Little Rock [caption] =>

This aerial photo of the Outlets at Little Rock was taken in December. The 325,000-SF shopping center is to open in the summer.

[published_on] => 2014-12-17 16:11:00 [credit] => Outlets at Little Rock [type] => image [path] => http://assets.inarkansas.com/57708/outlets-at-little-rock.jpg [embed_code] => [video_id] => 0 [position] => 0 [width] => 660 [height] => 440 ) [2] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 57709 [title] => Outlets at Little Rock [caption] =>

Construction work is in full swing at the Outlets at Little Rock. The 325,000-SF shopping center is to open in the summer.

[published_on] => 2014-12-17 16:14:00 [credit] => Lee Hogan [type] => image [path] => http://assets.inarkansas.com/57709/outlets-at-little-rock.JPG [embed_code] => [video_id] => 0 [position] => 0 [width] => 660 [height] => 440 ) [3] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 57710 [title] => Outlets at Little Rock [caption] =>

Construction work is in full swing at the Outlets at Little Rock. The 325,000-SF shopping center is to open in the summer.

[published_on] => 2014-12-17 16:18:00 [credit] => Lee Hogan [type] => image [path] => http://assets.inarkansas.com/57710/outlets-at-little-rock.JPG [embed_code] => [video_id] => 0 [position] => 0 [width] => 660 [height] => 440 ) ) ) ) [tags] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 7976 [tag] => Tommy Hodges [created_on] => 2010-03-16 13:57:14 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 15464 [tag] => CDI Contractors [created_on] => 2010-07-12 10:12:53 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [2] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 20254 [tag] => Arkansas Business [created_on] => 2010-10-08 09:46:43 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [3] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33390 [tag] => Industries [created_on] => 2012-01-23 15:38:43 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 20254 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [4] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33409 [tag] => Construction [created_on] => 2012-01-23 15:56:35 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [5] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33421 [tag] => Real Estate [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:04:58 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [6] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33422 [tag] => Restaurants & Food [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:05:12 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [7] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33423 [tag] => Retail [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:05:19 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [8] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33426 [tag] => Tourism [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:05:57 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [9] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33536 [tag] => Daily Report [created_on] => 2012-01-26 11:00:50 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 20254 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [10] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 38899 [tag] => Gateway Town Center [created_on] => 2012-08-01 14:42:11 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [11] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 52895 [tag] => New England Development [created_on] => 2014-06-24 15:13:01 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [12] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 52896 [tag] => Outlets at Little Rock [created_on] => 2014-06-24 15:13:01 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [13] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 52897 [tag] => Michael Barelli [created_on] => 2014-06-24 15:13:01 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) ) [issues] => Array ( ) ) )
Array
(
    [52895] => New England Development
    [38899] => Gateway Town Center
    [52896] => Outlets at Little Rock
    [52897] => Michael Barelli
    [15464] => CDI Contractors
    [7976] => Tommy Hodges
    [20254] => Arkansas Business
    [33390] => Industries
    [33409] => Construction
    [33421] => Real Estate
    [33422] => Restaurants & Food
    [33423] => Retail
    [33426] => Tourism
    [33536] => Daily Report
)

Editors Picks

Whispers Blog

PublishArticle Object
(
    [id] => 102472
    [object] => stdClass Object
        (
            [id] => 102472
            [title] => IKEA is Coming to Memphis
            [summary] => Everyone's favorite Swedish furniture store is coming to Memphis. That's right. Pretty soon, Arkansas shoppers will only be a couple hours away from IKEA.
            [content] => 

Everyone's favorite Swedish furniture store is coming to Memphis. That's right. Pretty soon, Arkansas shoppers will only be a couple hours away from IKEA.

WREG in Memphis reports Tennessee's first IKEA store will be off Germantown Parkway, behind Costco. It will be the company's 41st store in the United States.

More than 225 jobs are expected to be created, salaries are not known at this time.

The company has said it will raise its minimum wage to $10.76 per hour. 

An additional 500 jobs are expected to be created during the construction phase.

A news conference with IKEA officials and Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton is expected to reveal more details, including the store's exact location and open date.

Ahead of the press conference, IKEA tweeted this rendering of the Memphis location:

[caption] => On Dec. 15, IKEA tweeted this rendering of its planned store in Memphis. [status] => publish [published_on] => 2014-12-16 11:22:00 [updated_on] => 2014-12-16 11:31:29 [created_on] => 2014-12-16 11:28:50 [creator_id] => 93 [updater_id] => 18 [author_id] => 93 [author_other_name] => [author_other_email] => [legacy_id] => [legacy_post_id] => [slug] => ikea-is-coming-to-memphis [legacy_id_family] => [expired] => 0 [high_res] => [related] => Array ( ) [creator] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 93 [email] => lhogan@abpg.com [username] => lhogan [logins] => 455 [last_login] => 1419267127 [display_name] => Lee Hogan ) [updater] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 18 [email] => lturner@abpg.com [username] => lturner [logins] => 2144 [last_login] => 1419266278 [display_name] => Lance Turner ) [author] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 93 [email] => lhogan@abpg.com [username] => lhogan [logins] => 455 [last_login] => 1419267127 [display_name] => Lee Hogan ) [assets] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 57691 [title] => IKEA Memphis [caption] => [published_on] => 2014-12-16 11:28:00 [credit] => IKEA [type] => image [path] => http://assets.inarkansas.com/57691/ikea-memphis.jpg [embed_code] => [video_id] => 0 [position] => 0 [width] => 660 [height] => 371 [assets] => Array ( ) ) ) [tags] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 20254 [tag] => Arkansas Business [created_on] => 2010-10-08 09:46:43 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 28953 [tag] => Memphis [created_on] => 2011-08-16 09:06:31 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [2] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33390 [tag] => Industries [created_on] => 2012-01-23 15:38:43 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 20254 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [3] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33423 [tag] => Retail [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:05:19 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [4] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33536 [tag] => Daily Report [created_on] => 2012-01-26 11:00:50 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 20254 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [5] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 34761 [tag] => Blog [created_on] => 2012-03-06 09:53:32 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 20254 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [6] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 54088 [tag] => Regions [created_on] => 2014-09-09 09:00:23 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 20254 [public] => 1 [hidden] => 0 ) [7] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 54090 [tag] => Northeast Arkansas [created_on] => 2014-09-09 09:01:05 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 54088 [public] => 1 [hidden] => 0 ) [8] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 54095 [tag] => Southeast Arkansas [created_on] => 2014-09-09 10:26:14 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 54088 [public] => 1 [hidden] => 0 ) [9] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 55640 [tag] => IKEA [created_on] => 2014-12-16 11:28:51 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [10] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 55641 [tag] => WREG [created_on] => 2014-12-16 11:28:51 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) ) [issues] => Array ( ) ) )
Array
(
    [55640] => IKEA
    [28953] => Memphis
    [55641] => WREG
    [20254] => Arkansas Business
    [33390] => Industries
    [33423] => Retail
    [34761] => Blog
    [54088] => Regions
    [54090] => Northeast Arkansas
    [54095] => Southeast Arkansas
    [33536] => Daily Report
)
PublishArticle Object
(
    [id] => 102449
    [object] => stdClass Object
        (
            [id] => 102449
            [title] => Twerking, Meditation Lead Year's Top Google How-To Searches in Little Rock
            [summary] => Apparently, Little Rock residents were interested in learning how to meditate and how to twerk in 2014. Well, we hope you found what you were looking for, Little Rock.
            [content] => 

Apparently, Little Rock residents were interested in learning how to meditate and how to twerk in 2014. Well, we hope you found what you were looking for, Little Rock.

Google released its top searches in Arkansas' capital city Tuesday, which included different lists pertaining to "how to" and "what is" questions, and top news and events searches.

Overall, Robin Williams and ebola led the way in top 10 trending searches in Little Rock. Riverfest, the World Cup and Joan Rivers rounded out the top five. Also in the top ten trending searches was Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Black Friday 2014, Tracy Morgan, Maya Angelou and LeBron James.

As far as news and events go, ebola led the way in Little Rock, followed by Riverfest. The rest of the top five included the World Cup, the NFL draft and ISIS. The bottom-half of the top ten included blood moon, the Olympics, Ferguson, Missouri, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 and April's tornado that ravaged the communities of Vilonia and Mayflower.

On the how-to front, once you guys figured out how to meditate and twerk, here's what else you were concerned with learning how to do:

  • How to draw
  • How to whistle
  • How to knit
  • How to kiss
  • How to coupon
  • How to cook 
  • How to monogram
  • How to blog

As far as learning what something was, ebola, again, led the way. Followed by:

  • What is gluten?
  • What is ALS?
  • What is bitcoin?
  • What is ISIS?
  • What is love?
  • What is neuropathy?
  • What is Spotify?
  • What is airdrop?
  • What is kik?

So, maybe if you're looking to meditate your way through Christmas and New Year's, or, if twerking is more your style, maybe one of your friends can teach you.

[caption] => [status] => publish [published_on] => 2014-12-16 08:30:00 [updated_on] => 2014-12-16 08:56:25 [created_on] => 2014-12-15 14:50:32 [creator_id] => 93 [updater_id] => 18 [author_id] => 93 [author_other_name] => [author_other_email] => [legacy_id] => [legacy_post_id] => [slug] => twerking-meditation-lead-years-top-google-how-to-searches-in-little-rock [legacy_id_family] => [expired] => 0 [high_res] => [related] => Array ( ) [creator] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 93 [email] => lhogan@abpg.com [username] => lhogan [logins] => 455 [last_login] => 1419267127 [display_name] => Lee Hogan ) [updater] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 18 [email] => lturner@abpg.com [username] => lturner [logins] => 2144 [last_login] => 1419266278 [display_name] => Lance Turner ) [author] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 93 [email] => lhogan@abpg.com [username] => lhogan [logins] => 455 [last_login] => 1419267127 [display_name] => Lee Hogan ) [assets] => Array ( ) [tags] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 3634 [tag] => Google [created_on] => 2009-12-02 15:06:00 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 20254 [tag] => Arkansas Business [created_on] => 2010-10-08 09:46:43 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [2] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33390 [tag] => Industries [created_on] => 2012-01-23 15:38:43 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 20254 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [3] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33418 [tag] => Media & Marketing [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:03:00 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [4] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33425 [tag] => Technology & Telecom [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:05:45 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [5] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33536 [tag] => Daily Report [created_on] => 2012-01-26 11:00:50 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 20254 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [6] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 34761 [tag] => Blog [created_on] => 2012-03-06 09:53:32 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 20254 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) ) [issues] => Array ( ) ) )
Array
(
    [3634] => Google
    [20254] => Arkansas Business
    [33536] => Daily Report
    [34761] => Blog
    [33418] => Media & Marketing
    [33425] => Technology & Telecom
    [33390] => Industries
)
PublishArticle Object
(
    [id] => 102382
    [object] => stdClass Object
        (
            [id] => 102382
            [title] => Wal-Mart CEO Says Company's U.S. Workers Will Soon Make Above Federal Minimum Wage
            [summary] => Employees of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of Bentonville have protested for an increase in wages, and according to company CEO Doug McMillon, that raise is coming soon.
            [content] => 

Employees of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of Bentonville have protested for wage increases, and according to company CEO Doug McMillon, that raise is coming soon. 

