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W W W . W O M E N S I N C . N E T


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By Women, For Women, About Women of Central Arkansas

Celebrating Women in Business O






















WOMEN’S INC. Editor Lori Quinn Creative Director Stewart Cole Contributing Writers Rachel Parker Dickerson Angie Howard Dr. Patricia Knott Andrea Lennon Jill McCollum Susan O’Keefe Jennifer Stanley Chief Photographer Brandy Strain Contributing Photographers Sara Black Laura Derden Courtney Spradlin Gerald Washington Lindsey Faith Watson Retail Advertising Sales Manager Rhonda Overbey Advertising Coordinators Leah Brown Advertising Sales Sarah Allen Betsey Barham Tara Mallett Jesica Talbert Advertising Artists Jay Prince Tyler Rachel Editorial Advisory Board Nicolle Fletcher Haley Crafton Fowler Beverly Freiley Mary Harlan Becky Harris Nancy Jackson Helen Lockhart Velda Lueders Candace Meeks Misty Morse Carol Patty Lori Ross Mary Margaret Satterfield Traci Kennedy Smith Katherine Thomason Stefanie Holt Vann Jessica Zimmerman Women’s Inc. is published by the Log Cabin Democrat. Questions or Comments? Call (501) 327-6621, e-mail: or write to P.O. Box 969, Conway, AR, 72033 6 WOMEN’S INC. / SEPTEMBER 2013

Special thanks!

Thank you to our Women in Business advertisers. What an honor to profile these outstanding businesswomen in our community! A very special thank you to Brandy Strain and Strain Photography for lending her time and talent to the beautiful photos in this issue. Arkansas Hospice Branch Out Paint Bar & Boutique Burn Studio Centennial Bank Conway Adult Education Conway Chamber Crutchfield Clark and Company Emerge First Security Bank Fletcher Smith Freeman Medicine Gigi’s Cupcakes Grand Master Hans Martial Arts Grand On Oak Hair Works Helton’s Modern Woodmen of America Nabholz Construction Pitza42 Salem Place Scroggins Law Firm Smith Ford Smoothie King Sonshine Academy Steve’s Auto Stocks Mortgage Strain Photography UCA Public Appearances Wilkinson’s Brittany Williamson Until next month,


8 features 8 Feature story Maggie’s Original Cookie Company a commu-

62 Health Living with IBS

nity staple

66 Spirituality 12 Feature story

How to embrace a season of waiting

Keisha Gault is painting a brighter future

68 Homes 16 Feature story

Country with a French flair

Sara Goodman a team player for PrivacyStar

76 Local Beauty Services 19 2013 Women’s Inc. Women in Business 53 Downtown

82 Boys & Girls Club Thursday Night

Leslie Marshall, Laura Grimes and Carol Harrison

86 Burn Studio preview party

60 Book review

90 Community

“The Unforgiving Minute: A Soldier’s Education”

Run United targets childhood obesity WWW.WOMENSINC.NET 7


Maggie Buntaine (center), owner of Maggie’s Original Cookie Company and her staff.


Sweet success

Maggie’s Original Cookie Company a community staple By Jennifer Stanley Photos by Brandy Strain Maggie’s Original Cookie Company of Conway is more than a delicious dessert locale; it is a Conway staple. The specialty bakery was introduced to the community in 1987 by Maggie Buntaine. Maggie moved to Conway 35 years ago. Fatefully, she lived across the street from the woman who would become her closest friend, Velda Lueders. “Velda is the first person I met when I moved to Conway, and we’ve been friends since,” she shared. “Maggie baked cookies for us way before she had the store,” said Velda. Maggie has a son, Michael, who lives in Los Angeles, Calif., and is the manager for FENDI on Rodeo Drive. As she added, “I live vicariously through him!” During her early years in Conway, Maggie was a stay-at-home mom who had a love for baking cookies. She found herself making cookies every time there was a wedding, funeral, illness, church function or any other occasion. Her love for making cookies commenced at age 4, when she began baking. “My mother let me stay in the kitchen. She was the cook, and I was the baker. She had a little metal stool I climbed up on, and anything she would let me do, I would do. That’s how I learned; I would not be in the position I am without her,” Maggie said. She cooked with Michael as well, so he could learn his way around the kitchen from an early age. When he began Kindergarten, Maggie was involved in the parent/teacher association and was a room mother. “Again, whenever there was an event, I made cookies. As the years progressed, the other mothers would ask me to make cookies for them because they enjoyed them and their kids requested them. Other people I had given cookies to started placing orders with me, and it eventually got out of hand,” she said. “One Christmas, when Janet Starkey owned The Perfect Setting, she asked me to make cookies for her open house. I don’t remember how many dozen it was, but I had to make them in my home oven. I remember I’d covered the pool table with all kinds of plastic and was putting the cookies on it and realized my operation had outgrown my kitchen.” Soon after, Maggie learned of a shopping center being built on Washington Avenue in Conway, when the developers encouraged her to open a cookie shop there. She did so in 1987 and remained in that development for five years, at which time she moved to her current Prince Street location. “When it was suggested that I open a shop, I thought, ‘Why don’t I?’ I got a small loan to get me WWW.WOMENSINC.NET 9

Maggie and Karen Mathiowetz , store manager, get peanut butter cookies ready for the mixer.

going. I took a box of cookies in to Curtis Floyd, and a couple of hours later I had the loan. Curtis is awesome; he understood what I was doing and believed in me,” shared Maggie. During the store’s early days, she also made cakes, molded candy, chocolates and various other items. Michael even worked for her in the early days. “Michael has been my biggest supporter since the beginning of Maggie’s. He worked long, hard hours along with me before the store opened and again after we opened. He is a cheerful, confident and knowledgeable person. He believed in me when others didn’t. I know his life was not always easy as a teenager because of my choice of occupation, but he never complained. He just helped,” she said. “I have customers who have been coming to me from the beginning. They would bring their children in, and now their children are bringing their children in. I believe I give them a good, quality product that isn’t generic in any way. My cookies aren’t just made with flour, sugar and other ingredients. I have a true love for baking, and I love my customers; I think that reflects in the product. We specialize in cookies and offer a boutique experience. I found making cakes very stressful. When I moved to Prince Street, I really just wanted to do cookies. I could do that with more love and more pride,” Maggie shared. Her most popular cookies are the chocolate chip, the chocolate no-bakes and the famous smiley face cookies. Said Maggie, “There aren’t any cookies in the store that I don’t love. If I don’t love them; I don’t make them.” Her personal favorite is chocolate chip; however, some recipes have not fared as well. Maggie’s Mistake is one of the store’s best sellers. “Maggie started out making oatmeal, and before she knew it, she had dumped some coconut in it, so we decided to add chocolate chips,” shared Velda, whose favorites are the Maggie’s Mistakes and billy goats. In fact, in visiting with people in the community about Maggie’s Original Cookie Company, most people have their favorites. Another “mistake” cookie is the popular peanut butter no-bake. “I sent my ex-husband to Sam’s Club with a request to purchase Reese’s peanut butter cups, and he came back with several bags of Reese’s pieces. I thought, ‘What am I going to do with these?’ I was kind of irritated! I was trying to find a place for them on the shelves, and one of the bags fell and broke. It was my punishment to get down in the floor and 10 WOMEN’S INC. / SEPTEMBER 2013

clean them up. I was picking them up and wondering what I could do with them, and I thought about the many people who couldn’t have or didn’t like chocolate and wondered if they would still like to have a no-bake. I decided to try a peanut butter no-bake, which is now one of our best sellers,” Maggie said. The overwhelming majority of Maggie’s recipes were her mother’s, a friend’s or her own improvisation. Maggie’s customers are so accustomed to the position of their favorite cookies in the display case; they often panic when they walk in and items are moved. This is telling of Maggie’s long-standing relationship with many customers and her dedication to customer service. “The customer service she provides is above and beyond. Maggie can help people think of unique ideas and will accommodate the client’s needs. She is also such a good person; she’s going to make sure they get what they want. She cares and loves what she does,” said Velda. Maggie’s Original Cookie Company currently has seven employees, and she hires more help during the holidays when production typically more than doubles. In fact, Maggie’s begins booking Christmas orders as early as October. Larger, specialty orders require additional lead-time as well. They provide options for gifts, parties and businesses and offer a nice, local alternative for corporate gifts. Maggie’s Original Cookie Company is so much more than a business for Maggie, however. She employs many college students and is happy to work around their schedules. “She is a super mom to a bunch of kids who are away from their parents,” added Velda. Maggie has taken in student workers who have gone through hard times, saying she believes in paying it forward. This philosophy has proven beneficial since Maggie was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. “When I was first diagnosed, it was incredible the people who contacted me. I’ve received notes, letters and cards from people who worked for me 20 years ago,” she shared. With that, Maggie retrieved a large basket from her hearth, which is stuffed full of notes and cards including well-wishes from friends, family and former employees. The employees at Maggie’s Original Cookie Company, who are doing an outstanding job of manning the ship in her absence, have placed a notepad and basket at the store so customers can send notes of encouragement or thanks to Maggie. They bring the notes to her on Saturdays. “It is incredible. When I am having a bad day, these notes give me

