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2010 Economic News

Fayetteville Electronics Firm Earns Grant

Arkansas Power Electronics Internation (APEI) of Fayetteville will receive a $500,000 US Department of Energy grant to continue developing high temperature silicon-carbon power modules, a project that has been recognized as one of the world's top 100 new technology breakthroughs by R&D Magazine. The grant will be used to bring the technology into commercial production and support an estimated 25 jobs which will be created over the next one to three years. An additional 50 jobs are expected to be created in 3 to 5 years as a result of this project.

Silicon Solar Solutions LLC of Fayetteville Wins Event

Silicon Solar Solutions LLC, a Fayetteville, Arkansas based comany, was selected as the grand prize winner at the Young Presidents Organization Dragons Den event held in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The event was a signature event at the biennial meeting of the organization and it provided startup companies with exposure to a group of individuals who are actively seeking investment opportunities. The event invited the best four teams from Canada and the United States to pitch their investment opportunity. Silicon Solar Solutions was declared the winner and received $5,000 cash.

New Retail Group to Push Mall Area as Destination

A new group called the Uptown Fayetteville Association plans to promote the north side of Fayetteville. The area is a collection of retailers, restaurants, hotels, and other ventures that have largely operated independently. In addition to the mall, the area feature large chain stores such as Wal-Mart, Target, Kohl's, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble, Toys-R-Us and Pier 1 as well as smaller retailers sprinkled throughout the area. Uptown Fayetteville is defined as the area between Zion and Millsap roads to the north and south and Crossover Road and Gregg Avenue to the east and west. The association has 30 members including the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce. The association has a website

Liquor World of Fayetteville, Arkansas Receives Honor

Market Watch selected Liquor World of Fayetteville as one of six recipients of Market Leaders 2010 Market Watch is a trade publication published by Shanken Communications which also publishes Wine Spectator magazine. The award recognizes Liquor World as a national market leader in retailing wine, beer, and spirits.

Tyson Mexican Original of Fayetteville Garners Award

Texas-base Taco Bueno recently selected Tyson Mexican Original of Fayetteville as the restaurant chains' Product Vendor of the year. The criteria for the award are based on the product's performance during the proir year. Tyson Mexican Original makes flour and corn tortillas and chips and today is the nation's second largest tortilla manufacturer. Taco Bueno is a quick-service restaraunt operating in almost 190 locations in Arkansas, Kansas, Louisana, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

Superior Industries Sales Continue to Grow

Strong vehicle sales have kept production lines busy at local Superior Industries plants. Fayetteville and Rogers are the only US operations for the Van Nuys, California-based company. They have three factories in Mexico as well. The factories make wheels primarily to Chrysler, Ford, Toyota and General Motors. Revenues were up $ 72.3 million or 65 percent to $183.7 million this quarter compared to $111.4 million the same period last year. Net income was $10.4 million compared to a loss of $12.7 million the same quarter last year. There was an average of 782 employees in the Fayetteville plant now compared to 573 employees at the beginning of the year. Superior continues to expand into India through its investment in Synergies Castings, an Indian aluminum wheel maker. Superior own 8.7 percent of share in the Indian company.

US Biomed Grants Go To 3 Firms in Arkansas

The US Department of Health and Human Services awarded three Arkansas companies a total of $730,000 in grants for biomedical research. The Therapeutic Discovery Project Program, which is a part of the overhaul of the US health-care system, awarded a grant of $244,000 to Pacific Vet Group-USA Inc. of Fayetteville. The company creates products for the poultry industry. The other two recipients are Stage I Diagnostics Inc. of Little Rock and BioStrategies LLC of Jonesboro. They received $241,000 and $244,000 respectively.

Fayetteville Chamber Member and Architect Tim Maddox Labeled a Rising Star

Fayetteville chamber member and architect Tim Maddox was recently recognized by the folks at Gargen & Gun magazine. Mr. Maddox, a principal at deMx Architecture, was tabbed as one of 21 "rising stars who are makin us all look good" in the August-September issue, which focused on Southern style and culture. He is from Jonesboro and attended the University of Arkansas' Fay Jones School of Architecture.

Copia Buys 15 Sunbridge Homes for $2.65 Million

Courtney M. Smith through Copia Properties LLC, bought 15 single-family homes in the Sunbridge Villas subdivision in Fayetteville. The subdivision is located west of College Ave. between Sunbridge Drive and East Drake Street. First State Bank foreclosed on the properties from Sunbridge Villas Development 1 LLC.

Fayetteville, AR and, Charleston, SC, Chosen for Home Depot Sustainable Cities Program 

Fayetteville, Arkansas and Charleston, South Carolina, have been selected as two pilot cities for a Home Depot-sponsored program that will attempt to implement lasting sustainability programs at the local level. The two cities will share equally $1 million in the three-year initiative. The initiative is designed to provide immediate cost svings for these cities and their residents and also to be easily replicable in other communities. The Sustainable Cities Institue (SCI) will provide a full-time local coordinator as well as ongoing technical assistance from sustainability experts, such as the Urban Land Institute and the Cneter for Neighborhood Technology. The City of Fayetteville in partnership with the National Center for Appropriate Technology plan to build approximately 40 energy-star-certified homes for low-to-moderate income families in the Walker Park neighborhood; design and build the new neighborhood to meet LEED for Neighborhood Development Standards; develop a Low Impace Development (LID) drainage and engineering specifications manual, and to extend a section of the Northwest Arkansas Regional Multi-Trail system to the Walker Park neighborhood.