In a sit-down interview with Charlie Rose of "CBS This Morning," McMillon said it wouldn't be long before all of the retailer's U.S. workers make more than the federal minimum wage, which is currently $7.25. It might not be the raise several protestors have pushed for, but it's a start.

Here's an excerpt from the interview:

"We're going to make some changes in a few months that will create a situation where no Wal-Mart associate in the United States makes federal minimum wage. We'll be ahead of that with our starting wage," McMillon said.

He said he believes there is a difference between the perception of Wal-Mart and the reality of Wal-Mart.

"In the world there is a debate over inequity, and sometimes we get caught up in that and retail does in general. But we couldn't run a good business if we don't take care of people and have compensation plans that work," McMillon said.

McMillon didn't go into details about how much more than the federal rate workers would make. Check out the entire video below, and story here.

In the interview with Rose, McMillon also discussed a June accident involving a Wal-Mart truck driver and comedian Tracy Morgan. The accident critically injured Morgan and killed comedian James McNair. Wal-Mart now faces litigation from Morgan.

"It was a tragedy," McMillon said. "I would first of all say to the McNair family how sorry we are for their loss. And to Tracy Morgan and everyone else involved in it, we feel very bad about what happened, and from the beginning have tried to say we want to take responsibility for it and do what's right."

Watch the video below for more.

Rose's entire 20-minute interview with McMillon is available here via Bloomberg.

[caption] => The CEO of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of Bentonville says all U.S. workers of the company will soon make more than the federal minimum wage of $7.25. [status] => publish [published_on] => 2014-12-11 14:47:00 [updated_on] => 2014-12-11 15:26:48 [created_on] => 2014-12-11 14:52:35 [creator_id] => 93 [updater_id] => 18 [author_id] => 93 [author_other_name] => [author_other_email] => [legacy_id] => [legacy_post_id] => [slug] => wal-mart-ceo-says-us-workers-will-make-above-federal-minimum-wage-soon [legacy_id_family] => [expired] => 0 [high_res] => [related] => Array ( ) [creator] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 93 [email] => lhogan@abpg.com [username] => lhogan [logins] => 455 [last_login] => 1419267127 [display_name] => Lee Hogan ) [updater] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 18 [email] => lturner@abpg.com [username] => lturner [logins] => 2144 [last_login] => 1419266278 [display_name] => Lance Turner ) [author] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 93 [email] => lhogan@abpg.com [username] => lhogan [logins] => 455 [last_login] => 1419267127 [display_name] => Lee Hogan ) [assets] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 52124 [title] => Doug McMillon [caption] => Doug McMillon, CEO of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., is atop this week’s list of the highest-paid public company executives. | (Photo by Ryan Miller) [published_on] => 2014-07-18 10:14:10 [credit] => [type] => image [path] => http://assets.inarkansas.com/52124/doug-mcmillon-776.jpg [embed_code] => [video_id] => 0 [position] => 7 [width] => 660 [height] => 440 [assets] => Array ( ) ) ) [tags] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 2928 [tag] => Wal-Mart Stores Inc. [created_on] => 2009-11-19 11:32:49 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 20254 [tag] => Arkansas Business [created_on] => 2010-10-08 09:46:43 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [2] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33390 [tag] => Industries [created_on] => 2012-01-23 15:38:43 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 20254 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [3] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33423 [tag] => Retail [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:05:19 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [4] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33535 [tag] => Northwest Arkansas [created_on] => 2012-01-26 10:57:30 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 54088 [public] => 1 [hidden] => 0 ) [5] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33536 [tag] => Daily Report [created_on] => 2012-01-26 11:00:50 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 20254 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [6] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 34761 [tag] => Blog [created_on] => 2012-03-06 09:53:32 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 20254 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [7] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 48456 [tag] => CBS This Morning [created_on] => 2013-10-20 14:11:19 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [8] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 49045 [tag] => Doug McMillon [created_on] => 2013-11-25 07:39:54 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [9] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 50977 [tag] => Duncan Mac Naughton [created_on] => 2014-03-18 10:21:28 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [10] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 52642 [tag] => Tracy Morgan [created_on] => 2014-06-08 10:57:48 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [11] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 54088 [tag] => Regions [created_on] => 2014-09-09 09:00:23 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 20254 [public] => 1 [hidden] => 0 ) [12] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 55515 [tag] => Judith McKenna [created_on] => 2014-12-10 15:55:36 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) ) [issues] => Array ( ) ) )
Array
(
    [2928] => Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
    [49045] => Doug McMillon
    [48456] => CBS This Morning
    [52642] => Tracy Morgan
    [50977] => Duncan Mac Naughton
    [55515] => Judith McKenna
    [20254] => Arkansas Business
    [33390] => Industries
    [33423] => Retail
    [33536] => Daily Report
    [34761] => Blog
    [33535] => Northwest Arkansas
    [54088] => Regions
)
See more from the Whispers Blog >

Most Read

    PublishArticle Object
    (
        [id] => 102541
        [object] => stdClass Object
            (
                [id] => 102541
                [title] => West Little Rock Retail Rings Up $4.5M Purchase (Real Deals)
                [summary] => An 8,245-SF retail project in west Little Rock tipped the scales at $4.56 million. An investment group purchased the 11400 Cantrell Road property from Chi-Little Rock LLC of Greenville, South Carolina.
                [content] => 

    An 8,245-SF retail project in west Little Rock tipped the scales at $4.56 million. An investment group purchased the 11400 Cantrell Road property from Chi-Little Rock LLC of Greenville, South Carolina.

    The new ownership is composed of SLLF Investments LLC, led by Jason LaFrance, 42.39 percent; Highway 9 Holdings LLC, led by Kevin Huchingson, 29.61 percent; Cantrell Ridge Holdings LLC, led by Isaac Smith, 20.21 percent; and Joe and Katherine Nance of Marble Falls (Newton County), 7.79 percent.

    The deal is financed with a 10-year loan of $2.77 million from Relyance Bank of Pine Bluff. The 2.09-acre development previously was tied to a December 2013 mortgage of $3.95 million held by GrandSouth Bank of Greenville, South Carolina.

    The location was acquired a year ago for $1.8 million from Pleasant Ridge LLC, led by Lou Schickel.

    Twin Peaks Transaction 

    A 6,971-SF sports bar and grill in west Little Rock weighed in at $2.31 million.

    Spirit Master Funding VIII LLC of Scottsdale, Arizona, bought the Twin Peaks project at 10 Shackleford Drive from TC Little Rock LLC of Phoenix.

    The 2.1-acre former Cozymel’s site was purchased for $1.35 million in September 2012 from Coastal Restaurants Ltd., led by Jacob Baum.

    Downtown Deal

    A 15,874-SF commercial project in downtown Little Rock changed hands in a $957,000 transaction. Prachi Investment Inc., led by Dipesh Patel, acquired the 400-408 Louisiana St. project from the Greg L. Hatcher Revocable Living Trust.

    The deal is funded with a five-year loan of $585,000 from Arvest Bank of Fayetteville. The 0.32-acre development previously was linked with a March 2014 mortgage of $975,614 held by First State Bank of Lonoke.

    The trust bought the property for $500,000 in July 2010 from the heirs of Adolphine Fletcher Terry, who included Elizabeth Terry Foti, Susan Terry Borne, Ellen Fletcher Terry, Tonya Terry, Joan Terry Oliver and Joseph Terry.

    Mini Acquisition

    A 44,235-SF mini-storage facility in southwest Little Rock rang up a $740,000 sale.

    Tisdale Properties & Development LLC, led by Tracy Tisdale, purchased the U Store It project at 7201 Interstate 30. The seller is Cobalt Capital & Consulting LLC, led by Brent Bumpers.

    Cobalt Capital provided a $740,000 wrap-around mortgage to finance the deal. The 2.54-acre development is secured by a May 2013 mortgage of $350,158 held by Simmons First National Bank of Pine Bluff.

    The project was acquired for $810,000 in May 2009 from M&L Investments Ltd., led by Lee Beasley.

    Apartment Purchase

    A 12-unit apartment project in midtown Little Rock is under new ownership after a $400,000 transaction.

    DWMG LLC, led by Scott Daniel, bought the 3619 W. Markham St. property from Brian and Deborah Wallace. The deal is backed with a four-year loan of $410,000 from First Federal Bank of Harrison.

    The 0.32-acre development previously was tied to an April 1999 mortgage of $212,500, an October 2006 mortgage of $40,000, a June 2009 mortgage of $162,211 and an October 2009 mortgage of $34,781 held by Regions Bank of Birmingham, Alabama.

    The Wallaces purchased the property for $250,000 in March 1999 from Wycliff Nisbet Jr. and his wife, Theresa, and Ray and Lenore Gabbard.

    Sir Loin’s Location

    A 7,144-SF restaurant project in North Little Rock drew a $210,100 sale.

    The Clifton Family LLLP, led by Norman Clifton, acquired the former Sir Loin’s Inn project at 801 W. 29th St. The seller is Marple Investments LLC, led by Roy and Shirley Marple.

    The 0.6-acre development previously was linked with a December 2007 mortgage of $421,000 held by Bank of England.

    The property was bought for $379,000 seven years ago from Aaron and Jane Ross.