encouragement. The kids write some especially precious notes,” she said, as she shared one with an adorably misspelled “cookie.” The sheer volume of the basket’s contents is telling of Maggie’s character. “It is humbling to me. I never had any idea. I just went to work and did what I loved and tried to share it. I didn’t know this many people cared about me. I’ve been blessed over and over and over these past few months — more than I can even explain ... just the outpouring of love from everyone and the donations that have helped pay my medical bills. These notes are what keep me going,” Maggie tearfully shared. Maggie also credits the friendship she has in Velda as vital to her support system. “When I was diagnosed, I called Velda, and she came right over. She is amazing. She is the go-to at the store for now. She talked to the employees and explained things to them. She is such a blessing and has been an invaluable help.” Additionally, one of her employees, Karen, who has worked off-and-on for Maggie for 20 years, has taken over as manager. In another fateful turn of events, one of the students who lived with Maggie years ago has contributed to her care. “A particular girl who lived with me for two-and-a-half years was having a rough time, and we got along beauti-

fully. She is now a nurse and is married with two children. When I came home from surgery, she brought me home and stayed with me for three days,” Maggie said. Maggie was in the hospital for two weeks and two days and was in the intensive care unit for eight of those. “I originally didn’t want surgery or chemo, but God changed my heart,” she said. Maggie says she is glad to have the surgery behind her and has now embarked on the world of chemotherapy. She has also worked with the Pancreatic Cancer Network to gather useful information that has helped her understand her journey. Her biggest supporter, however, is Michael. “... in my fight against cancer, he is my advocate, my strength, my encourager, my happiness. I am so grateful that he is in my life and helping me through this journey.” Velda added, “Another favorite memory is of Maggie’s mother, a beautiful, white-haired lady, Ms. Gladys. She used to live in an apartment across the street from the store, and someone would bring her over every day. When she came in, she just had this smile. She would stand there, put her hand on the counter and smile. She was so proud of Maggie.” Certainly, her mother was picturing her little girl, perched on the kitchen stool. Said Maggie, “She was my inspiration.”

Velda Lueders with Maggie is a long-time friend and supporter of Maggie’s Cookies. WWW.WOMENSINC.NET 11


Keisha Gault, owner of Keisha’s Nails.

Painting a brighter future

By Jennifer Stanley Photo by Brandy Strain Keisha Gault left El Dorado for Conway 15 years ago as a single mother. Today, the upbeat and positive Keisha is the proprietor of a successful, local nail salon. Now married to Dwayne Gault, whose family has owned Gault Paint & Body Shop of Conway for over 30 years, Keisha did not set out to work in the salon industry. “I worked some different jobs after I moved here and then just decided to try this. I truly stepped out on a limb. I didn’t have any specific desire to do it, honestly. I just needed a source of income, and I knew I loved to talk. I used to get in trouble at work for talking,” laughs Keisha. “Now, talking is part of my job!” Keisha got her license in 1999 and immediately went to work for Wendy Serio at Elan. “Wendy taught me everything I know. She was a great mentor for me. I don’t think she realized at the time what she taught me - how to act, being on time, being efficient with your time, meeting client needs. I really listened to her, because I cared enough to succeed. My business there just took off,” states 12 WOMEN’S INC. / SEPTEMBER 2013

Keisha with her grandchildren.

Keisha. She worked at Elan until 2002, when she left for a different opportunity. “I went to EL and worked for Susan Isom. I found myself at Susan’s. That woman...I never went to work and had a sad day. When nobody else knew my heart was hurting, Susan would just do the craziest thing, and it would lift my spirits,” she shares. By the end of 2003, Keisha knew she wanted to work for herself. “I knew I had a good, solid client base, and I hoped that would take care of my overhead.” Keisha felt there could be a niche opportunity for a small, one-on-one nail salon that offered an antithesis to the huge multiple-station salons. “I wanted something simpler and that was just me. I wanted to come to work in my rollers if I wanted to, and I wanted my clients to have that same freedom. Now, when they come for an appointment, it is personal, relaxing time,” says Keisha, who runs the entire business from making appointments and returning calls to doing all of the salon work. Keisha’s Nails has consistently grown, largely due to word-of-mouth. “I worried when the economy went bad and businesses around me started to close; I started thinking, what am I going to do? This is the first thing people give up. I tell you, I have such amazing clients and have had many of them for over 14 years, and they continued to come.” Keisha largely credits her desire to provide excellent customer service for this continued success. “I know people pay me for relaxation, but I get so much from them in return. Making my clients feel good and peaceful is so humbling to me,” she shares. In fact, Keisha travels to Jack’s Resort in Mountain View regularly to service clients there. “When I finish working, I have relaxation time, which the resort provides.” She also works at nursing homes and rehabilitation centers. Keisha even worked on her birthday at a client’s request. “That’s what I do, and that is why there are no hours on my door. I work to meet the needs of my clients. I work around their schedules. I may not have on makeup at 6:30 in the morning, but I will be there!” At times, her relationship with her clients has worked both ways. “In the second year of owning my business, my husband became sick. He went through numerous surgeries, so I was nursing him, and I was also working. My clients were amazing during that time. Some of them would work around my schedule or would wait on me to get here when he needed me. They were so patient, and I was never able to thank them. I learned during this time that my clients and I had a relationship, and you can’t put a value on that. I want to thank them now. That was a trying time, and they did so much for me. He’s doing great and is two years healthy!” she shares. Keisha opens her salon during off-hours for some of her special needs clients. She explains, “One woman suffers from Parkinson’s, and she is uncomfortable in large crowds. I opened the shop for her, so we would have it to ourselves, and I was the one who ended up receiving the biggest blessing from her. She was having an occurrence, and she asked if I minded if she closed her eyes and said a little prayer. She did, and I could see her body relax. I thought about how this woman had bigger issues than I do, and it put things in perspective for me. I thanked her for blessing me and giving me something to take away from work,” Keisha says humbly.

Keisha and husband, Dwayne Gault.

Keisha has been in nearly the same location since she opened her nail salon, and Gary Stanton and Kent Griffin have been her landlords from the beginning. “Kent told Gary, ‘My wife Janet goes to Keisha, so she told me to do whatever I must to get her in here,’ and they did. I don’t think I would ever leave those two; they have been so good to me.” Keisha recently moved from a smaller space to a larger one in the same complex, at the suggestion of her landlords. “Originally, I thought I needed another employee to make the bigger space work, and it didn’t work out. It turned out all I needed was faith, and so far so good. I am tremendously blessed,” she says. Keisha’s Salon is typically closed on Mondays, though she is always very flexible with scheduling, even providing clients with her personal cell number. Her business philosophy is to treat clients like she would want to be treated, as she says, “The whole community would be better if everyone lived that way.” She even embraces this viewpoint with nails, “When I started doing nails, I started doing them on myself. I knew if I could make myself

happy, I could make anyone happy,” she explains. The salon offers manicures, pedicures, acrylic, and shellac/gel. Her specialty is pedicures, and she loves working with the elderly. Keisha says the current trends are blues and purples, regardless of age. She offers gift certificates, which are perfect for holidays and special occasions. She believes in keeping her prices reasonable and doing what her customers need. She also believes that “What happens at Keisha’s, stays at Keisha’s,” she says with a laugh. As for her future plans, “I am pretty busy now, but I would love to see all day, every day booked! Each day full of people would be a dream come true; I love people! I want to see families coming in. I love to cook and bring food up here; I think every one of my clients has probably tried a cake of mine. I look forward to coming to work every day. When I am sad, or when I’ve had curveballs come in my life, smiling and working have gotten me through. I am very, very blessed. I never thought my little tiny business meant anything, and almost ten years later, here I am- still being me!” WWW.WOMENSINC.NET 13




