By Bear State Bank

Local Stories

And They’re Off!

Residents of the Bear State looking for a diversion during the cold winter months and into the spring have the option of enjoying world-class thoroughbred racing at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs. The season opens January 12 and runs through April 14. During this time, people from all over the south and beyond will come to Oaklawn to witness racing at its highest level.

Five to Follow with Mike Preston

Five to Follow asks Arkansas Economic Development Commission Executive Director Mike Preston to share his five favorite media sites. A Florida native who held a similar position in that state, he was tapped for this job by Gov. Asa Hutchinson in March 2015.

So You Want to Start a Small-Town Pharmacy

Before there was Walmart the closest thing small towns had to a one-stop shop was the local pharmacy. Small town pharmacies like Sam Alexander’s on the Harrison Square were the go-to places for most everything other than clothes and groceries. Ever wonder what it takes to open a business? So You Want to Start profiles businesses and poses that very question.

So You Want to Start a Dog-Grooming Business

With its self-service wash tubs, professional pedicures and custom grooming, Bark ‘N Paws is a one-stop shop for prettying up your pet. This month, So You Want to Start gets to the bottom of what it takes to start a dog-grooming business. Ever wonder what it takes to open a business? So You Want to Start profiles businesses and poses that very question.

Bath Water for Beer

In 2013 Rose Schweikhart opened Superior Bathhouse Brewery in Hot Springs after the iconic structure sat tenantless for over 30 years. The Superior is the only brewery located in a national park, and it is the first to utilize thermal waters in beer. In her four years as owner and brew master, Schweikhart expanded her brand and exceeded the 10-year projections in her business plan approved by the National Parks Service.

So You Want to
Open a Bar

We’re suckers for other businesses that carry the name “Bear,” so we were drawn to a bar and hamburger joint in an industrial section of Fayetteville called “Bear’s Place.” There you’ll find chainsaw-carved wooded bears holding American flags guarding the entrance. Another wooden bear peers down from the roof as if it’s ready to leap on unsuspecting prey. Bear’s Place sounds like our kind of place.

DeLuca’s Pizzeria Napoletana

DeLuca’s Pizzeria Napoletana in Hot Springs opened its doors four years ago. During this time, proprietor Anthony Valinoti, who had no previous restaurant experience, grew the business from a fledgling restaurant to the establishment hailed by the Arkansas Times as having the best pizza in Arkansas and receiving recommendations from The Food Network and Time Out New York.

Michel Shay, 2017 Gold Buckle Gala Honoree

If you want a meeting with one of the more successful business owners in the Springfield area, don’t go looking in a high-rise building with glassed-lined corner offices with city views. Instead, you will have better luck by knocking on the door of a modest, metal office building with nothing more than an address on the front door. There you will find Michel Shay, whose business portfolio includes more than a dozen restaurants, a convenience store, two wildlife ranches and a farm.

That Darn Rob

“Hi, I’m Rob and I’m a wood turner. I make traditional shaving gear and other wooden goods.” Rob handcrafts and sells traditional shaving gear, mostly wet-shaving brushes made of acrylic. The brushes sell for $40 to $70 apiece and are highly valued for both their functionality and collectability. 

The Waters

Historic downtown Hot Springs has a new jewel in her crown. The Waters, a new 62-room boutique hotel across from Bathhouse Row, opened in the renovated Thompson Building. The Waters, which has quickly become a favorite retreat in Spa City, retains many features of the original historical building while providing a modern experience.

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