Arvest Opens New Prairie Grove Branch
STAFF ALREADY SEEING INCREASED TRAFFIC
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.
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.
Prairie Grove’s Boy Scout Troop posted the colors for the grand opening last week at Arvest Bank.