Start-up enthusiasm Sara Goodman a team player for PrivacyStar By Jennifer Stanley Photos by Brandy Strain

Sara Goodman is thrilled to be part of Conway’s newest technology start-up, PrivacyStar. A resident for 30 years, Sara is married to Lane and has three children: Brayden, Ashlyn and Payton Leach. Of her community, she says, “I love that Conway has many attributes of a bigger city but still has the feel of a small town. I love seeing familiar faces all over town!” Sara decided to stay close to home for college and attended the University of Central Arkansas, where she majored in accounting. She became a CPA in 2010 and now serves as director of finance for PrivacyStar. When asked if she chose her career path due to an affinity for numbers, she responded, “I wouldn’t say I’ve always had an affinity for numbers in particular as much as I would details. I like to ask a lot of questions, and details are important in accounting, so it works well. “After graduating from UCA, I held a few different accounting jobs in Conway and Little Rock. Then, in 2010, I received a call from a good friend that she was looking to help hire a CPA for a small company here in Conway. “At that time, I was working at another great local business, American Management Corporation. After meeting with several members of the PrivacyStar staff, I was impressed with their knowledge and enthusiasm for the company and felt like this was a good move for my career. It has been an incredible experience to be part of a start-up technology company and even better that it was in my home town,” she said. Sara, who enjoys spending time with her family, has been with PrivacyStar for three years in October. When asked to explain what PrivacyStar does, she responded, “PrivacyStar has developed a mobile application for Android phones which provides an individual with the ability to do the following: • Block unwanted calls and text messages • File a complaint against a telemarketer/debt collector directly with the Federal Trade Commission • Do a reverse lookup of a phone number • Receive real-time caller ID for numbers not in their contacts • Do Not Disturb • Group Block (allows the user to block all numbers from a particular area code) • Smart Block (automatically blocks the most blocked numbers as determined by PrivacyStar users) “We also have a version of PrivacyStar available on 16 WOMEN’S INC. / SEPTEMBER 2013

Sara Goodman, director of finance for PrivacyStar.


the iPhone that allows users to do a reverse lookup, file complaints with the FTC and also has a directory assistance feature.” Companies like PrivacyStar are inevitably good for our community. “PrivacyStar has brought a high-tech company to Conway, which is helping keep top talent here in our state. Normally this type of company would be found on the west coast. We have hired several graduates from UCA and Hendrix and hope to be able to hire many more in the future. Located in the heart of Conway, we are also helping our city’s downtown area by bringing in people who like to 18 WOMEN’S INC. / SEPTEMBER 2013

eat, shop and enjoy the aesthetics of this rejuvenated area,” added Sara. A typical day for Sara involves accounting and financial reporting; however, since they are a smaller company, she also finds herself working on human resources and various other tasks throughout the day. As for the future of PrivacyStar, Sara shared, “As PrivacyStar continues to grow with new innovation and related services, I can see the need for more technical talent and, yes, even more accountants, which will continue to benefit Conway and our surrounding communities for the years ahead.”


C R YS TA L G E R A L D S O N , E L I Z A B E T H PA R E D E S , S A R A H A L L E N , TA R A M A L L E T T, L E I G H A N N E S H A PA R D , J E S I C A TA L B E R T, R H O N D A O V E R B E Y AND BETSEY BARHAM The annual Women in Business issue of Women’s Inc. magazine is a great opportunity to feature some of the advertising professionals at the Log Cabin Democrat. This valuable staff creates advertising and marketing plans to generate traffic and grow businesses in Central Arkansas. From newspaper advertising, preprinted inserts, online advertising, and digital services ranging from website design to reputation management, your local advertising professionals have a product to meet your needs. Recruitment advertising, real estate, automobiles or merchandise for sale; advertising in the Log Cabin Democrat classifieds really work. Thanks to the Log Cabin Democrat’s partnership with Monster, a worldwide recruitment specialist, thousands of local jobs monthly are delivered with every search. Local testimonials confirm that more garage sales, open houses and rental property see success when advertised in the Log Cabin Democrat and online at www.thecabin. net <> . Crystal Geraldson, Leigh Anne Shapard and Elizabeth Paredes advise hundreds of customers daily how to customize their classified advertising messages. Leading the charge and helping local business to get the most for each advertising dollar is the Log Cabin’s team of sales consultants. Betsey Barham, Jesica Talbert, Tara Mallett and Sarah Allen understand the meaning of customer service. Delivering results from traditional advertising and easing the transition into the digital advertising and marketing spaces are their specialties. The Log Cabin Democrat advertising team are certified by Google as search engine optimization specialists. Each are trained to optimize your business and website by using key words and phrases to ensure your business will rank at or near the top in search engine results. Led by Advertising and Marketing Director Rhonda Overbey, this team has 60 years’ experience in advertising in Central Arkansas. Interested in other digital services but unsure where to start, call 501-327-6621 to speak to a representative or email


2013 WOMEN IN BUSINESS: GRAND ON OAK SENA LOVET TE-CRAFTON AND BOBBI JO G W AT N E Y - F E LT M O N Grand on Oak has been open a year and has established a loyal clientele among downtown Conway shoppers. Owners Sena Lovette-Crafton and Bobbi Jo Gwatney-Feltmon both have retail backgrounds and were introduced to each other in March 2012. They opened Grand on Oak in September. Gwatney-Feltmon has worked as an interior designer for many years, and her input has allowed the shop to offer not only clothing and gifts but also unique home furnishings. “I was an art major with strong color, shape and texture and design background,” she said. “I have been so blessed because I have wonderful clients who have been very loyal and I have had them for years and years. I have always owned my own businesses in the past, and always in retail. It made sense when Sena came to me and asked me to start this business.” Lovette-Crafton said, “This is what I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve worked in a lot of retail, and I love clothes. We’ve had a great first year. We’ve been well-received downtown. We love being downtown.” Gwatney-Feltmon said, “Our primary focus is clothing. When we first opened, we had a 6020-20 split, clothing, gifts and home furnishing. That’s mainly where it stayed. I’m really concentrating on my design work now, and we can order any home furnishings our customers want. We don’t compete with the big furniture stores, and we make sure we don’t carry what anyone else in Conway is carrying.” She described Grand on Oak as a store with “everything a woman could ever want or need.” “You can come in and get your fall wardrobe or get a gift for your friend. Call ahead and we’ll have it ready. A lot of women just want to come in and visit. Conway, even though it’s growing by leaps and bounds, we still have that great loyal customer base, so it feels small-town when you shop with us. People have been very good to us, and I appreciate that very much.” She said of her partner, “Sena is an extremely hard worker. She’s very progressive in her thinking. To grow a business, you have to be progressive, and I’m fortunate to have a partner who’s as progressive as she is. She’s a good business person, for sure.” Gwatney-Feltmon continued, “We have expanded some in the back of the store. We needed extra room for clothing and design consultation. When the business grows, you have to grow with it.” She noted the store has added Arkansas jewelry lines by Rebecca Morehead, Elle Design and G. Spinelli. Also, Lux Candles, a “tried and true” line from Texas, just moved to Des Arc, Ark., and is available at Grand on Oak, she said. “We’re always adding new products, listening to our customers and what they’re wanting,” she said.


