Written by Arkansas Real Estate
We appreciate his insight on some of the current and projected happenings here in Bentonville.
Thank you for taking time to chat with us this week, Tom!
What major growth did you see in 2011?
We have seen mostly growth within our larger companies, with a good dose of small/entrepreneurial business growth. The overall jobs have not increased, as some businesses are running out of reserve capital waiting for the economy to improve, and not hiring more folks.
What growth do you expect to experience for 2012 and beyond?
We expect the effects of the opening of the Crystal Bridges Museum to be very positive for tourism in general and to add more restaurants, etc.
How much of that growth do you expect to be a direct impact from the opening of Crystal Bridges?
As a percentage, not sure. There are a lot of factors in the world economy and with worldwide companies located here, the overall economy needs to improve. We expect it will take a few years before that arrives again.
With the planned expansion of the Walton Arts Center, do you see any other fine arts or museum attractions opening in Bentonville in the next 3-5 years?
We expect the NWA Children’s Museum to open perhaps in that time frame as they raise money for that venue. Also the Native American Museum is continuing to expand.
Would you attribute the growth in Bentonville this past year been to an increase in small business openings or an increase in large industry and their vendor supporters?
Probably some of both. I expect in Bentonville the return of or expansion of suppliers and Wal-Mart itself grew as their business has grown. These are a result of changing the merchandising focus within Wal-Mart.
What challenges or obstacles do you think Bentonville will face in the coming years to maintain its growth rate, and continue to be a business destination for the region?
We believe, as Mayor McCaslin has stated, that the impending EPA rules on wastewater discharge, if not abated, could significantly curtail our future growth. Also, our other infrastructure needs, if not addressed, would lead to a slowing of growth. A continued slow worldwide economy will slow us down somewhat also.