    Rural Residence I

    A 4,770-SF home south of Scott tipped the scales at $999,000. Thomas Roy III and his wife, Clara Brown, purchased the 14.3-acre residential spread straddling the Pulaski-Lonoke County line from the R. Craig Stotts Living Trust.

    The deal is financed with a seven-year loan of $850,000 from IberiaBank of Lafayette, Louisiana.

    The land was acquired for $84,000 in October 2008 from Charles A. Freeman.

    St. John’s House I

    A 5,398-SF home in Little Rock’s St. John’s Place neighborhood changed hands in an $832,500 transaction.

    William Bank bought the house from the Phoebe Darby Norman Revocable Trust. The deal is funded with a seven-year loan of $416,000 from IberiaBank.

    The site was purchased for $110,000 in September 1989 from St. John’s Place, led by Bishop Andrew McDonald and Dickson Flake.

    Deauville Abode

    A 4,720-SF home in the Deauville Place neighborhood of west Little Rock’s Chenal Valley neighborhood sold for $817,475.

    Shane and Kim Sweetin acquired the house from Randy James Construction Co. The deal is backed with a 15-year loan of $640,000 from AgHeritage Farm Credit Services of Little Rock.

    The residence previously was tied to a November 2013 mortgage of $500,000 held by Arvest Bank. The location was bought for $120,000 in May 2013 from Shawn and Janetta Andrews.

    St. John’s House II

    A 5,398-SF home in Little Rock’s St. John’s Place neighborhood rang up a $698,000 transaction. Shirley Sizemore purchased the house from J. Mark Davis

    The residence previously was linked with a March 2005 mortgage of $511,784 held by Riverside Mortgage Co. of Little Rock and a January 2007 mortgage of $155,000 held by Citibank of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

    The location was acquired for
    $152,000 in August 2000 from
    John O’Conner III and his wife, Juliannah.

    Ridge Home

    A 3,725-SF home in The Ridge neighborhood of Little Rock is under new ownership after a $580,000 sale.

    Mary Vogler bought the house from John Riggs IV and his wife, Anna

    The property was purchased for $545,000 in June 2004 from John and Angela Leake.

    Rural Residence II

    A 16-acre residential spread north of Roland drew a $565,000 transaction.

    The Gary Hall Revocable Trust ac-quired the 3,615-SF house from Richard and Carol Seago. The residence previously was tied to a July 2009 mortgage of $356,000 held by IberiaBank Mortgage Co. of Little Rock and an October 2012 mortgage of $115,000 held by IberiaBank.

    The Seagos bought the land in May 1990 as part of a $60,000 transaction with Blanche Thebom.

    Woodland’s Property

    A 3,445-SF home in west Little Rock’s Woodland’s Edge neighborhood sold for $500,000. Brett Edwards purchased the house from Edwards Custom Homes Inc., led by Katherine Edwards.

    The residence previously was linked with a December 2013 mortgage of $335,600 held by First Security Bank of Searcy.

    The location was acquired for $68,000 a year ago from Rocket Properties LLC, led by Ron Tyne and Lisenne Rockefeller.

    Warehouse Funding

    A 70,000-SF warehouse in Maumelle was used to secure a $6.5 million financial package. LR-Ark Property LLC of Columbus, Ohio, received the five-year loan from Arvest Bank.

    The 8.16-acre Resenius Medical Care development at 600 Sharkey Drive previously was linked with a May 2009 mortgage of $3.9 million held by the bank.

    The location was bought for $860,000 in August 2006 from Burkhalter Properties LLC, led by John Burkhalter.

    Express Financing

    The owner of a Holiday Inn Express in North Little Rock picked up a $4 million funding agreement.

    Kilpatrick Hotels Two LLC, led by George Kilpatrick, obtained the five-year loan from Progressive Bank of Monroe, Louisiana.

    The 1.5-acre development at 4306 E. McCain Blvd. previously was tied to a June 2008 mortgage of $5.5 million held by JP Morgan Chase Bank of Columbus, Ohio.

    Kilpatrick acquired the 70-room project for $6.8 million more than six years ago from McCain Hotels LLC, led by Rajesh Mehta.

    Seven-Digit Construction

    •Assisted Living Project — $7,636,989

    Memory Care of Good Shepherd, 2501 Aldersgate Road, Little Rock

    Embree Construction Group, Georgetown, Texas

    •5,800-SF House — $1,300,000

    4916 Hawthorne Road, Little Rock

    Jack Hartsell Construction Co., Little Rock

     

    [caption] => [status] => publish [published_on] => 2014-12-22 00:00:00 [updated_on] => 2014-12-19 12:33:46 [created_on] => 2014-12-19 12:33:27 [creator_id] => 27 [updater_id] => 27 [author_id] => 56 [author_other_name] => [author_other_email] => [legacy_id] => [legacy_post_id] => [slug] => west-little-rock-retail-rings-up-45m-purchase-real-deals [legacy_id_family] => [expired] => 0 [high_res] => [related] => Array ( ) [creator] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 27 [email] => tbaker@abpg.com [username] => tbaker [logins] => 5849 [last_login] => 1419264991 [display_name] => Tre Baker ) [updater] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 27 [email] => tbaker@abpg.com [username] => tbaker [logins] => 5849 [last_login] => 1419264991 [display_name] => Tre Baker ) [author] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 56 [email] => george@abpg.com [username] => george [logins] => 10 [last_login] => 1363022681 [display_name] => George Waldon ) [assets] => Array ( ) [tags] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 1337 [tag] => Arvest Bank [created_on] => 2009-10-16 16:42:44 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 2006 [tag] => Regions Bank [created_on] => 2009-11-04 17:40:50 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [2] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 3117 [tag] => Lou Schickel [created_on] => 2009-11-24 13:36:10 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [3] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 5629 [tag] => Greg Hatcher [created_on] => 2010-01-27 14:47:56 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [4] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 6965 [tag] => Isaac Smith [created_on] => 2010-02-26 12:34:59 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [5] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 7873 [tag] => Cozymel's [created_on] => 2010-03-11 12:14:05 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [6] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 20254 [tag] => Arkansas Business [created_on] => 2010-10-08 09:46:43 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [7] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 26386 [tag] => Scott Daniel [created_on] => 2011-05-03 09:32:59 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [8] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33390 [tag] => Industries [created_on] => 2012-01-23 15:38:43 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 20254 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [9] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33391 [tag] => Print Edition [created_on] => 2012-01-23 15:38:58 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 20254 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [10] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33401 [tag] => Real Deals [created_on] => 2012-01-23 15:53:49 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33391 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [11] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33407 [tag] => Banking & Finance [created_on] => 2012-01-23 15:55:51 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [12] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33408 [tag] => Business Services [created_on] => 2012-01-23 15:56:09 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [13] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33409 [tag] => Construction [created_on] => 2012-01-23 15:56:35 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [14] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33415 [tag] => Investments [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:02:11 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [15] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33421 [tag] => Real Estate [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:04:58 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [16] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33422 [tag] => Restaurants & Food [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:05:12 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [17] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33423 [tag] => Retail [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:05:19 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [18] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33536 [tag] => Daily Report [created_on] => 2012-01-26 11:00:50 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 20254 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [19] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 40027 [tag] => Brent Bumpers [created_on] => 2012-09-26 09:43:50 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [20] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 42803 [tag] => Kevin Huchingson [created_on] => 2013-01-24 10:59:42 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [21] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 44488 [tag] => Jason LaFrance [created_on] => 2013-04-05 14:49:45 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [22] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 45764 [tag] => Relyance Bank [created_on] => 2013-06-03 09:02:16 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [23] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 46871 [tag] => Twin Peaks [created_on] => 2013-07-30 10:45:46 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [24] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 47169 [tag] => Tracy Tisdale [created_on] => 2013-08-12 11:59:05 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [25] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 49664 [tag] => Tisdale Properties & Development LLC [created_on] => 2014-01-03 12:05:09 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [26] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 51636 [tag] => First State Bank of Lonoke [created_on] => 2014-04-14 12:31:33 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [27] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 51739 [tag] => Prachi Investment Inc. [created_on] => 2014-04-22 10:58:06 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [28] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 51844 [tag] => First Federal Bank of Harrison [created_on] => 2014-04-25 15:24:19 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [29] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 54012 [tag] => Counties [created_on] => 2014-09-04 08:21:32 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 20254 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [30] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 54014 [tag] => Pulaski [created_on] => 2014-09-04 08:23:00 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 54012 [public] => 1 [hidden] => 0 ) [31] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 54088 [tag] => Regions [created_on] => 2014-09-09 09:00:23 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 20254 [public] => 1 [hidden] => 0 ) [32] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 54089 [tag] => Central Arkansas [created_on] => 2014-09-09 09:00:49 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 54088 [public] => 1 [hidden] => 0 ) [33] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 54951 [tag] => Spirit Master Funding VIII LLC [created_on] => 2014-11-07 10:33:24 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [34] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 54952 [tag] => TC Little Rock LLC [created_on] => 2014-11-07 10:33:24 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [35] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 55320 [tag] => Chi-Little Rock [created_on] => 2014-11-26 16:37:56 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [36] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 55701 [tag] => SLLF Investments LLC [created_on] => 2014-12-19 12:33:30 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [37] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 55702 [tag] => Highway 9 Holdings LLC [created_on] => 2014-12-19 12:33:30 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [38] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 55703 [tag] => Cantrell Ridge Holdings LLC [created_on] => 2014-12-19 12:33:30 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [39] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 55704 [tag] => Joe Nance [created_on] => 2014-12-19 12:33:30 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [40] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 55705 [tag] => Katherine Nance [created_on] => 2014-12-19 12:33:30 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [41] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 55706 [tag] => GrandSouth Bank [created_on] => 2014-12-19 12:33:30 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [42] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 55707 [tag] => Pleasant Ridge LLC [created_on] => 2014-12-19 12:33:30 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [43] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 55708 [tag] => Coastal Restaurants Ltd. [created_on] => 2014-12-19 12:33:30 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [44] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 55709 [tag] => Jacob Baum [created_on] => 2014-12-19 12:33:30 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [45] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 55710 [tag] => Dipesh Patel [created_on] => 2014-12-19 12:33:30 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [46] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 55711 [tag] => Cobalt Capital & Consulting LLC [created_on] => 2014-12-19 12:33:30 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [47] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 55712 [tag] => DWMG LLC [created_on] => 2014-12-19 12:33:30 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [48] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 55713 [tag] => Wycliff Nisbet Jr. [created_on] => 2014-12-19 12:33:30 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [49] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 55714 [tag] => Clifton Family LLP [created_on] => 2014-12-19 12:33:30 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [50] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 55715 [tag] => Norman Clifton [created_on] => 2014-12-19 12:33:30 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [51] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 55716 [tag] => Marple Investments LLLC [created_on] => 2014-12-19 12:33:30 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [52] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 55717 [tag] => LR-Ark Property LLC [created_on] => 2014-12-19 12:33:30 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [53] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 55718 [tag] => Resenius Medical Care [created_on] => 2014-12-19 12:33:30 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) ) [issues] => Array ( ) ) )
    Array
    (
        [55701] => SLLF Investments LLC
        [55702] => Highway 9 Holdings LLC
        [55703] => Cantrell Ridge Holdings LLC
        [55704] => Joe Nance
        [55705] => Katherine Nance
        [55706] => GrandSouth Bank
        [55707] => Pleasant Ridge LLC
        [55708] => Coastal Restaurants Ltd.
        [55709] => Jacob Baum
        [55710] => Dipesh Patel
        [55711] => Cobalt Capital & Consulting LLC
        [55712] => DWMG LLC
        [55713] => Wycliff Nisbet Jr.
        [55714] => Clifton Family LLP
        [55715] => Norman Clifton
        [55716] => Marple Investments LLLC
        [55717] => LR-Ark Property LLC
        [55718] => Resenius Medical Care
        [55320] => Chi-Little Rock
        [44488] => Jason LaFrance
        [42803] =>  Kevin Huchingson
        [6965] => Isaac Smith
        [45764] => Relyance Bank
        [3117] => Lou Schickel
        [46871] => Twin Peaks
        [54951] => Spirit Master Funding VIII LLC
        [54952] => TC Little Rock LLC
        [7873] => Cozymel's
        [51739] => Prachi Investment Inc.
        [5629] => Greg Hatcher
        [1337] => Arvest Bank
        [51636] => First State Bank of Lonoke
        [49664] => Tisdale Properties & Development LLC
        [47169] => Tracy Tisdale
        [40027] => Brent Bumpers
        [26386] => Scott Daniel
        [51844] => First Federal Bank of Harrison
        [2006] => Regions Bank
        [20254] => Arkansas Business
        [33390] => Industries
        [33407] => Banking & Finance
        [33408] => Business Services
        [33409] => Construction
        [33415] => Investments
        [33421] => Real Estate
        [33422] => Restaurants & Food
        [33423] => Retail
        [33391] => Print Edition
        [33401] => Real Deals
        [33536] => Daily Report
        [54012] => Counties
        [54014] => Pulaski
        [54088] => Regions
        [54089] => Central Arkansas
    )
    