2013 WOMEN IN BUSINESS: FLETCHER SMITH’S JEWELERS SHERRY SMITH Sherry Smith began working alongside her husband, “Fletch,” in 1991 and has not looked back. Smith said it has been wonderful to be part of the community while working at Fletcher Smith Jeweler’s, which has been a part of Conway since 1919. “It’s like having a huge family,” she said. Smith is responsible for many things on a given day, including accounting, advertising, scheduling, handling public relations and even helping with merchandising. Smith admitted that all those responsibilities can be challenging at times. “It’s always a challenge,” she said. “Everyday is a new day, and we’re constantly learning how to do things better.” Through it all, being there to help the store’s many customers find just the right thing, for that special someone, makes all the challenges worth it in the long run. “I especially enjoy our male customers that come in and you can tell he just loves his wife and he wants to do something special,” she said. “You see it on their face when they walk in.” Smith said it was also a challenge, at first, working side-by-side each day with her husband, but now calls the experience “rewarding.” “We learned early on to separate responsibilities, so we have clear lines that I can’t cross and he can’t cross,” Smith said with a chuckle. The couple, who have two daughters Madeline 21, and Lizzie, 26, will celebrate 30 years of marriage Sept. 10. 22 WOMEN IN BUSINESS • SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

2013 WOMEN IN BUSINESS: SALEM PLACE NURSING & REHABILITATION VICKEY KIRKEMIER For Vickey Kirkemier, being the administrator of Salem Place Nursing and Rehabilitation in Conway is more than a job — it’s her calling, her family and her passion. “The people and relationships made will always be my favorite part of this job,” says Vickey, who has guided the facility for the past 24 years. “It is a very unique job because lots of people care about you. It’s like attending a family reunion every morning.” Growing up in a “small, sweet Arkansas town,” Vickey came to Conway to study at the University of Central Arkansas. She quickly became involved in the nursing home industry as a student, and “fell in love with the people.” She later obtained her nursing license and worked in orthopedics at St. Mary’s hospital in Russellville. “It was through a personal tragedy that I found myself very young and lost. When I turned to my faith and prayer, God led me back into long-term care,” she said. “It was perfect for me because I could leave my own personal heartbreak behind and concentrate on people that needed me. I believe it has been my calling in life. It is almost as though it chose me before I chose it.” Just as Vickey has grown into her calling in long-term care, her facility has grown into a fabulous place for people with acute conditions or those needing help with rehabilitation from strokes, fractures or surgery. Their motto: “Return Home Where You Belong.” She said working in the long-term care industry has been exciting, especially now that patients are allowed to be more in charge of their own choices as to their personalized care. “There have been so many exciting changes in the long-term care industry that I have been able to watch. I love the culture change where you can make things more home-like and get away from the highly regulated environment we have to work in,” she said. “In the past, resident preference many times could not be honored because of regulatory requirements and now we are able, especially with food, to allow patients to be in charge of their own choices. On the less positive side, long-term care is a very litigious environment and many insurance companies no longer will provide coverage in our state, which can make this job very stressful.” Salem Place has a spa-like atmosphere, with all private rooms, upscale bathrooms, refrigerator, flat-screen TV and private entrance. “It has all the amenities of a five-star hotel with contemporary interior designs like you would see in your home,” she said. There is also a therapy courtyard, a “man cave” sports area, and lots of resident pets (including turtles, ducks and chicken). Watching the health of Salem Place residents improve enough for them to return home may be Vickey’s biggest joy in her work. “The nursing home has received a number of awards which I am personally very proud of,” she said. “However, to me the greatest accomplishment is when someone comes here for rehab and is able to return to their former life.” The care shown by the residents toward the employees and by the employees toward the residents is a wonderful aspect of life at Salem Place Nursing and Rehabilitation. Vickey and her husband, Steven, have three children, Mallory, Brody and Kelsey. “I believe that the residents, families and employees really care about me and my day, because I really care about them and their day. Many of my patients are now second generation admission with me,” she said. “It is always such a pleasure to see that they have placed their confidence in me and know how much I care about them. It is also heart-warming for me to be able to say that I have worked with some of my employees for eight or more years. Some have been with me for 10, 14, and one for 23 year. They are truly like a member of my family.” SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION • WOMEN IN BUSINESS 23


DONNA TOWNSELL Donna Townsell’s career story begins where a lot of regionally successful business men and women’s do, at Acxiom in Conway. From the global tech company she moved to Centennial Bank, taking with her 11 years of project management experience. Centennial Bank, while not yet global, has been making headlines with momentum in recent years with increasing acquisitions and record-breaking mergers. The recent acquisition of Liberty Bank is the 10th since 2010. Centennial Bank is under publicly traded Home BancShares (HOMB). At Centennial Townsell serves as vice president of corporate efficiencies, facilitating six teams charged with finding ways to work smarter and create efficiencies even as the business broadens. Townsell and her teams also look for ways to increase revenue while keeping expenses under control. With each acquisition Centennial makes, more opportunity for improvement is born, Townsell said. “Needless to say, we’ve been busy,” she said. Further, Townsell acts as liaison between bank executives and market analysts, and is responsible for reporting to the chairman of the board. She coordinates road shows and conferences and works to sell the Home 24 WOMEN IN BUSINESS • SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

BancShares story. These responsibilities have been Townsell’s for one year. The previous five she served as project manager, implementing products and services such as Centennial’s mobile banking app that came out last year. “This new role is a game changer for me personally, as I’m learning more about the business of running a publicly traded company,” Townsell said. For her future and Centennial’s Townsell said she will become more versed in all aspects of her day-to-day responsibilities while learning the strategies behind being a $8 billion bank. “The experience I’m gaining from our executive team is invaluable,” she said. Townsell said she did not go to banking school, but she has a business degree in marketing from the University of Central Arkansas. “I knew I wanted to be a business woman, I knew I wanted to be successful, and I knew I wanted to be in Conway,” she said. “I could not have predicted the banker demographic six years ago, but it has turned out to be a blessing and one of the greatest opportunities in my lifetime. Opportunity knocked, and I am just thankful I had an ear to hear it and the courage to open the door.” Townsell isn’t just a business woman, but a successful business woman and full-time mom to her beautiful daughter, Riley.


J E N N Y H O N E Y, N A T A L I E R O S E , MEGAN JAMES, SHEILA TRAFFORD AND JEAN WILKINSON Wilkinson’s Mall is truly a family affair in Conway. Started by Bill Wilkinson as Wilkinson Shoe Company, a wholesaler, the retail store now boasts the largest shoe store in Arkansas. When Bill Wilkinson passed away, the business moved to his wife, Jean, and his daughters, Jenny Honey, Natalie Rose and Megan James. Brother Mike Wilkinson also took part in continuing the business. “We continued the business, and it grew, stretching the wholesale account base across the country,” said Honey, who is currently Vice President and in charge of buying. “We closed down the business in 1986 for a short time and reopened later that year as a retail store. “ Rose is currently General Merchandise Manager, and James works “behind the scenes,” a place she loves, although she admits to missing the customer interaction. In addition to their traditional family, Wilkinson’s has taken on extended family. Sheila Trafford has also been with the company for 15 years. “I always joke that it was fate that I’m a part of Wilkinson’s,” Trafford said. “I was shopping in the store one day and was asked to be in a testimonial commercial that they were shooting. I made sure I used that for a little lever-

age in my interview.” The inspirational force for Wilkinson’s over the past decades has been Jean, or as her daughters call her, Wilkie. “She started the store and still comes in every day and she is 88 years old!” Rose said. “She is tough, sassy and never complains about a thing. There are so many different things she has taught me over the years.” The Wilkinson “family” has remained dedicated to the business, and every member has a favorite part, whether it is helping customers or working in the wrapping room. Honey is still dedicated to buying, although she noted that online sales has been the toughest competitor so far. The family is even greater than those who work in the store. Another sister, Beth, is missed by her family during their workday. Wilkinson’s is still looking to grow and keep its solid foundation, based on family. “I love working with my family,” James said. “Even though tough at times, not many people can say they see their family every day. I thank God for this opportunity and for our loyal customers that have made it all possible.” Trafford echoed those comments. “It’s nice to be a part of a family owned business that has made me feel like family,” she said.



