Arkansas Business

Local & Regional News
7:10 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

Founder Of USA Drug Dies At Home In Pine Bluff

The founder of USA Drug has died at his home in Pine Bluff.

Jefferson County Coroner Chad Kelley told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that 71-year-old Stephen LaFrance Sr. died Wednesday. Kelley said the death was due to natural causes.

LaFrance formed USA Drug in 1968 and his company owned 144 stores in seven states when he sold it to Walgreen's in a $438 million deal last July. The company's stores operated under the names of USA Drug, Super D Drug, May's Drug, Med-X and Drug Warehouse in Arkansas, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Tennessee.

Local & Regional News
11:32 am
Tue May 28, 2013

Arkansas Foodies Get Free Meals On National Burger Day


With Memorial Day over, many Arkansans have put their grills away. However, two Back Yard Burger restaurants in central Arkansas are offering a special meal deal to customers Tuesday in honor of National Burger Day.

Elyse Hammett works with the Back Yard Burger chain in Arkansas. She says Burger Day began in Michigan in the 1930s and later became an annual event enjoyed by foodies nationwide.

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Economic Development
6:22 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

West Memphis Gets $11M Grant For Port

West Memphis is to receive a $10.9 million grant to expand the city's port.

The grant from the U.S. Transportation Department announced Wednesday will go toward rail improvements. The work will enable the port to handle more freight.

The Transportation Department says the project will not only help the port but will spur other business activity by stimulating more trade.

The expansion is also expected to attract development in West Memphis, which will create more jobs. The expansion will dramatically expand the port's railcar capacity.

Arkansas Exports
6:14 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

4 Arkansas Companies Honored For Global Trade

Gov. Mike Beebe is honoring four Arkansas companies for their leadership in exporting goods and services throughout the world.

Beebe presented the Governor's Award for Excellence in Global Trade during an awards luncheon Wednesday in Little Rock. Springdale-based Tyson Foods Inc. was honored in the agribusiness category.

Conway Machine Inc. received the award for small manufacturers. The company was created in 1972 and produces after-market parts for die cutters.

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Local & Regional News
6:28 am
Wed May 22, 2013

Walmart Pledges $1M For Oklahoma Tornado Recovery

Walmart says it is pledging $1 million for the recovery from the tornado that devastated Moore. 

The Bentonville, Ark.-based company said Tuesday that it will make donations of cash and materials equal to $1 million.

Walmart is also sending truckloads of food, water and other basic items to serve as immediate aid.

The world's largest retailer says no customers or employees were injured in its two stores in Moore. But the company says some workers' homes were destroyed and that it is still checking on the needs of its employees.

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Local & Regional News
10:19 am
Tue May 21, 2013

Remington Plans $32 Million Expansion In Lonoke

Remington Arms Company's ammunition plant in Lonoke.

Remington Arms Company LLC says it will spend $32 million to expand the company's ammunition plant in Lonoke. 

Remington says the expansion will include the construction of a new building. Work is expected to begin later this year and finish up by next spring.

Remington's Lonoke plant manager Jim Grahlmann says the expansion will help Remington meet a growing global demand for ammunition.

The Remington plant in Lonoke designs and makes ammunition products. It opened in 1969.

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Local & Regional News
7:14 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

Inside Union Pacific's North Little Rock Rail Yard

A freight train travels through the Union Pacific yard in North Little Rock, with the Arkansas Capitol in the background.
Michael Hibblen/ KUAR

Railroads have long been a key industry for Arkansas, with North Little Rock today being the home of one of the largest rail yards for Union Pacific.

The sprawling grounds are busy 24 hours a day with arriving and departing freight trains.

It’s a complicated process, sorting rail cars that arrive from all over the country, changing crews and servicing the equipment.

Directing the action from the top of a tower in the center of the yard is General Yard Master Robby Robelot. He says the biggest challenge is coordination and timing.

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Public Service In Helena-West Helena
7:18 am
Mon May 20, 2013

Hope Rising In Helena-West Helena, Arkansas: Part Three

Gracie Gonner at her office in the Family Center.
Malcolm Glover KUAR

Communities throughout the Arkansas Delta often battle against a rising tide of economic woes. As factories close and labor-intensive jobs leave small towns, populations dwindle in many rural cities.

For decades, outside investments from banks and charitable organizations helped stimulate marginal growth, but most of the heavy lifting necessary to revitalize communities must be done by the people who live there.

In downtown Helena, a building that was once a post office is now a hub for various programs that provide important services to women and families.

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Arkansas Business
5:38 am
Mon May 20, 2013

Walmart Launches "Arkansas' Own" To Promote Products Made In The State

Yarnell Ice Cream given for free at the kickoff
Kezia Nanda

The world's largest retailer, Walmart, is emphasizing products that are created, processed and produced in Arkansas.

Local companies and lawmakers joined in the launching Monday to highlight thousands of Arkansas-made items on the store's shelves.

The program called "Arkansas’ Own" will help customers easily find and buy things from the state.

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History & Culture In Helena-West Helena
7:04 am
Mon May 13, 2013

Hope Rising In Helena-West Helena, Arkansas: Part Two

The Delta Cultural Center on Cherry Street in downtown Helena.
Malcolm Glover KUAR

Helena-West Helena is part of Phillips County in the Arkansas Delta. According to U.S. Census data, the county’s population decreased over 17 percent in the last ten years, which means by some estimates the population is less than half of what it was in the 1950s. However, new community-led efforts in Helena-West Helena seek to make the area’s history and culture a catalyst for investment and growth.

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