  • West Little Rock Retail Rings Up $4.5M Purchase (Real Deals) 11 hours ago
  • PublishArticle Object
    (
        [id] => 102247
        [object] => stdClass Object
            (
                [id] => 102247
                [title] => Wal-Mart Investment in Solar Energy Transforms Industry
                [summary] => Wal-Mart’s investment in solar energy over the last nine years has paid off not only for the company, but also for its competitors and other businesses, as its scale has helped transform the industry.
                [content] => 

    Wal-Mart’s investment in solar energy over the last nine years has paid off not only for the company, but also for its competitors and other businesses, as its scale has helped transform the industry.

    The company has its sights set on using 100 percent renewable energy and generating 7 billion kilowatt-hours of power by 2020, which the retailer hopes to transform into real savings. A spokesman said the company is about a third of the way toward that goal in global production.

    The price of solar energy has plummeted in recent years, making it more competitive with other fuel sources. During that time, the retail giant has ramped up its use of solar energy to pass all other retailers — and most states — in its total solar capacity.

    As the retailer has worked with solar asset providers, the company has negotiated friendlier terms for contracts known as power purchasing agreements that could also mean lower costs for other box stores and more access to solar energy for smaller businesses.

    According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, a trade group for the country’s solar industry, electricity rates for commercial users have risen 20 percent in the past 10 years, while the cost of solar has declined. A Wal-Mart official said the company’s solar costs have been cut in half in the last five years.

    Ken Johnson, vice president for communications at the solar industries association, said Wal-Mart’s interest in solar energy has been driving other retailers to explore it on a large scale.

    “Wal-Mart certainly commands attention from Wall Street to Main Street, and the fact that the company is making an unprecedented commitment to clean, renewable energy certainly has people talking and has really done as much if not more than anything to help jump-start solar when it comes to commercial installations,” Johnson said. “People in the business world are smart, and it doesn’t take them long to figure out that if Wal-Mart is doing it because it helps their bottom line and also improves their green thumbprint, then it must be a smart thing to do.”

    Johnson said one of Wal-Mart’s biggest contributions to the solar energy industry has been how it used its scale to bring down costs for other companies and make solar more accessible to smaller companies.

    “We simply wouldn’t be experiencing the tremendous growth in the commercial sector if not for the leadership of Wal-Mart,” Johnson said.

    Leading in Capacity

    Wal-Mart’s solar capacity puts it ahead of Apple Inc., BMW Manufacturing Co. and the U.S. Department of Energy, according to information kept by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

    The Solar Energy Industries Association released a report in October that found Wal-Mart had added 15 megawatts of solar capacity in the past year, raising its total capacity to 105.1 megawatts across 254 solar projects. That would generate enough electricity to power more than 21,200 homes.

    By comparison, research released in July from the nonprofit Interstate Renewable Energy Council has shown 36 states with less than 100 megawatts of solar capacity.

    But because of the company’s size, the installations are still on only 5 percent of its facilities.

    David Ozment, the senior director of energy at Wal-Mart, said the company’s history with solar began in 2005 and 2006 when it built experimental stores in Aurora, Colorado, and McKinney, Texas, that used test solar arrays. Using data from those stores, the first significant solar projects began going online in 2007.

    Construction Varies

    Ozment said the solar projects at the company’s facilities vary depending on the amount of land owned nearby and the design.

    At a distribution center in Apple Valley, California, the company used more than 5,300 ground-mounted solar panels covering several acres of land to generate one megawatt of power.

    A solar-panel-shaded parking lot at a store in Glendale, Arizona, provides power to a store there, and various facilities across the country are topped with rooftop solar panels.

    Last month, the company announced it would construct 400 new solar projects nationwide in four years.

    Ozment said the company has saved about $5 million on energy costs since the start of the solar energy projects, a savings that he expects to grow over time. Five years ago, the per-watt cost of solar energy was between $5 and $6, but has now dropped to less than $3, he said.

    A spokesman did not provide the company’s conventional energy costs per watt for a comparison and said the solar figures were ballpark industry costs.

    Wal-Mart has used several companies, including SolarCity of San Mateo, California, and SunEdison of St. Peters, Missouri, to install solar projects under power purchasing agreements. The agreements typically involve those third parties that own the solar panels installing an array at a facility and selling the energy back to the store.

    SolarCity said in a press release last month that it had installed 13 carport solar projects and 34 rooftop projects for Wal-Mart in just over a year.

    Alan Mantooth, an electrical engineering professor at the University of Arkansas, said Wal-Mart’s use of power purchasing agreements has helped the company keep capital costs low and benefit from the plunging costs of solar while avoiding maintenance costs. Mantooth said that Wal-Mart’s size likely allows it to bargain for lower prices with the providers, which also drives down costs for other businesses.

    “I have to give them credit that over the last five to seven years: When Wal-Mart does something they’re going to go all in,” Mantooth said.

    Mantooth said Wal-Mart’s interest in solar is powering a lot of activity in the solar industry because there is a lot of future business if more companies leave conventional fuels for solar.

    “I think there’s still a lot on the table. A lot. Because the penetration is only 1 to 2 percent, but if commercial were to be big adopters that percentage would go up naturally,” Mantooth said.

    One key element in that development would be whether government and utility subsidies continue to bolster the industry. When subsidies dried up for wind energy, development in that field also declined, and the same could happen for solar, Mantooth said.

    Mantooth said some commercial and industrial businesses benefit from rebate programs for curtailing their power usage or receive economic development incentives for opening a business in a certain area. If a company using solar is able to produce more power than it uses, that power can also be sold back to the utility company.

    [caption] => [status] => publish [published_on] => 2014-12-08 00:00:00 [updated_on] => 2014-12-14 16:23:14 [created_on] => 2014-12-05 08:26:43 [creator_id] => 27 [updater_id] => 18 [author_id] => 107 [author_other_name] => [author_other_email] => [legacy_id] => [legacy_post_id] => [slug] => wal-mart-investment-in-solar-energy-transforms-industry [legacy_id_family] => [expired] => 0 [high_res] => [related] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 102026 [title] => NWA's 'Vendorville' Lets Down Guard as Millennials Blend In [summary] => Cameron Smith, whose efforts to place women on corporate boards of directors was the subject of a front-page story last week, says it’s not always easy persuading denizens of New York and Silicon Valley to move to Vendorville, the Bentonville-Rogers-Springdale-Fayetteville metroplex that’s home to 1,390 suppliers to Wal-Mart Stores Inc. [content] =>

    Cameron Smith, whose efforts to place women on corporate boards of directors was the subject of a front-page story last week, says it’s not always easy persuading denizens of New York and Silicon Valley to move to Vendorville, the Bentonville-Rogers-Springdale-Fayetteville metroplex that’s home to 1,390 suppliers to Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

    “We fly them in at night so they don’t look down and see all the chicken houses,” he said. “It looks awful when you’re flying into northwest Arkansas.”

    And then there’s a special route that he drives when taking recruits from the airport to the Cameron Smith & Associates office in Rogers.

    But it all starts with the phone call, Smith said.

    “People don’t realize we have a tough job. ‘Hi, you don’t know me, but in the next five minutes on the telephone I’m going to have you considering selling your house, moving away from your family and taking your kids out of school and quitting your job.’ That’s a big pill to swallow.”