LEIGH VERNON, ASHLEY LOVE AND AMANDA HORTON There’s a lot of excitement surrounding this year’s series of public appearances at UCA’s Reynolds Performance Hall, but there are no individuals more excited than the women who work firsthand to provide the appearances. Director of UCA’s Reynolds Performance Hall, Amanda Horton, who took the position in June, says her favorite part of her job is interacting with patrons, and she can’t wait to see how patrons react to this year’s lineup. More than two weeks from the first performance, Cirque Éloize “Cirkopolis,” three shows, Bill Cosby, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Straight No Closer, have already sold out. In fact, the shows sold out within the first day tickets went on sale on Aug. 12. Horton, a 1995 UCA graduate, came to Reynolds Performance Hall after working at the Grand Prairie Center in Stuttgart. Ashley Love, director of finance and marketing, says the adrenaline level is definitely increased the night of shows, but it’s all part of seeing the final 26 WOMEN IN BUSINESS • SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

result, which the 2007 UCA graduate says is her favorite part what she does. Meeting all the artists and performers that come through Reynolds Performance Hall each year is something events manager Leigh Vernon never dreamed of experiencing. “Never in my wildest imagination did I think i would be doing something like this,” the Arkansas Tech graduate, with an emphasis in physical education, said. While she never imagined it, Vernon said she could not have asked for a more fun job, stating the entire staff is ready for this year’s performances to get rolling. “Just look at the performers that are going to be here,” she said. Horton admitted that this year’s series, spearheaded by former director Jerry Biebesheimer, who retired in May, definitely adds to the pressure of making next year’s performances even better, but stated her team is up to the challenge. “We want to grow every year, and continue to bring a wide variety of performers,” she said.

2013 WOMEN IN BUSINESS: BRANCH OUT PAINT BAR & BOUTIQUE BETH YOCKEY AND HANNAH DORSEY A combination of a painting studio, a boutique and a coffeehouse may not seem to go hand-in-hand, but for the owners of Branch Out in Downtown Conway, it has become something special. Beth Yockey and daughter Hannah Dorsey have created their own world off Oak Street with an eclectic feel and a spunky spirit. Opening in 2011 after a visit to Colorado, Yockey and Dorsey took a “leap of faith” to see if their vision would fly in Conway. Nearly two years later, the family business — incorporating both husbands, Robert Yockey and Russell Dorsey — is thriving. “What is great about it being a true family business is that we make our own decisions,” Beth said. “So when we have a neat idea, all we need to do is put it on ourselves.” Those ideas have included specialized birthday parties, family day, mother/daughter outings and date nights, although as all the owners pointed out, every night can be date night at Branch Out. What makes the space special is that all materials are provided. For a certain event, such as open studio painting or specific art classes, all that is required is the fee and a willingness to be creative. Branch Out, which is open many nights past 6 p.m., has also branched out with new events such as Wine & Dine, where the studio will partner with local restaurants to provide a painting, eating and drinking adventure. Another activity that has been successful has been the Dames of DIY, which is a Pinterest class that Hannah points out is “more than just pinning. Those that come to the class are actually doing everything here.” Branch Out is also offering a pre-school activity called Mommy & Me Book Club. “Parents are looking for activities for their children, and this is a great one,” Hannah said. But Branch Out doesn’t just open its doors to customers. They are willing to pack up shop and head out to on location events. The studio has also been involved in team building exercises with companies such as Axciom, Hewlett-Packard and various banks. Besides painting, customers can come in and shop at the boutique or sit and have a cup of coffee and Jasper’z Java, which is a full-service coffee bar at the front of the store. With so many things do and see and drink and buy, there is always something happening at Branch Out. And the owners want everyone to know they plan on staying a while. “We bought the building,” Beth said. “We are committed to Downtown Conway.” SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION • WOMEN IN BUSINESS 27


A N G E L A C U R T I S , TA H N YA HARRIS AND JENNIFER HYDE Three women who wanted to work together and who wanted to provide Faulkner County with an alternative in pharmaceutical care, Angela Curtis, Tahnya Harris and Jennifer Hyde have formed Amity Road Pharmacy and are already setting their sights on a second location to be named Vilonia Family Pharmacy. The independent pharmacy opened in Conway in March with the three women as owners. The trio had worked together before in different pharmaceutical positions such as retail and specialty. But they knew they wanted to work with each other in their own place. “It’s been a desire and a dream for all of us to work at a pharmacy where we have the opportunity to make the business decisions that best provide the personal service and healthcare that Faulkner county residents desire and much deserve. We felt like Conway was the perfect place for that to happen.” Curtis said that independent pharmacies had been on the decline in the area, and Amity Road is the only independent pharmacy in East Conway. When they open the doors on the new business in Vilonia, it will be an independent facility there as well, giving what Curtis called, “a hometown feel for that community.” One service that the group at Amity Road brings to its customers is free delivery to their place of employment. Curtis said the option helps eliminate their customers from using their lunch break or having to wait until after work to pick up their medication. It fits our slogan “Caring for you 28 WOMEN IN BUSINESS • SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

and your time.” Another service that is unique to these two pharmacies is medication synchronization which allows their customer’s routine medication to be filled at the same time each month. “For our customers who choose this process, we look ahead and verify refills remain and can have the customer’s medicine ready for pick up or delivery on a routine schedule each month. This ensures our customers should never have to miss a dose of medicine which increases compliance and over-all healthcare. Also, their software system is high tech. Their customers can receive notice that they have medications ready either by text or email. Their is also an app for smartphones that let customers request refills thru the app and also provide them with their complete medication profile which is always needed at a Drs visit or emergency room visit. The pharmacies also provide special medication packaging for customers that prefer it. This packaging increases customers organization of their medications and compliance- which again increases the customers over-all health. Curtis, Harris and Hyde all bring different talents to their business, which Curtis believes is extremely important to a fledgling company. “There is so much to starting a business, and we have been able to work well together.” Thanks to three strong-willed minds who had the experience and knowledge to create a pharmacy with an eye on catering to the Faulkner County community, the idea of independent businesses succeeding is a strong one. “We are growing every day,” Curtis said. “We are working at being a success.”

2013 WOMEN IN BUSINESS: FIRST SECURITY BANK BRENDA HESTER After more than 50 years in banking, Brenda Hester of First Security Bank is nearly ready to retire. Her journey through the banking systems leading to her current position as Vice President of Human Resources has been a storied one. “I started my career in banking in 1962 as a bookkeeper for First State Bank, owned by Tom Wilson,” Hester said. “Today, City Hall is where First State Bank was located then.” Hester began taking on many different roles in her first banking job. She was a teller for part of her day and running a proof machine later in the afternoon. After leaving Conway for a year, she returned to hear Wilson exclaim, “Brenda, I don’t want you leaving again.” In the mid-80’s, Hester became Personnel Director, a new title for a new department, which would later become Human Resources. “I worked through many mergers that included First State, Worthen, Boatmens, Nationsbank and Bank of America,” Hester said. “In 1997, Nationsbank dissolved the Human Resource department in Conway, and I transferred to a Banking Center Manager position. I served in that position for a year but my heart was still in personnel.” Hester decided to retire after 36 years in the industry, but instead, she began what she called the best years of her career with what was then called First Community Bank. She was hired to start the Human Resource Department at the bank. “I was so excited to get to do this again, and I was the first HR person in the Corporation,” Hester said. “I have been able to devise, organize and coordinate everything related to the employees within our bank.” Hester said that to be a good HR manager, one must coexist with all levels of the company and with every employee. She said a good manager has to demonstrate communication skills and tact, practice discipline and fairness with all employees from janitor to CEO. Despite the love for her work, she said she is looking forward to retirement. Married to her husband, Don, for 51 years, Hester is ready to spend more time with her family, which includes a son, five grandchildren and one greatgrandchild. “What a great work life I have had!” Hester said. “I’ve worked with so many great people over the years.” SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION • WOMEN IN BUSINESS 29

2013 WOMEN IN BUSINESS: ARKANSAS HOSPICE SUSIE AKIN Susie Akin, Conway area manager for Arkansas Hospice, said her mission in life is to help other people overcome the trauma of losing a loved one. “We help patients go from this life to the next life with dignity and respect,” she said. A nurse for more than 23 years with a master’s degree in business administration health care management, Akin had a long career in developing new programs at hospitals. But when her husband died last year, that job no longer seemed to fit, she said. “I prayed to God to show me what to do next, and I got a call the next day,” she said. “It’s a wonderful company. They truly respect their employees, their patients, the families. They live it; they breathe it. They don’t just say it. I feel like this is my mission in life, since I’ve gone through such a trauma, to help other people overcome it.” Akin continued, “My job is to lead an interdisciplinary team to provide care to the patient and the family during this difficult time when they’re going through facing death, illness and how to overcome wanting to have as little pain as possible. “We have, in addition to our nurses, chaplains, volunteers, bereavement specialists and social workers. We also have durable medical equipment specialists that help us provide all the equipment to allow the patient stay in the home and be as comfortable as they can.” She said Arkansas Hospice can not only make patients more comfortable during their last days of life, they often have patients who get better and are discharged. She said it is unfortunate that patients commonly believe a referral to Hospice means doctors have given up on them. “Coming from a background in the hospital and referring patients to Hospice, I didn’t know, and I feel like there are many health care professionals who still don’t know — we’ve had patients referred who get better and their life expectancy is extended. Their lives are more pain-free, more full. They’re able to cope with the pain, with the grief because of the support they get from the interdisciplinary team.” She added, “It seems like it would be a sad job, and some days it is. They become so much a part of our family, but it’s a blessing that you get to become part of their family during their last days. It’s very rewarding to be a leader of such a kind and compassionate group of individuals who come together as a team. It takes special people to have a Hospice heart.” The Conway office of Arkansas Hospice is located at 1014 Markham St. 30WOMEN’S WOMEN ININC. BUSINESS • SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION 30 / SEPTEMBER 2013


