(KATV) BENTON - Kum & Go opened its first convenience store in Arkansas in 1998. They are now planning the 43 location. It will be built in Benton where Lincoln Square has been for nearly four decades.
Business owners who once occupied the building are not upset with Kum & Go, rather with how they were given the news from the current property management of Lincoln Square.
Lincoln square was built in the 70's on the outskirts of town. It was the first multi level shopping center in the city.
Jennifer Howard says, "January we would have celebrated 37 years in business there."
The building is completely vacant, its days are numbered. Lamont Cornwell is the Community Development Director for the city. He tells Channel Seven that negotiations with Kum & Go have been on-going for about a year but there is no formal notification at this time." However, a spokesperson with Kum & Go did confirm the move.
Traci Rodemeyer is the Marketing and Communications Manager for Kum & Go. She tells Channel Seven that the new location will open in April and they'll hire up to 20 associates.
Guys & Gals Salon was one of its first tenants at Lincoln Square. The owner recently placed an ad in the local paper, in part it reads, "We were forced to move". Jennifer Howard is a hair stylist. She explains, "They gave us 45 days notice to find a new location. Luckily, we had prospects lined up because of rumors they were going to tear it down. We had already started looking."
The square closed on November 30. Some shops still haven't reopened and at least one business moved out of the city.
Jennifer says, "It was very close knit over there. All the businesses, we talked to each other daily." She says gone are the days of networking and eating breakfast with neighboring shops before they opened, but they are now looking at the positive side.
The salon is in a larger space located at 17724 I-30. "We are getting there. It is starting to feel more like home." She continues, "So far our loyal customers have followed, but we are hoping to pick up new business as well."
Guys & Gals Salon new property manager happens to be the daughter of the original owner of Lincoln Square. The square will be demolished.
Kum & Go has plans to build 7 to 8 more stores in Arkansas in 2014.