Harps open for busi­ness in Gen­try

Rib­bon-cut­ting, open­ing draws large crowd

Westside Eagle-Observer - - FRONT PAGE - By Randy Moll rmoll@nwadg.com

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.

Photo by Randy Moll

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.

Photo by Randy Moll

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.

Photo by Randy Moll

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.

Photo by Randy Moll

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.

Photo by Randy Moll

Robin Fish of­fered food sam­ples from the deli to cus­tomers at the new Gen­try Harps Food Store on Sept. 21.

Photo by Randy Moll

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.

Photo by Randy Moll

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.

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