Business Briefs (Sept. 7, 2009)

● The North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce recently named the Golden Corral restaurant in North Little Rock as Business of the Year for 2009 for its leadership and commitment to the community. The chamber will honor the Golden Corral at the first Family Fun Fest on Oct. 10 and also at the 25th annual chamber banquet in early 2010. James Staats is the general manager. Finalists included Blue Coast Burrito, Mainstream Technologies Inc., Simply the Best Catering and St. Vincent Medical Center-North.

● The Arkansas Hospitality Association's 2009 convention and trade show, Wild About Arkansas, will be held Sept. 23-24 at the Statehouse Convention Center. The association's 65th annual session includes numerous competitions, such as the iron chef, bartending and hotel bed-making competitions, as well as its Hospitality Awards banquet. For more information, call (501) 376-2323.

● Frank E. Robins III, 80, former publisher and last family owner of the Log Cabin Democrat at Conway, died Aug. 29. The newspaper had been in family hands since 1894 until Robins sold 49 percent to Stauffer Communications Inc. in 1989. Robins, who started in the newsroom in 1949, took over as publisher in 1959 and retired in 1994. Morris Communications Inc. bought Stauffer in 1995.

● Stephens Inc. was the underwriter for the public offering of 750,000 shares of Orchids Paper Products Co. of Pryor, Okla., at a price to the public of $18.50 per share. The company, which makes tissue paper products for the private label consumer market, received net proceeds of about $12.8 million from the offering, after deducting the underwriting discount and estimated offering expenses.

● Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP of Houston is buying Dallas-based Crosstex Energy LP's natural gas treatment business for $266 million. The deal includes about 290 plants in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Kansas.

● Mitchell Williams Selig Gates & Woodyard PLLC, the Little Rock law firm, has launched a new sustainability legal practice that focuses on legal and regulatory issues as businesses consider environmental factors in their transactions. Heather M. Bell, counsel in the firm's northwest Arkansas office in Rogers, will serve as team leader for the practice.

● A Wal-Mart Foundation grant of $100,000 was used by the Arkansas Foodbank Network to buy two dual-purpose refrigerated mobile food pantry trucks last week at its kickoff of Hunger Action Month. The two trucks will be used for the Southern Arkansas Retail Pick-up & Mobile Food Pantries Program.

● Innovated Water Equipment Inc. of Little Rock, a distributor for Sionix Corp. of Anaheim, Calif., is in the final phase of testing the water treatment capabilities of  Sionix's first commercially installed field unit. The Elixir 225-P/RO unit is designed to enable oil and gas drilling companies to perform on-site recycling of water produced from hydrofracturing.

● The Sam M. Walton College of Business' department of information systems at the University of Arkansas has been selected as one of 10 Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Information Systems Division's "core schools." Wal-Mart will continue to fund the Wal-Mart ISYS Scholars program this fall with a total of $10,000.

● Arkansas Western Gas Co. has opened a new in-house customer care center in Fayetteville that adds more than 80 jobs. The utility also implemented a new billing system for its natural gas customers that adds pay-by-phone, Internet, additional third-party payment locations, electronic billing and no-fee credit card payments.

 

● Anthony Forest Products Co. of El Dorado has won the first ever Safest Company Award in its category of three or fewer APA- The Engineered Wood Association member mills for 2008, one of only two awarded. Anthony Forest's Arkansas Laminating Plant at El Dorado and Georgia Laminating Plant in Washington were also recognized in the Incident Free Honor Society.

● Cadena Contracting of North Little Rock has been named to Inc. magazine's annual ranking of the fastest-growing private companies in America. Cadena ranked No. 3,791 on the 2009 Inc. 5000 list.

● The Arkansas Governor's Council on Fitness is accepting nominations for the 2009 Leadership in Physical Fitness Awards through Sept. 30. Organizations and individuals who have helped promote physical fitness and healthy lifestyles are currently being sought for recognition in the following categories: corporate, government agency, individual, group, senior, health and fitness club, school or school district, physical educator and trails. Individuals or organizations interested in applying for an award (or nominating an individual or organization) should visit www.arkansasfitness.com or call (501) 918-5321.

● The Small Business Administration, the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and O'Neal Technologies will provide a free business development workshop titled "Business Development-Strategic Marketing" from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sept. 16 at the chamber office in Little Rock. Those wishing to register should visit www.onealtectraining.com.