Home Improvement Project

A longtime Jonesboro firm recently celebrated a grand opening to mark its upgraded facility.

The $1 million renovation at E.C. Barton & Co. is viewed as a competitive response in the tug-of-war for home improvement market share. Lowe's previously relocated to a new 125,000-SF outlet on 12 acres.

Barton's more than doubled its 15,000-SF flagship store and remodeled its warehouse operation. The new design center includes custom kitchens and baths, floor covering and hardware.

The 110-year-old enterprise, employee-owned since December 1993, operates 43 locations in six states and generates annual sales of more than $51 million. The venture is led by company President Niel Crowson.

A work force of 425 is divided among five divisions: 21 retail outlets in Arkansas and five in Missouri; 16 Union Salvage discount stores in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas; a Wholesale Builders Material Co. operation across town in Jonesboro; E.C.B. Brokerage Co., which buys and sells discount merchandise nationwide; and Builders Material Trucking Co.