Leader Blues

Saturday, November 03, 2007

TOP STORY >>Businesses booming in Cabot area

IN SHORT: Lonoke County issues more commerical-use licenses as its population grows.

By HEATHER HARTSELL
Leader staff writer

It’s not just Cabot’s population that’s growing these days.

During October, Cabot issued a total of 16 business licenses, five for brick-and-mortar businesses and 11 for in-home offices or changes in ownership.

The city also issued six commercial building permits in October.

From May to September, 85 business licenses were issued, 38 of which were for actual businesses and not in-home offices or short-term contractors.

The business boom isn’t limited to Cabot however, as Austin and Ward have also seen new businesses come their way.
The newest business to open its doors in Cabot is First Community Bank, 3084 Bill Foster Memorial Hwy. They’ll hold their grand opening today with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 10:30 a.m. with festivities to follow.

Cabot also has an additional six businesses under construction, said Karen Knebel of Cabot Public Works.

That includes a Metropolitan National Bank location that will call the new strip mall area along Hwys. 5 and 89 home. There is also a gas station and a men’s clothing warehouse coming to that location.

Further out Hwy. 5 across from Greystone, a new business strip has been built. It is already home to a Larry’s Pizza carryout or delivery-only location and a coffee shop.

Community Bank recently announced plans for a new location in that same area, too.

“We realized our Hwy. 5 customers needed a more convenient location and feel this new branch will allow our customers, as well as others with financial needs, a much easier banking option closer to home,” said Tracy French, president and chief executive officer of Community Bank.

Scheduled for completion next March, the new branch will feature expanded drive-through lanes to accommodate larger vehicles, a double-sided electronic marquee sign and custom exterior stonework.

Public Works also reports a handful of new businesses hope to eventually call Cabot home, including Starbucks and possibly Chick-fil-A and CiCi’s Pizza.

Up the road in Austin and Ward, businesses are moving in, too.

In Austin, First Arkansas Bank and Trust is expanding its services with a new branch location at the four-way intersection of Hwys. 367 and 305, across from Chamberlain’s store.

According to Larry Wilson, president and CEO of First Arkansas Bank and Trust, it will take five months to build the branch.
A ground-breaking ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. Monday; the anticipated opening date will be in April or May.
“It will be a nice addition to downtown Austin,” Wilson said.

“We had looked at the growth in the area — the number of new homes and the amount of lots still available, along with the area’s traffic patterns — and it appears that intersection will be quite active and a good location for us for years to come,” he said.

Austin is hoping to see more of a business boom with the completion of the overpass connecting Hwy. 367 to Hwy. 38 and eventually connecting with Hwy. 5.

Two daycares, Lenny Penny’s and Little Hunny’s, as well as House of Bargains and Faught Flooring and Design, Inc. are also open for business in Austin.

In Ward, a Subway restaurant has opened in the Hwy. 367 shopping center across from Dollar General.

There is also a pawn shop in the same location and a pizzeria that is currently moving in, too.

And if you’ve missed mom’s home cooking, head less than a mile up the road where Mom’s Family Restaurant has opened its doors, serving up home-style meals just like mom made when you were a kid.

And according to Mayor Art Brooke, two Mexican restaurants are looking at Ward for a new location, each contingent on the other’s decision (if one says no, the other will come).

Near Dude’s Place on Hwy. 38, an Italian restaurant has also made plans to open in the restaurant area connected to Dude’s, Brooke said.