Penguin Ed's Diversifies to Cafes

Ed Knight and his wife, Diane, owners of Fayetteville's three Penguin Ed's Bar-B-Q locations, have launched Ed's Penguin Cafe beside their Mission Blvd shop.

Spiedini Italian Grill Reopens in Fayetteville

Local Proprietor Robert Lee is making preparations to reopen Spiedini Italian Grill in the former place of Soul Restaurant & Lounge. The property is located in the Signature Plaza locale at the corner of Joyce Blvd and Arkansas 265. The 3,400 SF space would be ready very soon and will have space for 125 guests. The restaurant will have a patio seating and it will serve beer, wines and mixed drinks. Catering/carry-out services will also be available.

A New Church along Wedington Drive

First Baptist Church of Springdale and The Church at Pinnacle Hills are expanding their mission into Fayetteville. Construction is underway for a 15,750 SF building. The new building will have Sunday school classrooms, office space and a 344-seat worship center. The Shoppes at Wedington LLC purchased the building permit for $1.59 million to build the building at 3484 Wedington Drive. The group bought the land for $976,000 in June 2008. Miller Boskus Lack Architects PA is the architectural firm on the project, McClelland Consulting Engineers Inc. is the civil engineer, and CR Crawford Construction is the general contractor. All three companies are Fayetteville-based companies. Financing for the project is provided by BancorpSouth Bank.

UAMS Northwest Gets Grant

The Wal-Mart Foundation has awarded a $650,000 grant to the UAMS Northwest to be used to enhance distance learning technology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Northwest campus. This distance learning will allow the schools in Fayetteville to share lecturers in Little Rock. The ability to offer the same material on both campuses helps to build a sense of ownership for UAMS-Northwest students. Enrollment is inching up at the Fayetteville campus. Last academic year the first 6 medical students ventured to Fayetteville. Those students were joined this year by 3 additional third-year students. This fall, 22 third-year pharmacy students will start in Fayetteville. A total of 92 students will enroll in medical, pharmacy, nursing and allied health programs. That number will eventually reach 250 to 300 students. The distance learning grant will help to increase the schools' capacity to educate more health care workers. The Association of American Medical Colleges reports that nationwide, physician shortages will jump to 62,900 in five years and 91,500 by 2020.

Ulta Beauty Store is coming to North Fayetteville

Ultal Beauty store of Bolingbrook, IL, has started retail finish-out at 3825 N. Mall Ave in Fayetteville, AR. The store will be between 10,000 and 12,000 SF. General contractor is Commercial Contractors Inc. of Grand Haven,MI, while subcontractors include Bill's Electric Inc., Webb's Plumbing Co., and Red Star Heating & Air Inc., all from Fayetteville. Ulta has about 350 stores nationwide with net sales of $396 million in 2009. The company plans to open 46 stores in 2010. 

Maurices Opens 5th Store in Northwest Arkansas

Maurices opens its fifth northwest Arkansas store in the Northwest Arkansas Mall in Fayetteville. Maurices is a national apparel and accessories chain that caters to young female shoppers. The store is 5,900 SF and will feature denim tees, hoodies, pants, dresses, tops, shoes, and boots. Maurices' brands include Studio Y and Wear@Work. Maurices is a division of Dress Barn Inc. of Suffern, NY. It has stores in Rogers, Siloam Springs, Fort Smith and Harrison. This new store will be its 14th store in Arkansas.

Local Opening Farrell's Lounge,Bar and Grill

Tim Farrell Jr. and his father will soon be new owners of the Farrell's Lounge, Bar and Grill located in the heart of Dickson Street. The "open and inviting" space of 3,683 SF space will make room for booth seating, lounge furniture and several flatscreen TVs. There will be live music and roughly 30 beers on tap at the non-smoking establishment. Total new hires could reach 12-15 people. The new lounge is located at 311 W Dickson and is scheduled to open in time for the fall.

Subway's 8th Store Opening in Fayetteville

Sage Partners, representing Subway restaurants, has recently reached an agreement for Subway to open its 8th store in Fayetteville at the intersection of College Ave and Ash St. The store has 2,000 SF space.

AEO announces Green Technology Grant Recipients

The Arkansas Energy Office (AEO) a division of the Arkansas Economic Development Commision has announced that FIVE Fayetteville, AR companies are the recipients of just over $1 million in funding through the Arkansas Green Technology Grant Program. The Fayetteville companies are:

LGW, INC - $290,496 for a pilot project to demonstrate battery-based storage systmes. Phigenics -$300 ,000 for the build out of a water analysis facility in commercial and industrial cooling towers and heat exchangers that will directly save 15 to 25 percent per facility in utility costs.
NextGen Illumination - $337,500 for a statewide demonstration of a LED lighting. 
Cooper Power Systems - $60,000 to repace an annealing ove  with a high-efficiency oven.
Bekaert - $100,000 for a facility lighting retrofit.