    There’s a process, Smith said. “It’s just the way you do it, the way you broach the subject.”

    He’ll say to the prospect: “’My name’s Cameron Smith. I’m a recruiter. I’m sure you know why I’m calling you.’ I kind of gently put it out there and say, ‘We have a wide range of opportunities. Here’s my question to you: If we came up with the right opportunity, would you be interested in hearing about it?’

    “Nobody can say no to that, so they just bit the hook.”

    After that, he said, it’s a matter of discovering what’s important to the recruit and matching the recruit with the right company.

    Smith has reeled in a lot of fish on a lot of hooks in the last 22 years, and he’s seen tremendous changes. One of the most notable is a changing of the generational guard.

    “The millennials are reinventing the job market. We’re seeing titles and positions that we’ve never seen before. Data visualization expert. What is that?”

    “There’s a big paradigm shift going on in the Wal-Mart world because you’ve got the back-slapping person who’s done business one way,” he said, but those back-slappers “don’t have their pulse on social media like the millennials. The millennials, however, don’t understand the most sophisticated supply chain process in the world. Wal-Mart does. So there’s a blending of talents that’s going on right now.

    “By 2015, we expect Vendorville to be about 80 percent millennials.”

    [caption] => Cameron Smith admits there is a process to recruitment. “It’s just the way you do it," he says, "the way you broach the subject.” [status] => publish [published_on] => 2014-11-24 00:00:00 [updated_on] => 2014-11-24 08:48:16 [created_on] => 2014-11-21 09:52:14 [creator_id] => 27 [updater_id] => 28 [author_id] => 61 [author_other_name] => [author_other_email] => [legacy_id] => [legacy_post_id] => [slug] => nwas-vendorville-lets-down-guard-as-millennials-blend-in [legacy_id_family] => [expired] => 0 [high_res] => ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 85508 [title] => Wal-Mart Used Technology to Become Supply Chain Leader [summary] => In its relentless pursuit of low consumer prices, Wal-Mart embraced technology to become an innovator in the way stores track inventory and restock their shelves, cutting costs and passing the savings along to customers. In the process the company became synonymous with the concept of successful supply chain management. [content] =>

    It is hard to talk about supply chain management without mentioning Wal-Mart.

    In its relentless pursuit of low consumer prices, Wal-Mart embraced technology to become an innovator in the way stores track inventory and restock their shelves, cutting costs and passing the savings along to customers. In the process the company became synonymous with the concept of successful supply chain management.

    “I don’t believe there is a university in the world that doesn’t talk about Wal-Mart and the supply chain,” said James Crowell, director of the Supply Chain Management Research Center at the Walton College of Business. “They are just so well respected because they do it so well, and certainly I know a lot of peer institutions around our country … will bring a Wal-Mart guest to speak.”

    From ancient times through two world wars to today’s global market, the logistics of supply chain management have challenged any enterprise that tries to move goods and materials a long way in a timely manner. A break in the supply chain leading to a dearth of food or ammunition could spell disaster for an army on the move. For consumers and businesses, a supply chain breakdown means empty shelves and a loss of revenue.

    Through a combination of distribution practices, truck fleet management and technological innovations, Wal-Mart not only became the model of supply chain efficiency and used it to become the largest retailer and private sector employer in the world.

    Even the U.S. military noticed. Army Col. Vernon L. Beatty, who commanded the Defense Distribution Depot in Kuwait, spent a year with Wal-Mart as part of the military’s Training With Industry program.

    “Supply chain management is moving the right items to the right customer at the right time by the most efficient means,” Beatty said in article about his experience. “No one does that better than Wal-Mart.”

    Fewer Links

    Wal-Mart’s supply chain innovation began with the company removing a few of the chain’s links.

    In the 1980s Wal-Mart began working directly with manufacturers to cut costs and more efficiently manage the supply chain. From 1993 to 2001, Wal-Mart grew from doing $1 billion in business a week to $1 billion every 36 hours, growth that was attributed as much to supply chain management as to customer service.

    Last year, Wal-Mart sold $1.22 billion worth of merchandise every day.

    Under a Wal-Mart’s supply chain initiative called VMI — vendor managed inventory — manufacturers became responsible for managing their products in Wal-Mart’s warehouses. As a result, Wal-Mart could expect close to 100 percent order fulfillment on merchandise.

    Wal-Mart streamlined supply chain management by constructing communication and relationship networks with suppliers to improve material flow with lower inventories. The network of global suppliers, warehouses and retail stores has been described as behaving almost like a single firm.

    “Wal-Mart’s whole thing was collaboration,” Crowell said. “That’s a big part of what made them so successful.”

    Even in its early years, Wal-Mart’s supply chain management contributed to its success. Founder Sam Walton, who owned several Ben Franklin franchise stores before opening the first Wal-Mart in Rogers in 1962, selectively purchased bulk merchandise and transported it directly to his stores.

    In 1989 Wal-Mart was named Retailer of the Decade, with distribution costs estimated at a mere 1.7 percent of its cost of sales — far superior to competitors like Kmart (3.5 percent) and Sears (5 percent).

    The company’s supply chain has only become more effective since then.

    Wal-Mart developed the concept of “cross docking,” or direct transfers from inbound or outbound truck trailers without extra storage. The company’s truck fleet and corps of non-unionized drivers continuously deliver goods to distribution centers (located an average 130 miles from the store), where they are stored, repackaged and distributed without sitting in inventory.

    Goods will cross from one loading dock to another, usually in 24 hours or less, and company trucks that would otherwise return empty “back haul” unsold merchandise.

    Collaboration

    Companies within the supply chain synchronize their demand projections under a collaborative planning, forecasting and replenishment scheme, and every link in the chain is connected through technology that includes a central database, store-level point-of-sale systems and a satellite network.

    Wal-Mart implemented the first companywide use of Universal Product Code bar codes, in which store level information was immediately collected and analyzed, and the company devised Retail Link, a mammoth Bentonville database. Through a global satellite system, Retail Link is connected to analysts who forecast supplier demands to the supplier network, which displays real-time sales data from cash registers and to Wal-Mart’s distribution centers.

    “The big piece of supply chain management is Wal-Mart has the retail link,” Crowell said, “the information from point-of-sale data, the cash register, that they put into their system and share with all their partners.

    “What makes that so innovative is at one time a lot of companies weren’t sharing that. In fact, they were using third parties where they had to pay for that information.”

    Wal-Mart’s approach meant frequent, informal cooperation among stores, distribution centers and suppliers and less centralized control. Furthermore, the company’s supply chain, by tracking customer purchases and demand, allows consumers to effectively pull merchandise to stores rather than having the company push goods onto shelves.

    In recent years Wal-Mart has used radio frequency identification tags (RFID), which use numerical codes that can be scanned from a distance to track pallets of merchandise moving along the supply chain. Even more recently the company has begun using smart tags, read by a handheld scanner, that allow employees to quickly learn which items need to be replaced so that shelves are consistently stocked and inventory is closely watched.

    RFID and smart tags are just the next generation in supply chain innovation that dates back to the 1960s, when Sam Walton personally attended an IBM school in upstate New York with the intention of landing experts to computerize operations.

    Wal-Mart reaps the benefits of its supply chain management in time saved, faster inventory turnover, increased warehouse space and accurate forecasting of inventory levels.

    “They really understand that if I’m going to build some stores and build some distribution centers, how am I going to service them?” Crowell said. “If you look at some of their competitors, sometimes they would put a store in and then think, ‘How am I going to service it?’”

    [caption] => [status] => publish [published_on] => 2012-07-02 00:00:00 [updated_on] => 2014-12-14 16:31:00 [created_on] => 2012-07-23 15:37:51 [creator_id] => 27 [updater_id] => 18 [author_id] => 71 [author_other_name] => [author_other_email] => [legacy_id] => [legacy_post_id] => [slug] => wal-mart-used-technology-to-become-supply-chain-leader [legacy_id_family] => [expired] => 0 [high_res] => ) ) [creator] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 27 [email] => tbaker@abpg.com [username] => tbaker [logins] => 5849 [last_login] => 1419264991 [display_name] => Tre Baker ) [updater] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 18 [email] => lturner@abpg.com [username] => lturner [logins] => 2144 [last_login] => 1419266278 [display_name] => Lance Turner ) [author] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 107 [email] => sbeherec@abpg.com [username] => sbeherec [logins] => 0 [last_login] => [display_name] => Sean Beherec ) [assets] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 57317 [title] => Wal-Mart Solar [caption] => Thin film solar panels on a Walmart store in Mountain View, California. | (Photos provided) [published_on] => 2014-12-05 11:38:24 [credit] => [type] => gallery [path] => [embed_code] => [video_id] => 0 [position] => 0 [width] => 660 [height] => 440 [assets] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 57316 [title] => Wal-Mart Solar [caption] => Wal-Mart has deployed more than 250 solar projects like these panels on a store in Covina, California. | (Photo provided) [published_on] => 2014-12-05 11:38:24 [credit] => [type] => image [path] => http://assets.inarkansas.com/57316/wal-mart-solar-196.jpg [embed_code] => [video_id] => 0 [position] => 0 [width] => 660 [height] => 440 ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 57315 [title] => Wal-Mart Solar [caption] => Thin film solar panels on a Walmart store in Mountain View, California. | (Photo provided) [published_on] => 2014-12-05 11:38:24 [credit] => [type] => image [path] => http://assets.inarkansas.com/57315/wal-mart-solar-791.jpg [embed_code] => [video_id] => 0 [position] => 5 [width] => 660 [height] => 440 ) ) ) ) [tags] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 2928 [tag] => Wal-Mart Stores Inc. [created_on] => 2009-11-19 11:32:49 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 20254 [tag] => Arkansas Business [created_on] => 2010-10-08 09:46:43 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [2] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33390 [tag] => Industries [created_on] => 2012-01-23 15:38:43 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 20254 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [3] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33391 [tag] => Print Edition [created_on] => 2012-01-23 15:38:58 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 20254 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [4] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33409 [tag] => Construction [created_on] => 2012-01-23 15:56:35 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [5] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33411 [tag] => Energy [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:01:07 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [6] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33420 [tag] => Public Companies [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:04:49 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [7] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33423 [tag] => Retail [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:05:19 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [8] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33428 [tag] => Innovate Arkansas [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:07:39 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 20254 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [9] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33536 [tag] => Daily Report [created_on] => 2012-01-26 11:00:50 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 20254 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [10] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 34586 [tag] => Cover Story [created_on] => 2012-02-27 14:43:36 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33391 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [11] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 55372 [tag] => Alan Mantooth [created_on] => 2014-12-03 09:52:07 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [12] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 55418 [tag] => Solar Energy Industries Association [created_on] => 2014-12-05 08:26:45 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [13] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 55419 [tag] => Ken Johnson [created_on] => 2014-12-05 08:26:45 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [14] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 55420 [tag] => David Ozment [created_on] => 2014-12-05 08:26:45 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [15] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 55421 [tag] => SolarCity [created_on] => 2014-12-05 08:26:45 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [16] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 55422 [tag] => SunEdison [created_on] => 2014-12-05 08:26:45 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) ) [issues] => Array ( ) ) )
    Array
    (
        [55418] => Solar Energy Industries Association
        [55419] => Ken Johnson
        [55420] => David Ozment
        [55421] => SolarCity
        [55422] => SunEdison
        [2928] => Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
        [55372] => Alan Mantooth
        [33409] => Construction
        [33411] => Energy
        [33420] => Public Companies
        [33423] => Retail
        [33391] => Print Edition
        [34586] => Cover Story
        [33390] => Industries
        [20254] => Arkansas Business
        [33428] => Innovate Arkansas
        [33536] => Daily Report
    )
    