J ackie S train - M ahar and B randy S train - D ayer Strain Photography is a small, family-owned studio that has been in the same location in Conway for over 40 years. When someone says “family business,” They most likely mean Strain Photography. “Our employees are all family,” Brandy Strain said. “We have a strong sense of community pride because we have all grown up here, gone to school here and now have rooted our own families here.” Strain Photography is always looking for ways to support the community. “Our favorite thing has been our canned food drive we hosted back in February,” Strain said. “We collected more than 14,000 canned food items for Faulkner County. The food was then distributed to Bethlehem House, Haven House, Soaring Wings Ranch, the Women’s shelter, Soul Food Cafe and every backpack program in the Conway School District” Strain Photography has specialized in children, family & senior portraits. Strain said that several things set their business apart from other studios: • Private, 2-acre portrait garden. “Our parents have spent many years creating the perfect areas for us to us to photograph people in,” she said. “All of these areas are

unique to us.” • Three Master of Photography degree holders from the Professional Photographers of America are part of the studio. • The studio has been awarded Arkansas Photographer of the Years by the Professional Photographers of Arkansas 17 times. • On most sessions Jackie and Brandy Strain work together as a team. “This insures that every aspect of the session is being taken care of, from the best pose and lighting to the littlest strand of hair and, of course, the perfect expression on their child,” Strain said. Strain was very proud of the family nature of the business. “We are very lucky to have a strong, family-owned business, and we feel truly blessed to be able to carry out this family tradition of excellence in photography,” she said. “We think it is so cool that weekly we photograph someone for their Senior pictures, that our dad also photographed the subject’s mom or dad when they were in high school. “We truly cherish each customer that walks through our door and want them to feel right at home in our studio,” she added. “We love knowing that when they leave our studio, not only are they getting a quality portrait to cherish for a lifetime, but they are also our friend.” SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTIONWWW.WOMENSINC.NET • WOMEN IN BUSINESS 31 31


The Conway Adult Education Center has been under many roofs during its existence, but the thing that hasn’t changed, the mission of helping the people of Faulkner County better themselves through education. Those who have seen the journey of the CAEC through its many forms has included CAEC Director Ruth Ann Williams and Marketing Director Michelle Horton. But they are only two of the many women who make the CAEC a vital part of the Conway and Faulkner County community. Offering a large variety of services including computer training, ACT and other testing preparation, GED acquisition and many other specialized courses, the center is a place that can help those from any walk of life get the skills they need to succeed. “We have so many kinds of people coming in here every day,” Williams said. “There are mothers who come in to learn course in order to be able to help their children study. There are people ready to go back to college who need help with basics of math and English that they might have not needed in years.” But the CAEC also concentrates on helping people improve their employment situation. “There were times when some people dropped out of school and just began working,” Horton said. “But now, even in labor situations, you need specific training in matters such as new technology, and we hope we can help in that manner.” For those people who want to be to get that job, there are courses on resume writing and interviewing. There are courses that can help students become certified in specific skills that would help them transition into another career. Funded entirely by state and federal money, the CAEC is always making sure they can improve ad grow, although Williams admits that the funding hasn’t changed much in the past few years. “We have some obstacles that we always have to overcome, such as transportation for the students,” she said. “But everyone here is so dedicated to the success of the center and to those who attend here. We are very proud of our commitment to the community.”



2013 WOMEN IN BUSINESS: CONWAY AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE MARY MARGARET S AT T E R F I E L D You could call Mary Margaret Satterfield the most VIT in Conway - very important toad that is. Mary Margaret is the go to person for Toad Suck Daze, one of Arkansas’ most recognized festivals and winner of several gold awards for Best Children’s Programming from the International Festivals and Events Association in 2011. As a Satterfield heir, Mary Margaret was born and raised in Conway. She took a short stint away for college where she got a Bachelor of Science degree with a concentration in marketing from Louisiana State University, but soon returned and got a job with the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce. “Growing up here, I grew up around Toad Suck,” she said. “I kind of laugh, I think I was two or three when Toad Suck started so I never remember not having Toad Suck Daze, but by nature I love going to festivals. It’s something I’ve always done whether it was going to music festivals in high school or college or going around traveling to to other events.” It was in college where Mary Margaret found her love of event planning when she took a class through George Washington University for tourism administration. During the two-week class, she and her classmates met with planners of the Olympic games. “It took me from wanting to do marketing and sales or something of that nature to actually wanting to do event planning,” she said. Mary Margaret got her start as the director of marketing and tourism. Her job has now morphed into a career as the director of events. At the time, the chamber staff consisted of five staff members. Mary Margaret’s job was to work on Toad Suck Daze and help with other events as well as working the annual meeting and business expo which was run by the president. She also worked with membership, marketing and communications. “As the chamber grew to what it is now, I was able to start to focus on the events side of it,” she said. From January to December Mary Margaret now works on a project management basis to host several events at a time. Business events include Bowling for Business, Business Expo, Taste of Conway, CEO Luncheons, Small Business Lunch & Learns and Business After Hours. Mary Margaret also organizes the Teacher Breakfast and Education Fair, Academic Signing Day and the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Meeting. But her largest event is Toad Suck Daze. Mary Margaret works with a committee of 60 people throughout the year to prepare for three days of food, music and family fun. “It works year round, and it’s kind of an animal of its own,” she says. In September, Mary Margaret will be awarded CFEE, or Certified Festival and Event Executive, by the International Festivals and Events Association. She has been working on this achievement for three years. The certification program started in 1983 and there are only about 250 CFEE’s in the world today. Mary Margaret says you can’t beat having a job that allows you to work hard and have tons of fun. “On that weekend of Toad Suck Daze no matter how hard your working whether it be the committee or the chamber staff, we’re working really hard, but it’s just kind of fun because you get to come, and stop and eat a corn dog, or stop and race a toad, or stop and watch a band,” she said. “There’s always some kind of fun aspect to that, and that’s really with any kind of event you do and that’s what attracts me to it.” SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTIONWWW.WOMENSINC.NET • WOMEN IN BUSINESS 33 33


PITZA 42 The Pitza 42 concept is simple: Give local people good food and make sure people around the world have access to good food. Lorrie Fleming, Corinne Noonan and Katy Baldridge are all college students who work at Pitza 42, the “pitza” joint that bakes sauce, cheese and toppings onto a pita for a different spin on the classic pizza treat. Fleming was one of the first hires before the restaurant opened almost two years ago. She raves about the food, saying her current favorite dish is the chicken pesto on a white pita crust. “Everything is super fresh,” she said. “It’s fast, affordable and healthy. It’s not ‘fast food,’ but you can get it to go and on the run. That’s great for me as a college student.” But Pitza 42 isn’t just about fresh pita bread and craftsman meals for people in Conway. Pitza 42 aims to put a dent in ending childhood hunger around the world. For every meal purchased at Pitza 42, the restaurant will donate a meal to a hungry child 34 WOMEN IN BUSINESS • SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

through Feed My Starving Children. Fleming, Noonan and Baldridge had a chance this past summer to see exactly how their workplace makes an impact outside of Conway. “This summer we all had an experience to go see the children in Nicaragua,” Fleming said. “We got to see how it all comes together to feed the kids.” In Nicaragua the women saw how bringing food to a community not only saves lives, but promotes social opportunities and ways to promote good health. Fleming said part of her project while in Nicaragua was to set up a free trade market between the mothers there and Pitza 42. The women in the community they visited scour the local garbage dump to find things to sell. Fleming said they live off of $2 a day, but she wanted to see how she could help them make more while connecting two vastly different communities. “I went out in the dump with them and looked for things that women in Conway, Ark. would be interested in buying,” she said. “I found all of

these T-shirts and thought we could make something out of that.” Pitza 42 now sells handmade headbands from Nicaragua for $12 to help support the women there. “Such a small amount of money can make a huge difference,” Fleming said. Pitza 42 also has local community involvement, including a MobilePack event with Feed My Starving Children set for April. The restaurant will partner with people in Conway to pack 500,000 meals to be sent to feeding programs around the world. Fleming, Noonan and Baldridge may be graduating with degrees outside of the food industry — occupational therapy, English and social work respectively — but their experience with Pitza 42 cannot be taken away. “There’s no way they’re going to get me away from that restaurant,” Fleming said. Pitza 42 is located at 2235 Dave Ward Drive in Suite 101. For more information, visit www.

