Harps open for business in Gentry
Ribbon-cutting, opening draws large crowd
GENTRY — The ribbon was cut and the doors are now open at the new Harps Food Store in Gentry. The parking lot was full and shoppers were in every aisle last Wednesday morning as local residents came to check out the new food store and buy their groceries — for the first time in months without driving out of town.
A large crowd was on hand Sept. 21 as Amber Parker, manager of the new store, cut the ribbon. She was accompanied by Harps’ executives and associates, city officials, Gentry Chamber of Commerce members and local residents for the special event.
Parker is excited to be managing the new Gentry store and had previously been a store manager for Harps in Springdale. She was busy on Wednesday morning greeting store visitors and helping new customers.
Roger Collins, Harps’ chief executive officer, told those assembled that the store was employee owned and that Harps sought to offer the best quality and service to its customers in the friendliest atmosphere. He said the company now has 85 food stores in several states.
Kevin Johnston, Gentry mayor, spoke briefly of the city’s appreciation to Harps for coming into Gentry, completely renovating a former grocery store and providing a local grocery store for Gentry residents. He spoke of the great news he received earlier in the year when Harps called him to inform him of the company’s plans.
Not only has Harps provided a local grocery store in Gentry, it began giving back to the community with a gift to the Gentry Public Library, which had assisted Harps by making space available for job applicants to apply, and to the Gentry Primary School Parent-Teacher Organization, with a $2,000 donation presented on Wednesday morning.
And, once the fanfare was complete outside, those attending the ribbon cutting, as well as first-time store customers, were invited inside for samples, gifts and a tour of the new store. Many began shopping and viewing all the grocery and deli items in the well-stocked store.
“I love it; I’ve been waiting for this,” said Lisa Foreman of Gentry as she looked for items to add to her cart.
Cindy Martin and Crystal Skaggs, with infant son Joseph Skaggs, agreed. “I’m so excited,” Martin said. Skaggs explained, “We’re coupon shoppers, so we just love it.”
“This is great,” said Jim and Faith Sampson as they pushed their shopping cart to the end of an aisle. They said they were happy to be able to do all their grocery shopping in Gentry once again.
Randy Bever, owner of Ace Hardware in Gentry, said he expected shoppers from outside of Gentry, in places like Colcord, Okla., would start coming back to Gentry again. He said the loss of a grocery store in Gentry at the beginning of the year also hurt his business. He expects the new Harps store will help him and other Gentry businesses since people won’t have to leave the area to buy groceries and others who used to come to Gentry to shop will return.
Harps Food Stores, with offices in Springdale, issued a release on March 8 announcing the purchase of the James Property building in Gentry, at the intersection of Gentry Blvd. (Arkansas Hwy. 59) and E. 3rd Street (Arkansas Hwy. 12). A complete renovation of the building was done, making the store basically a new store.
The store is approximately 23,500 square feet and once again provides a local grocery outlet for Gentry and the sur- rounding area. The store features a wide variety of groceries, fresh-cut beef, pork and poultry and fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as deli and bakery selections.
The new store, located at 300 S. Gentry Blvd., will be open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. For more information, call the store at 479-736-1396.
Jessica Summers, PTO president, Gayla Wilmoth, elementary school principal, Trinity Jacks, elementary school student, and Linda Johnson, high school office aide and great-grandmother to Trinity, receive a $2,000 check for the Gentry Primary School PTO from Roger Collins, Harps CEO, at the new Gentry Harps Food Store on Sept. 21.
Gentry store manager Amber Parker cut the ribbon at the new Gentry Harps Food Store on Wednesday, Sept. 21. She was joined by Harps leaders and store employees, as well as city officials and members of the Gentry community, for the special event.
Jim and Faith Sampson of Gentry shopped at the new Gentry Harps Food Store on Sept. 21 and said they thought it was great to have a Harps Store in Gentry.
Lisa Foreman of Gentry, with list in hand, began shopping at the new Gentry Harps Food store on Sept. 21. She said she loved the new store and had been anxiously waiting for it to open.
Robin Fish offered food samples from the deli to customers at the new Gentry Harps Food Store on Sept. 21.
Patty Smith (center) shows packages of sliced turkey and ham to Jim Kooistra at the new Gentry Harps Food Store on Sept. 21. Derrick Catalini, grocery manager, looked on.
Cindy Martin (left), Crystal Skaggs and Josh Skaggs, all of Gentry, began shopping at the new Gentry Harps Food store after it opened on Sept. 21. They said they liked to shop using coupons.