  • Wal-Mart Investment in Solar Energy Transforms Industry 2 weeks ago
  • PublishArticle Object
    (
        [id] => 102528
        [object] => stdClass Object
            (
                [id] => 102528
                [title] => The Best & Worst of 2014
                [summary] => From best investment to worst financial projects, Arkansas Business recaps the best and worst of 2014.
                [content] => 

    Worst Guarantee

    The June sentencing hearing for career criminal Jim Bolt of Rogers revealed that the biggest victim of his scheme to steal unclaimed assets held by state governments was actually Arvest Bank of Fayetteville. Bolt set out to claim almost $1.9 million that belonged to 401(k) accounts for former employees of a defunct California company, but the third-party administrator that held the assets required him to submit a medallion stamp guaranteeing that he was who he claimed to be. According to FBI Special Agent Bob Cessario, Bolt was somehow able to persuade an Arvest officer to issue the medallion, and when Bolt’s fraud was uncovered, Arvest had to honor its guarantee. Without commenting specifically on the case, bank spokesman Jason Kincy said, “Banks do have insurance that cover these types of transactions and potential losses, including Arvest Bank.” 

    Best Investment 

    PAM Transportation Services of Tontitown held a Dutch auction to buy back 675,000 shares of its stock at $20.50 a pop in January. That’s a cool $13.8 million. The stock closed at $49.70 on Dec. 15, making those shares worth $33.5 million.

    Best — and Biggest — Puzzle

    That would be the Bachman Wilson House, the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house bought by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and moved from New Jersey to the museum grounds in Bentonville. The house will be reassembled, piece by numbered piece, with the wood framing to begin in January. Visitors have been bringing lawn chairs to the museum grounds to watch the work progress.

    Worst Denial

    In early February, our phones were ringing off the hook with the tip that Delta Trust & Banking Corp. of Little Rock was in the process of being sold to Simmons First National Corp. of Pine Bluff. David Garner, Simmons’ executive vice president and spokesman, told us at the time that the bank “can’t discuss anything that we’re working on.” But then he added, “That’s totally a rumor” that Simmons was buying Delta.

    About six weeks later, though, Simmons and Delta announced the deal, with Simmons First acquiring the outstanding common stock of Delta Trust in a transaction valued at about $66 million.

    Best Way to Lose a Friend

    The best way to end a friendship is to fight over money and then sue. Exhibit A could be the case of Dr. Eren Erdem and Dr. Scott Schlesinger. They were so close that they vacationed overseas together and became neighbors in Little Rock’s Chenal Valley. But then in 2014, Erdem accused Schlesinger in a lawsuit of betraying his trust and cheating him out of untold dollars. In his responses, Schlesinger has denied wrongdoing and insisted that Erdem was properly compensated for the services he performed at Schlesinger’s clinic. 

    The case is pending.

    Best Change in IRS Policy

    The New York Times did a public service with its reporting on the federal government’s practice of seizing money from people whose only crime was making deposits of less than $10,000 to sidestep a bank’s requirement to report deposits of $10,000 or more. As a result of that reporting, the IRS changed its policy on seizing money. The chief of criminal investigations for the IRS said it would no longer target money from “legal sources” in “structuring” cases unless there were exceptional circumstances. That was good news for Arkansan Dinanath Mulloli. The nearly $34,000 that was seized from him in September 2013 was returned to him in November because of the change in policy.

    Worst Financial Projections

    Directors of Crittenden Regional Hospital learned on Aug. 19 that its monthly revenue was only $2 million — about half of what they had previously been led to believe — while expenses were about $5 million. As a result, the hospital closed and filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

    Best Leveraging of a Big Break

    Architect Harrison French, founder of Harrison French & Associates of Bentonville, did a project for some friends of Bud Walton, Sam’s brother, back in 1993. One of those friends happened to work in the store planning department at Wal-Mart, which started sending work to French’s firm. “Basically, as that department grew, we grew with them,” French said, and now his firm, the fourth-largest architectural firm in Arkansas, does work not just for Wal-Mart but for Sam’s Club, Walgreens, 7-Eleven, Subway and Sonic

    Worst Dividend News

    Windstream Holdings Inc.’s planned spinoff of telecom assets into a real estate investment trust is innovative and could have great upside for the stock price, but shareholder dividends will take a hit. Windstream has traditionally paid $1 per share, even as the IRS ruled that, in 2012 and 2013 at least, more than half was a return of capital rather than a taxable dividend. And the portion that was taxable was subject to the usual dividend tax rate of 15 or 20 percent. The split companies expect to pay a combined dividend of 70 cents. And 60 cents of that — the REIT dividend — must be taxed as regular income, which can reach above 40 percent for the highest tax bracket.

    Best Art Exhibit

    The State of the Art exhibition at Crystal Bridges is a survey of contemporary American art that was assembled after museum curators undertook months of road trips covering 100,000 miles to search out talented but overlooked artists. The exhibition, which opened in September and closes Jan. 19, has gained national attention.

    Best Turn of the Corner

    That appears to be Little Rock’s Main Street, along which renovation is proceeding apace and which has attracted a number of new restaurants. Even Joe Fox, owner of Community Bakery and a Main Street pioneer, thinks “critical mass” along the corridor may have been reached.

    Best Exit Strategy

    It seemed odd when John Simone was named CEO at USA Truck of Van Buren in February 2013, while the man he replaced, Cliff Beckham, stayed at the company. Beckham returned to his previous role as CFO and helped Simone’s turnaround program before resigning Sept. 30. He and Simone had agreed to work together through Simone’s transition until the timing was right for Beckham to leave.

    Worst Fire Bug 

    In August, Lacey Rae Moore pleaded guilty to two counts of arson for setting fires in the north and south buildings of the Forest Place Apartments complex in Little Rock in 2013. Moore agreed to pay restitution of more than $12.5 million for damage caused by seven fires at the apartment complex, including five for which criminal charges were dropped as part of her plea agreement. In October, the 44-year-old woman was sentenced to 16 years in federal prison.

    Best New Name

    In an eat-or-be-eaten environment, several Arkansas banks have signaled their intentions to conquer new markets by dumping geographically limiting names. Our favorite is the new name of the bank formerly known as First National Bank of Green Forest: Anstaff. The name is an amalgam of Anderson and Stafford, the two families that helped organize the Carroll County bank in 1931 and who are still active in its management. Other contenders: Carroll County competitor The Bank of Eureka Springs rebranded as Cornerstone Bank in 2008, First National Bank & Trust of Mountain Home changed its name to Integrity First Bank in 2012, Pine Bluff National Bank was renamed Relyance Bank in 2013, and First National Banking Co. of Ash Flat renamed itself FNBC Bank in January.

    Coolest New Job

    Don Bacigalupi is leaving in January as president of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the museum startup funded by the Walton family, to head the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, a $700 million museum funded by “Star Wars” creator George Lucas that’s being built in Chicago.

    Best Addition to the Skyline

    Simmons Bank, the shortened brand name being used by Simmons First National Bank of Pine Bluff as it expands inside and outside the state, appeared on the state’s tallest building in April. Naming rights to the 40-story building in downtown Little Rock passed to Simmons when it acquired Metropolitan National Bank of Little Rock in a bankruptcy auction in 2013.
    The building is now the Simmons Tower.

    Best Transition From Worker to Boss

    We’re arguing for Mike Gueringer and Paul Reesnes, cabinet builders for the aviation industry in central Arkansas who decided to open their own business. Twenty-five years later, Custom Aircraft Cabinets in Sherwood employs 218 workers and sees annual revenue of $20 million to $30 million. It manufactures high-end cabinetry and upholstery products for the private, corporate and head-of-state aircraft market throughout the world. “We worked on the bench and we knew what it was like to be a number instead of a person,” Reesnes told Arkansas Business in February.

    [caption] => [status] => publish [published_on] => 2014-12-22 00:00:00 [updated_on] => 2014-12-19 17:10:54 [created_on] => 2014-12-19 10:47:03 [creator_id] => 27 [updater_id] => 27 [author_id] => 61 [author_other_name] => [author_other_email] => [legacy_id] => [legacy_post_id] => [slug] => the-best-worst-of-2014 [legacy_id_family] => [expired] => 0 [high_res] => [related] => Array ( ) [creator] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 27 [email] => tbaker@abpg.com [username] => tbaker [logins] => 5849 [last_login] => 1419264991 [display_name] => Tre Baker ) [updater] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 27 [email] => tbaker@abpg.com [username] => tbaker [logins] => 5849 [last_login] => 1419264991 [display_name] => Tre Baker ) [author] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 61 [email] => info@abpg.com [username] => abstaff [logins] => 0 [last_login] => [display_name] => Arkansas Business Staff ) [assets] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 57765 [title] => Best & Worst of 2014 [caption] => [published_on] => 2014-12-19 17:08:00 [credit] => [type] => gallery [path] => [embed_code] => [video_id] => [position] => 0 [width] => 660 [height] => 440 [assets] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 51288 [title] => Jim Bolt [caption] =>

    Mug shots from 1981 and 2013 illustrate Jim Bolt’s criminal history, which U.S. District Judge Timothy L. Brooks described as “extraordinarily lengthy.”