2013 WOMEN IN BUSINESS BRITTNEY WILLIAMSON After buying a home, 24-year-old Brittney Williamson of Greenbrier became interested in the real estate business. Now, less than a year later, she is a licensed Realtor and working toward the career of her dreams as an agent at Linda Roster White Real Estate. Broker Linda Roster White sold Williamson her house and introduced her to the job she now loves. It was White who suggested Williamson get into the real estate business and who hired her in December 2012. “She sold me my house, and she talked to me about getting my license. She’s been doing this for 20 years. She’s kind of like a one-woman show,” Williamson said of White. “That’s what I like about her. I have a really good boss.” She added she has enjoyed the oneon-one attention that has come with training at a smaller agency. “If you work with bigger agencies, you don’t really get the one-on-one time. I follow her around. She’s more like my friend than my boss,” she said. Having her clients call for advice throughout the buying or selling process is meaningful as well, Williamson said. “It’s nice knowing they respect your opinion,” she said. “There’s a wide variety of personalities, and I love all of them. After the sale closes or the transaction is done, I still talk to them. They still call me. I get very close to my buyers. I’m very protective of them.” She hasn’t looked back since leaving her former job in the insurance industry, and she sees a bright future ahead. “It’s my career, it’s not just my job,” she said. “I like working. I have a lot of energy. I wake up every morning wanting to go to work, wanting to meet new people and network with new people. I want to turn it into a career. It’s long-term.” She concluded, “I love the freedom I have, making my own schedule. The possibilities are endless. You can work as hard as you want. It just depends on how successful you want to be. No two days are the same. You don’t just sit in an office all day. You make your own schedule. You can sell a house, go shoe shopping, and then sell another house. SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION • WOMEN IN BUSINESS 35

2013 WOMEN IN BUSINESS: FREEMAN FAMILY MEDICINE AMY BURTON Amy Burton brings a feminine touch to Freeman Family Medicine as the practice’s nurse practitioner. Burton has been a Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner for six and a half years, and has been a registered nurse since 1997. Her undergraduate studies were spent at Arkansas Tech University and she completed her masters at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. She serves as the sole female nurse practitioner for Freeman Family Medicine, a family clinic run by father/son team William H. Freeman and Alex Freeman. “I think I bring a different perspective, and there are things women only want to talk to a girl about,” she said. Burton first began working for Freeman Family Medicine when she graduated from UAMS. “It was the first job I applied for,” she said. “I’ve been with [William] since the beginning. We just kind of found each other and it worked.” Burton said they’ve worked together so long now she knows what he’s thinking before he says it. When Alex joined the practice, Burton said, he was young and brought new ideas to the clinic. “It’s nice having one more head when we put our heads together,” she said. William specializes in adult medicine and Alex sees adults and pediatric patients. Burton’s clinical interests include adult medicine with an emphasis on women’s health. “It’s a good balance between the three of us,” she said. It’s obvious, Burton said, she can identify with women because she is one, but that also gives her the ability to empathize with her female patients. “Anytime you’ve gone through something that other people are going through, they can identify with you,” she said. “I enjoy being there for the ladies.” Burton’s days at the practice are a balance of seeing sick patients and healthy patients for check ups, lots of phone calls, answering questions and a bit of counseling. “I think the best part is seeing results and knowing that you’re there to help someone, fix something and hold their hand through the hard times,” Burton said. Burton lives in Conway with husband Jack and sons Cole, 14, and Carter, 11. 36 WOMEN IN BUSINESS • SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION


ANN MILLER, BETH MARIS, EUNICE MUHAMMAD AND BECKY BLACK Nabholz Construction has several women on its team serving as project managers and project engineers who have impressive careers under their belts. Project manager Becky Black has been with the company 27 years. She said,” Quality is a key component of any project and is the responsible of all of us to make sure the Owner receives a high quality final product whether it is a new building or renovation. On time and under budget is the goal to be attained.” Beth Maris has worked 13 years for Nabholz Construction. She has an architectural engineering degree with an emphasis in construction management from the University of Kansas. She is a project manager at the company’s Little

Rock office. She said, “I’ve had many influences in my life and career over the years. I’ve found that, for me, it’s not about being a female working in a male dominated industry. It’s about me as a person working and relating with other people. I have never expected or wanted to be treated differently because I am a female. I’ve been told by some of my coworkers that they view me as ‘one of the guys.’ Some people could be offended by that remark. I consider it the greatest compliment.” Eunice Muhammad is a project engineer originally from DeWitt, Ark. She worked as a computer software designer and engineer for 20 years before becoming interested in construction. She went back to college and earned a degree in construction management. “The best part of my job, hands down, is being out in the field working day to day with wonderful craftsmen that go hard at it every day. They teach me so much every day and I appreciate them and I hope they appreciate

me. It’s like family out here and you know how that goes, family take care of each other. This is evident, being that both superintendents I have worked on site with have been accident free for 18 plus years. Project manager Ann Miller has been with the company 22 years. She joined the company as a receptionist but quickly developed an interest in construction. Over the next 10 years she advanced and developed her skills until she started managing her own projects. She said, “I have been extremely fortunate in the incredible support I have received throughout my career. I had a wonderful mentor, also a woman, who taught me a lot of the skills and knowledge I still use today, and I work for a great company that saw my potential and gave me the opportunities to advance and develop my career. “Their support plus a lot of my own hard work and determination are what turned a receptionist into the successful project manager that I am today.” SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION • WOMEN IN BUSINESS 37

2013 WOMEN IN BUSINESS: GIGI’S CUPCAKES GIGI BUTLER Gigi Butler, the founder of Gigi’s Cupcakes (, experienced a long journey before she created the nation’s fastest growing and largest cupcake franchise. Born in Oklahoma and raised in a small California farm town, Gigi always possessed a strong entrepreneurial spirit. To earn funds to support her dream of becoming a singer/ songwriter, she founded Gigi’s Cleaning Company at the age of 15. As Gigi continued to dream of a career in music, she decided to move to Nashville, TN. She found some success, performing at top music spots like Tootsie’s and The Stage on Broadway. However, once Gigi turned 30, she decided to retire from the music industry. Gigi was happy with the success of her cleaning company, but felt that it lacked the creative energy she desired in a career. Gigi, also an accomplished baker, got a phone call from her brother in September 2007 that would change her life. He told her about the two hour long line he stood in at a famous cupcake shop in NYC. He realized that she could use her talents to start the successful and creative business she wanted. After months of hard work and preparation, Gigi’s Cupcakes first location opened in downtown Nashville on February 21, 2008. On the day Gigi’s opened its doors, she had only $33 left in her checking account. Word of the delicious new cupcakes quickly spread and lines were soon filing out the door. Within the first month, Gigi’s Cupcakes was successful enough that Gigi was able to pay off all of her bills and still bring home a small profit. Today, the Gigi’s brand is stronger than ever and proud to be a part of the Central Arkansas community. The locally owned and operated locations on University Blvd. and Chenal Parkway in Little Rock bake fresh on-site daily. There’s also a new Conway location coming soon! With a wide variety of gourmet cupcakes, mini cupcakes and cheesecakes, there’s truly something for everyone. Visit your neighborhood Gigi’s for your event & celebration needs, or just a sweet treat for you and your family. 38WOMEN’S WOMEN IN BUSINESS • SPECIAL 38 INC. / SEPTEMBER 2013ADVERTISING SECTION


