Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - FEATURE -

When the Curt Bean Lum­ber Co. closed down in Glen­wood, Ark., in 2010, it hit the town hard — as well as tiny neigh­bor­ing Amity. The mill had em­ployed 200 peo­ple and, given Amity’s pop­u­la­tion of 700, it was a sig­nif­i­cant loss. So when Amity res­i­dent Kim­berly Jones and her hus­band, Rus­sell, ac­quired 54 acres near the cen­ter of town, they im­me­di­ately start­ing think­ing of ways to use it that would ben­e­fit their com­mu­nity. A visit to the huge flea mar­ket lo­cated in Can­ton, Texas, gave them an idea.

“We have al­ways loved to go to auc­tions and buy things,” says Jones. “We thought about turn­ing it into a sal­vage yard, and then we had this idea — I guess the Lord put it in our head.” In March of 2015, the cou­ple hosted the first Amity Trade Days, an ope­nair flea mar­ket with around 150 ven­dors. Since then, the flea mar­ket is open on the week­end be­fore the sec­ond Mon­day of each month, Thurs­day through Sun­day.

Jones says that, in just two years, the im­pact on the city has been sig­nif­i­cant.

“It brings in about 5,000 peo­ple a month,” she says of the event, which also fea­tures live mu­sic. “When you bring that many peo­ple into town, the resta­raunts are full, the mo­tels are full, the gas sta­tions … and it ben­e­fits the other flea mar­kets in town. When you start driv­ing into Glen­wood or Amity, you start see­ing the garage sale signs lin­ing the streets.”

Jones says she and her hus­band are thank­ful their idea turned out to be so suc­cess­ful. And this sum­mer, the lum­ber com­pany re­opened. So far, it has hired 100 peo­ple with more jobs to come.

Things are look­ing up for Amity.

“It was part of our dream, to see ev­ery­thing come back to life,” Jones says. “My hus­band and I both give the Lord the credit for all of this be­cause we don’t feel like we could have done it without Him.”

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