    [published_on] => 2014-06-20 11:59:00 [credit] => [type] => image [path] => http://assets.inarkansas.com/51288/jim-bolt-274.jpg [embed_code] => [video_id] => [position] => 0 [width] => 660 [height] => 440 ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 53473 [title] => Legacy Lawsuit [caption] => From left: Dr. Eren Erdem; Dr. Scott Schlesinger [published_on] => 2014-08-29 10:19:11 [credit] => [type] => image [path] => http://assets.inarkansas.com/53473/legacy-lawsuit-961.jpg [embed_code] => [video_id] => 0 [position] => 0 [width] => 660 [height] => 440 ) [2] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 53959 [title] => Crittenden Regional Hospital [caption] =>

    Crittenden Regional Hospital of West Memphis closed its doors this month, citing financial troubles. The hospital is now at the center of a lawsuit that alleges the misuse of its employees' insurance premiums.

    [published_on] => 2014-09-09 17:04:00 [credit] => Submitted Photo [type] => image [path] => http://assets.inarkansas.com/53959/crittenden-regional-hospital.jpg [embed_code] => [video_id] => 0 [position] => 0 [width] => 660 [height] => 440 ) [3] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 46465 [title] => Harrison French & Associates [caption] =>

    Harrison French & Associates recently completed a renovation of a former National Home Center building in Bentonville into the architecture firm’s new 45,000-SF headquarters.

    [published_on] => 2014-02-07 12:12:00 [credit] => [type] => image [path] => http://assets.inarkansas.com/46465/harrison-french-associates.jpg [embed_code] => [video_id] => 0 [position] => 0 [width] => 660 [height] => 440 ) [4] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 34924 [title] => Little Rock's Creative Corridor [caption] =>

    A rendering of Main Street's Creative Corridor by the University of Arkansas Community Design Center and Marlon Blackwell Architect.

    [published_on] => 2012-12-12 17:05:00 [credit] => [type] => image [path] => http://assets.inarkansas.com/34924/little-rocks-creative-corridor.jpg [embed_code] => [video_id] => 0 [position] => 0 [width] => 660 [height] => 440 ) [5] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 46449 [title] => Bachman Wilson House Frank Lloyd Wright [caption] =>

    Floods threatened the house. (Tarantino Studio © 2013; courtesy Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas)

    [published_on] => 2014-02-07 10:19:00 [credit] => [type] => image [path] => http://assets.inarkansas.com/46449/bachman-wilson-house-frank-lloyd-wright-702.jpg [embed_code] => [video_id] => [position] => 3 [width] => 660 [height] => 440 ) [6] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 53983 [title] => Media Preview for 'State of the Art' at Crystal Bridges [caption] =>

    Portions of the exhibit have spilled into space reserved for the museum's permanent collection.

    [published_on] => 2014-09-11 14:21:00 [credit] => Ryan A. Miller [type] => image [path] => http://assets.inarkansas.com/53983/media-preview-for-state-of-the-art-at-crystal-bridges-419.jpg [embed_code] => [video_id] => [position] => 4 [width] => 660 [height] => 440 ) [7] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 46670 [title] => John Simone [caption] =>

    USA Truck CEO John Simone, an experienced turnaround artist, put together a 27-point plan that has helped the Van Buren company’s stock price almost triple in the past year. (Photos by Kat Wilson)

    [published_on] => 2014-02-21 08:55:00 [credit] => [type] => image [path] => http://assets.inarkansas.com/46670/john-simone.jpg [embed_code] => [video_id] => 0 [position] => 5 [width] => 660 [height] => 440 ) [8] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 57645 [title] => Dan Cushman, president and CEO of PAM Transport [caption] =>

    Dan Cushman, president and CEO of PAM Transport, at his office in Tontitown: “I have to focus on what we do and do it well.” | (Photo by Brooke McNeely Galligan)

    [published_on] => 2014-12-12 11:47:00 [credit] => [type] => image [path] => http://assets.inarkansas.com/57645/dan-cushman-president-and-ceo-of-pam-transport.jpg [embed_code] => [video_id] => 0 [position] => 6 [width] => 660 [height] => 440 ) ) ) ) [tags] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 1337 [tag] => Arvest Bank [created_on] => 2009-10-16 16:42:44 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 12472 [tag] => David Garner [created_on] => 2010-05-04 22:50:41 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [2] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 19404 [tag] => Main Street corridor [created_on] => 2010-09-14 16:00:26 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [3] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 19460 [tag] => Don Bacigalupi [created_on] => 2010-09-15 16:27:13 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [4] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 20254 [tag] => Arkansas Business [created_on] => 2010-10-08 09:46:43 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [5] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33390 [tag] => Industries [created_on] => 2012-01-23 15:38:43 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 20254 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [6] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33391 [tag] => Print Edition [created_on] => 2012-01-23 15:38:58 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 20254 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [7] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33402 [tag] => Spotlight [created_on] => 2012-01-23 15:54:02 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33391 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [8] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33405 [tag] => Agriculture & Poultry [created_on] => 2012-01-23 15:55:00 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [9] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33406 [tag] => Architecture [created_on] => 2012-01-23 15:55:28 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [10] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33407 [tag] => Banking & Finance [created_on] => 2012-01-23 15:55:51 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [11] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33408 [tag] => Business Services [created_on] => 2012-01-23 15:56:09 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [12] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33409 [tag] => Construction [created_on] => 2012-01-23 15:56:35 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [13] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33410 [tag] => Education [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:00:47 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [14] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33411 [tag] => Energy [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:01:07 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [15] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33412 [tag] => Government & Politics [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:01:21 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [16] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33413 [tag] => Health Care [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:01:43 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [17] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33414 [tag] => Insurance [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:01:58 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [18] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33415 [tag] => Investments [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:02:11 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [19] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33416 [tag] => Legal [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:02:20 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [20] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33417 [tag] => Manufacturing [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:02:30 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [21] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33418 [tag] => Media & Marketing [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:03:00 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [22] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33419 [tag] => Nonprofits [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:03:25 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [23] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33420 [tag] => Public Companies [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:04:49 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [24] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33421 [tag] => Real Estate [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:04:58 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [25] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33422 [tag] => Restaurants & Food [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:05:12 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [26] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33423 [tag] => Retail [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:05:19 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [27] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33424 [tag] => Small Business [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:05:32 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [28] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33425 [tag] => Technology & Telecom [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:05:45 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [29] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33426 [tag] => Tourism [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:05:57 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [30] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33427 [tag] => Transportation [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:06:08 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [31] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33536 [tag] => Daily Report [created_on] => 2012-01-26 11:00:50 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 20254 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [32] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 37452 [tag] => Frank Lloyd Wright [created_on] => 2012-06-25 16:52:42 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [33] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 40312 [tag] => Paul Reesnes [created_on] => 2012-10-08 15:19:36 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [34] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 40313 [tag] => Mike Gueringer [created_on] => 2012-10-08 15:19:37 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [35] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 40315 [tag] => Custom Aircraft Cabinets [created_on] => 2012-10-08 15:19:45 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [36] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 40695 [tag] => Simmons First National Corp. [created_on] => 2012-10-25 08:25:31 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [37] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 40755 [tag] => USA Truck [created_on] => 2012-10-26 13:11:45 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [38] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 40824 [tag] => Cliff Beckham [created_on] => 2012-10-29 08:47:26 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [39] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 42000 [tag] => Creative Corridor [created_on] => 2012-12-12 17:07:21 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [40] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 43312 [tag] => John Simone [created_on] => 2013-02-18 09:54:22 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [41] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 43775 [tag] => Forest Place Apartments [created_on] => 2013-03-08 12:15:52 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [42] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 44333 [tag] => Delta Trust & Banking Corp. [created_on] => 2013-03-29 11:06:12 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [43] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 46314 [tag] => Jim Bolt [created_on] => 2013-06-27 13:14:57 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [44] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 47526 [tag] => Windstream Holdings Inc. [created_on] => 2013-08-30 08:21:51 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [45] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 49882 [tag] => Bachman Wilson House [created_on] => 2014-01-15 14:13:07 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [46] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 50366 [tag] => Lacey Rae Moore [created_on] => 2014-02-11 09:12:09 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [47] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 50407 [tag] => Eren Erdem [created_on] => 2014-02-14 12:50:17 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [48] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 50408 [tag] => Scott Schlesinger [created_on] => 2014-02-14 12:50:18 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [49] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 52881 [tag] => Jason Kincy [created_on] => 2014-06-24 09:54:24 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [50] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 53167 [tag] => First National Bank of Green Forest [created_on] => 2014-07-15 11:21:39 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [51] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 53801 [tag] => Crittenden Regional Hospital [created_on] => 2014-08-25 10:47:52 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [52] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 54264 [tag] => Crystal Bridges Museum [created_on] => 2014-09-17 15:48:13 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [53] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 55176 [tag] => PAM Transport [created_on] => 2014-11-21 09:32:54 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [54] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 55304 [tag] => Dinanath Mullol [created_on] => 2014-11-26 12:49:21 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) ) [issues] => Array ( ) ) )
    Array
    (
        [46314] => Jim Bolt
        [1337] => Arvest Bank
        [52881] => Jason Kincy
        [55176] => PAM Transport
        [44333] => Delta Trust & Banking Corp.
        [40695] => Simmons First National Corp.
        [12472] => David Garner
        [50407] => Eren Erdem
        [50408] => Scott Schlesinger
        [55304] => Dinanath Mullol
        [53801] => Crittenden Regional Hospital
        [47526] => Windstream Holdings Inc.
        [54264] => Crystal Bridges Museum 
        [19404] => Main Street corridor
        [42000] => Creative Corridor
        [43312] => John Simone
        [40755] => USA Truck
        [40824] => Cliff Beckham
        [50366] => Lacey Rae Moore
        [43775] => Forest Place Apartments
        [53167] => First National Bank of Green Forest
        [19460] => Don Bacigalupi
        [40313] => Mike Gueringer
        [40312] => Paul Reesnes
        [40315] => Custom Aircraft Cabinets
        [49882] => Bachman Wilson House
        [37452] => Frank Lloyd Wright
        [20254] => Arkansas Business
        [33390] => Industries
        [33405] => Agriculture & Poultry
        [33406] => Architecture
        [33407] => Banking & Finance
        [33408] => Business Services
        [33409] => Construction
        [33410] => Education
        [33411] => Energy
        [33412] => Government & Politics
        [33413] => Health Care
        [33414] => Insurance
        [33415] => Investments
        [33416] => Legal
        [33417] => Manufacturing
        [33418] => Media & Marketing
        [33419] => Nonprofits
        [33420] => Public Companies
        [33421] => Real Estate
        [33422] => Restaurants & Food
        [33423] => Retail
        [33424] => Small Business
        [33425] => Technology & Telecom
        [33426] => Tourism
        [33427] => Transportation
        [33391] => Print Edition
        [33402] => Spotlight
        [33536] => Daily Report
    )
    
