Ar­vest Opens New Prairie Grove Branch

STAFF AL­READY SEE­ING IN­CREASED TRAF­FIC

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By Lynn Kut­ter

PRAIRIE GROVE — Ar­vest Bank cel­e­brated its new Prairie Grove branch last week with a grand open­ing pre­sen­ta­tion and a rib­bon cut­ting spon­sored by Prairie Grove Area Cham­ber of Com­merce.

Dax More­ton, Ar­vest com­mer­cial loan man­ager in Lin­coln, wel­comed cus­tomers, bank em­ploy­ees and Cham­ber mem­bers to the cer­e­mony held Sept. 18. He noted that Ar­vest has been a part of the Prairie Grove com­mu­nity since it pur­chased the for­mer Farm­ers and Mer­chants Bank in 1992.

“This com­mu­nity has been able to at­tract fam­i­lies from all across North­west Arkansas and parts of the state,” More­ton said.

Many come here to take ad­van­tage of the school sys­tem, to live in a small town and at the same time be only min­utes away from I-49, More­ton said.

The new branch is a full-ser­vice fa­cil­ity, sit­ting on 1.7 acres of land fac­ing the val­ley area of Prairie Grove Bat­tle­field State Park. Its ad­dress is 999 E. Her­itage Park­way.

The new $3 mil­lion branch has 4,500 square feet, 14 em­ploy­ees, 38 park­ing spa­ces, two hand­i­cap park­ing spa­ces, four teller win­dows and three drive-through win­dows. Cus­tomers will be able to ac­cess the bank from three drive­ways, two from Sun­downer Road and one from Her­itage Park­way.

The new bank opened Aug. 27 and branch man­ager Jes­sica Haf­felder said she has al­ready seen an in­crease in traf­fic, es­pe­cially in the morn­ings and af­ter­noons as cus­tomers are go­ing to and from work.

“We love it here,” Haf­felder said. “We’re got­ten lots of com­pli­ments and it’s nice to have all of us in one build­ing now.”

Ar­vest has closed its drive-through build­ing at 150 E. Buchanan but is leav­ing the ATM open at that lo­ca­tion. The ATM driv­ethrough at 819 Dou­glas St., will close Oct. 1.

Ar­vest sold its for­mer lo­ca­tion on Buchanan to Prairie Grove School Dis­trict. Since then, Prairie Grove School Board has de­cided not to use the build­ing and is seek­ing pro­pos­als from real es­tate firms to try to sell the prop­erty.

Bank hours will be 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mon­day-Fri­day and 9 a.m. to noon, Satur­day for drive-through ser­vice only.

Mayor Sonny Hud­son con­grat­u­lated Ar­vest on its new fa­cil­ity and new lo­ca­tion along the by­pass.

“It’s very con­ve­nient,” Hud­son said, adding the con­ve­nience will help Ar­vest cus­tomers and Prairie Grove’s ci­ti­zens.

“I want to thank you for be­ing a team player for Prairie Grove,” Hud­son said. “Busi­nesses like Ar­vest help us spon­sor free events and I want to thank you for that.”

Gaye Wil­cox, Ar­vest sales man­ager, said one change mov­ing for­ward is that Prairie Grove, Lin­coln, Farm­ing­ton and West Fork branches have be­come part of Ar­vest Bank Fayet­teville. Be­fore, the four branches made up their own Ar­vest Bank group, with their own pres­i­dent.

Mike Wil­lard, who served as pres­i­dent and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer for Ar­vest Bank Prairie Grove re­gion, has re­lo­cated to Moun­tain Home with Ar­vest and bank of­fi­cials de­cided the move gave them the op­por­tu­nity to merge the four branches with Fayet­teville, Wil­cox said.

As far as cus­tomers are con­cerned, she said, no one will see any dif­fer­ences in their re­spec­tive branches.

“The cul­ture is the same across all our branches,” Wil­cox said. “It’s peo­ple help­ing peo­ple with fi­nan­cial so­lu­tions.”

Some ser­vices al­ready had been merged and those are work­ing well. By merg­ing the four branches into Fayet­teville, it will al­low the bank to be­come even stronger, Wil­cox said.

“We’re blessed to have sea­soned man­age­ment and even front line folks who’ve been with us a long time,” she added.

Ar­vest Bank Fayet­teville now has 14 lo­ca­tions, nine in Fayet­teville and one each in Elkins, Farm­ing­ton, West Fork, Prairie Grove and Lin­coln with about 250 em­ploy­ees. Donny Story is pres­i­dent of Ar­vest Bank Fayet­teville.

Wil­lard was very in­volved in Prairie Grove’s new branch and in ear­lier in­ter­views has said bank of­fi­cials be­lieved the land near the in­ter­sec­tion of U.S. 62 and U.S. 62B was the best lo­ca­tion for a new build­ing.

A build­ing on Her­itage Park­way would be more ac­ces­si­ble and al­low cus­tomers to park and walk right up to the front door, Wil­lard said.

Brent Vin­son, a land­scape ar­chi­tect with Ar­vest, de­scribed the land­scap­ing around the new build­ing as “new Amer­i­can prairie style.” It has sev­eral large rocks, trees and many peren­ni­als that are easy to adapt to the en­vi­ron­ment and drought tol­er­ant.

Vin­son said this same land­scape style will be used for fu­ture Ar­vest branches.

LYNN KUT­TER EN­TER­PRISE-LEADER

Jes­sica Haf­felder, branch man­ager for Ar­vest Bank Prairie Grove, cuts the rib­bon Sept. 18 for the branch’s grand open­ing cer­e­mony. Prairie Grove Area Cham­ber of Com­merce spon­sored the rib­bon cut­ting. The new branch is lo­cated at 999 E. Her­itage Park­way.

LYNN KUT­TER EN­TER­PRISE-LEADER

Prairie Grove’s Boy Scout Troop posted the col­ors for the grand open­ing last week at Ar­vest Bank.

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