  • The Best & Worst of 2014 11 hours ago
  • PublishArticle Object
    (
        [id] => 102537
        [object] => stdClass Object
            (
                [id] => 102537
                [title] => Jeff Gardner Forfeited Windstream Shares in Resignation
                [summary] => There are a few more details worth pointing out in Jeff Gardner’s resignation agreement with Windstream Holdings Inc. of Little Rock.
                [content] => 

    Windstream Holdings Inc. of Little Rock announced Jeff Gardner’s resignation Dec. 12 and filed an 8-K report with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission that laid out the details of the agreement. Gardner received the lump sum payment of $3 million, as well as about 250,000 shares in the company’s stock.

    But in exchange for the payout, Gardner is also forfeiting 706,945 shares, which will go back to the company. With Windstream’s stock price closing at $8.47 the day the resignation was announced, that amounts to $5.98 million.

    Gardner’s total compensation in fiscal 2013 was $7 million, down from $7.9 million in fiscal 2012.

    [caption] => [status] => publish [published_on] => 2014-12-22 00:00:00 [updated_on] => 2014-12-19 11:52:32 [created_on] => 2014-12-19 11:52:04 [creator_id] => 27 [updater_id] => 27 [author_id] => 61 [author_other_name] => [author_other_email] => [legacy_id] => [legacy_post_id] => [slug] => jeff-gardner-forfeited-windstream-shares-in-resignation [legacy_id_family] => [expired] => 0 [high_res] => [related] => Array ( ) [creator] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 27 [email] => tbaker@abpg.com [username] => tbaker [logins] => 5849 [last_login] => 1419264991 [display_name] => Tre Baker ) [updater] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 27 [email] => tbaker@abpg.com [username] => tbaker [logins] => 5849 [last_login] => 1419264991 [display_name] => Tre Baker ) [author] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 61 [email] => info@abpg.com [username] => abstaff [logins] => 0 [last_login] => [display_name] => Arkansas Business Staff ) [assets] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 52390 [title] => Jeff Gardner [caption] => Jeff Gardner [published_on] => 2014-07-26 11:08:35 [credit] => [type] => image [path] => http://assets.inarkansas.com/52390/jeff-gardner-596.jpg [embed_code] => [video_id] => 0 [position] => 0 [width] => 300 [height] => 400 [assets] => Array ( ) ) ) [tags] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 15953 [tag] => Jeff Gardner [created_on] => 2010-07-19 11:14:22 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 20254 [tag] => Arkansas Business [created_on] => 2010-10-08 09:46:43 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [2] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33390 [tag] => Industries [created_on] => 2012-01-23 15:38:43 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 20254 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [3] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33391 [tag] => Print Edition [created_on] => 2012-01-23 15:38:58 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 20254 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [4] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33404 [tag] => Whispers [created_on] => 2012-01-23 15:54:23 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33391 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [5] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33425 [tag] => Technology & Telecom [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:05:45 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [6] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 47526 [tag] => Windstream Holdings Inc. [created_on] => 2013-08-30 08:21:51 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 0 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) ) [issues] => Array ( ) ) )
    Array
    (
        [15953] => Jeff Gardner
        [47526] => Windstream Holdings Inc.
        [20254] => Arkansas Business
        [33390] => Industries
        [33425] => Technology & Telecom
        [33391] => Print Edition
        [33404] => Whispers
    )
    
  • Jeff Gardner Forfeited Windstream Shares in Resignation 11 hours ago
  • PublishArticle Object
    (
        [id] => 102555
        [object] => stdClass Object
            (
                [id] => 102555
                [title] => Uncertainty Surrounds Gay Marriage Case (Andrew DeMillo Analysis)
                [summary] => The Arkansas Supreme Court's biggest piece of unfinished business as it wraps up 2014 — whether the state's ban on same-sex marriage is constitutional — is the one that will have the most far-reaching effects for the state. Punting the issue until next year could introduce a whole new set of complications into the already thorny issue.
                [content] => 

    LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Supreme Court's biggest piece of unfinished business as it wraps up 2014 — whether the state's ban on same-sex marriage is constitutional — is the one that will have the most far-reaching effects for the state. Punting the issue until next year could introduce a whole new set of complications into the already thorny issue.

    With less than two weeks left in the year, justices have yet to issue a decision about the 2004 constitutional amendment and earlier state law defining marriage as between a man and a woman. And despite agreeing to fast-track the case, there's no guarantee the court will weigh in before 2015.

    Justices are considering whether Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza was right to strike down the ban as unconstitutional. More than 500 same-sex couples were issued marriage licenses before the Supreme Court suspended Piazza's decision.

    Waiting until next year could change the dynamics of the case and raises the possibility of a prolonged fight over gay marriage in Arkansas. It could also upend a legislative session that was expected to focus on economic issues, not social ones.

    As the court inches closer to a decision in the case, here are the unanswered questions that remain:

    —WHO WILL DECIDE THE CASE?: Waiting until next year would likely mean at least one new judge taking part in the ruling. The new court will be sworn in on Jan. 6, with Robin Wynne replacing outgoing Justice Donald Corbin. Corbin has been viewed as a reliable vote for striking down the marriage ban after voicing skepticism at the state's argument that a constitutional amendment can't be unconstitutional. Special Justice Robert McCorkindale, who was appointed to sit in after outgoing Justice Cliff Hoofman recused, is expected to still participate in the case even if it stretches into the next court's term. Rhonda Wood is replacing Hoofman on the court.

    —HOW FAR WILL THE FIGHT GO?: This depends on how the court rules and what basis it uses. Either way the court rules, the next immediate step for the side that loses is to petition for a rehearing within 18 calendar days of the decision. A response to that request is due within seven days. This makes it more and more likely that outgoing Attorney General Dustin McDaniel will be handing the case off to incoming Republican Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. McDaniel has said he personally supports legalizing gay marriage, but would continue defending the ban in court. Rutledge says she opposes gay marriage and has vowed to defend the ban.

    Time is already running out for McDaniel to appeal U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker's decision that the ban violates the U.S. Constitution. McDaniel has said he's waiting for the state Supreme Court's ruling before making a decision.

    —WILL GAY MARRIAGES RESUME IN ARKANSAS?: That depends on how the court rules. When Baker struck down the ban last month, she suspended her decision as the state weighed whether to appeal to the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. A decision isn't considered final under Supreme Court rules until a mandate is issued. That usually is 18 calendar days after the ruling, though the court can choose to issue its mandate immediately. In other words, a ruling striking down the ban doesn't necessarily mean gay marriages will continue immediately.

    — WHAT'S THE FALLOUT?: A decision striking down Arkansas' marriage ban will have huge implications despite the timing, but it could change the dynamics of the legislative session set to begin Jan. 12. Some Republican lawmakers are already expected to push for a constitutional amendment that would allow the recall of judges, an idea that Little Rock businessman Jackson T. Stephens Jr. floated after the court kept a minimum wage increase on the ballot. He'd likely get some help from religious conservatives to put a recall measure on the 2016 ballot if the marriage ban is struck.

    (Andrew DeMillo has covered Arkansas government and politics for The Associated Press since 2005. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ademillo)

    (Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

    [caption] => [status] => publish [published_on] => 2014-12-22 07:44:00 [updated_on] => 2014-12-22 07:46:39 [created_on] => 2014-12-22 07:46:39 [creator_id] => 93 [updater_id] => 93 [author_id] => 0 [author_other_name] => Andrew DeMillo, The Associated Press [author_other_email] => ademillo@ap.org [legacy_id] => [legacy_post_id] => [slug] => uncertainty-surrounds-gay-marriage-case-andrew-demillo-analysis [legacy_id_family] => [expired] => 0 [high_res] => [related] => Array ( ) [creator] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 93 [email] => lhogan@abpg.com [username] => lhogan [logins] => 455 [last_login] => 1419267127 [display_name] => Lee Hogan ) [updater] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 93 [email] => lhogan@abpg.com [username] => lhogan [logins] => 455 [last_login] => 1419267127 [display_name] => Lee Hogan ) [author] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 0 [email] => [username] => [logins] => 0 [last_login] => [display_name] => ) [assets] => Array ( ) [tags] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 20254 [tag] => Arkansas Business [created_on] => 2010-10-08 09:46:43 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 0 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [1] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33390 [tag] => Industries [created_on] => 2012-01-23 15:38:43 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 20254 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [2] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33412 [tag] => Government & Politics [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:01:21 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [3] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33416 [tag] => Legal [created_on] => 2012-01-23 16:02:20 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 33390 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) [4] => stdClass Object ( [id] => 33536 [tag] => Daily Report [created_on] => 2012-01-26 11:00:50 [filter_tag] => 0 [internal] => 1 [parent_id] => 20254 [public] => 0 [hidden] => 0 ) ) [issues] => Array ( ) ) )
    Array
    (
        [20254] => Arkansas Business
        [33390] => Industries
        [33412] => Government & Politics
        [33416] => Legal
        [33536] => Daily Report
    )
    
  • Uncertainty Surrounds Gay Marriage Case (Andrew DeMillo Analysis) 3 hours ago

Latest Arkansas Business Poll

Do you approve of the president taking executive action on immigration?