SHANA MULLANEY Shana Mullaney, who owns Grand Master Hans Martial Arts along with husband, Tom, has discovered a wealth of confidence and a love of teaching in her 10 years of practicing martial arts. The business, located at 1216 Harkrider, offers a wide range of classes for children, women, men, senior citizens and also children with special needs. Mullaney said they hope to become a one-stop shop for everyone’s needs. “We offer women’s only classes, self defense, cardio kickboxing, personal training, private lessons and an after school academy. We go to the schools and pick up the kids. We have an hour of homework time and tutoring and a full hour of martial arts.” She said she and her husband started the academy concept with pickup and homework time

when they realized they were not getting enough time with their own children. “We’re working parents, and the kids would still have homework, and we had to feed them. We were rushing. A lot of parents were in the same situation. Now when they go home, they have time with their parents. It’s been a really good thing for us. It’s been a blessing for us too, because it has given us a chance to know other people’s kids and learn different ways to teach them,” she said. She said they are adding boot camp and other classes. The school also has weekly home school classes that home schooled children can use toward a physical education credit. For a list of available classes, visit Mullaney, a fourth-degree black belt, said, “The martial art is Youn Wha Ryu — a mixture of Taekwondo, Karate, Kung Fu and Hapkido. It’s a

Taekwondo base, but as you move up in rank, you start learning Karate and Kung Fu once you hit black belt. There’s a lot more power in them.” She very recently began teaching martial arts on a full-time basis. Before, she was working in the insurance business and teaching martial arts on the side. “It’s nice to step into a role of doing this,” she said. “It’s my passion. I love to help people, teach people, help them be more confident. This is so rewarding. It’s one of the best things we could have done for our family. We can train right alongside each other.” She concluded, “Just to see the accomplishments you can have and the things your body can do that you never thought — it’s crazy — the confidence you can have as you walk down the street … that’s a good feeling to have.” SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTIONWWW.WOMENSINC.NET • WOMEN IN BUSINESS 39 39

2013 WOMEN IN BUSINESS: BURN STUDIO R O B I N D AY E R Robin Dayer, owner of Burn Studio, is passionate about helping people of all levels of fitness reach wellness goals one small group at a time. “I feel like when I wake up in the morning, I am fulfilling my life’s purpose,” Dayer said. “I wanted to do something special for Conway. I wanted to open a chic studio where people can come for things above and beyond fitness.” A native of Nashville, Tenn. and a longtime resident of Conway, Dayer graduated from St. Joseph High School and the University of Central Arkansas, where she received a degree in marketing. Following graduation, she embarked on a journey into pharmaceutical sales that lasted for “a couple of years.” “I thought my purpose was to be in the business world, but I quickly realized that didn’t make me happy at all,” she recalls. With newfound time on her hands and a gym


membership to boot, Dayer began attending group classes at Conway Regional Fitness Center. “It literally took just a few weeks and I feel like God led me to a point where I was like, this is where I need to be,” she said. Dayer approached the group’s exercise manager about a career in fitness, and the rest is history. She has worked as a fitness trainer for 13 years; six years ago, she was certified as a personal trainer. The establishment of Burn Studio was a personal decision Dayer made in the spring to fulfill a long-standing dream of branching out on her own, in her own space. The studio is the first of its kind in the area, and will open for business on Sept. 9. It is located just off of Salem Road near Kroger. Fitness offerings will include state-of-the-art indoor cycling, PiYo, BarreAmped, running classes, a metabolic class and boot camp, all in a small group setting with an average of 10-15 people per class, allowing Dayer and her staff of trainers and a nutritionist to give up-close and individual atten-

tion to the studio’s clients. “It was important to me to eliminate the stress of anyone trying to get a spot in a class,” Dayer said, comparing her studio to larger area gyms. “Another goal was to provide a special experience where people feel like they are a part of something and are known by name.” Information on the classes can be found online at Classes are also booked and paid for through the secure website. “That way all they have to worry about it showing up,” Dayer explained. A preview week of free classes will be offered Sept. 3-8. Dayer said changing lives is what inspires her business goals. “Though it’s important, it is not even necessarily about how many pounds or inches a person has lost. At the end of the day, I just want to make someone’s life better.” She is married to husband James, who works in sales. The couple shares three children, ages 14, 10 and 8.

2013 WOMEN IN BUSINESS: CRUTCHFIELD CLARK & COMPANY VICKIE CRUTCHFIELD AND JAN CLARK Helping people is ingrained in the lives and legacy of Vickie Crutchfield and Jan Clark of Crutchfield Clark & Company in Conway. “We appreciate our clients for being so loyal to us over the years, because without them we would not be able to have a successful business.” “Service is THE main goal here,” Jan added. “Our motto is ‘Service Beyond Expectation!’ Whether it’s for a buyer or a seller, we are big hand holders … it’s just part of our philosophy of service.” Vickie and Jan -- along with their two associates Mike Argo and Kathy Brents – run a full service real estate agency, listing residential, commercial, farm and ranch and vacant land. And no matter the listing, they are with their clients all the way. “We help them with negotiations, the title company, the financial lender,” Jan said. The ladies then laughed, thinking about how Vickie is currently helping some clients by feeding their chickens and caring for their dogs and cats. This type of service, they say, is the reason their business is largely based upon referrals and return clients. “Your home is your biggest asset. When it’s time to buy or sell, you need some structure and guidance on how it all works. It’s our responsibility to help our clients. We try to do the right thing,” she said. Vickie says that everyone who comes into the office is precious to them, whether they become a client or not. Not everyone who comes in will become a client. Some people might not be quite ready to sell or buy, but are seeking information on how to clean up their credit rating, how to find a reputable lender, or how to get their house prepared to be sold. “Even if they are not close to listing or selling, we take time to talk to them,” Jan added. “When you list your house, there are things you need to get done beforehand, and we try to be advisers,” Jan said. “Communication is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle.” Vickie said they will send frequent emails and make phone calls to their clients just to keep in touch. “Our sellers need to hear about where, when and how their home is being shown and advertised,” she added. At Crutchfield Clark, the inventory of homes is kept small so they can provide the best and most exposure and get homes sold. “We do virtual tours, we advertise on national web sites and we have ads in magazines and newspapers,” Vickie said. Vickie and Jan have known each other since about 1997 when Jan’s mother was an agent at Vickie’s former real estate agency. They opened Crutchfield Clark & Company in 2002. “We have such a good business relationship because we collaborate on everything,” Vickie said. In addition to listing and selling homes, Vickie takes charge of the advertising and Jan takes care of the financial matters. However, they make all decisions together, no matter the issue. These multi-million dollar producers are community minded as well as members of several boards. This includes the local Faulkner County Board of Realtors, where Jan maintains a seat as a director and Vickie has served as President and was Realtor of the Year. Jan also had the honor of being voted on by her piers and given the Congeniality Award. They are also members of Arkansas Realtors Association, and the National Association of Realtors. Jan and Vickie both say the main thing that has made their business a success is that they knew each other before they went into business together. “We knew it would work,” Jan said. “We are like a family — we ARE a family.” SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION • WOMEN IN BUSINESS 41

2013 WOMEN IN BUSINESS: SMITH FORD C AT H Y A N D C AT E KETCHESIDE Cathy Ketcheside and daughter Cate work side by side at Smith Ford, one of Conway’s oldest family-owned businesses. The dealership was founded by Cathy’s great-grandfather in 1916. Cathy said she came to work in the office of the family business when she was in high school, starting at the bottom filing paperwork and working her way up. Today she is the financial officer for the company, managing payroll, quarterly reports, employee retirement plans and more. “Cate helps with the paperwork and paying the bills,” Cathy said. “My dad taught me most of everything I know. I really learned from him the day-to-day workings of the office. As he taught me, I’ve been able to think back and teach my children the same way.” A fifth-generation member of the Smith Ford family business, Cate Ketcheside majored in transportation logistics at the University of Arkansas and then worked in logistics for a large trucking company for a few years. “Since I’ve been back here, I’m doing more accounting and bookkeeping,” she said. “It’s good to see both big and small companies.” Mother and daughter agreed one thing Cate brings to the table is a more in-depth understanding of technology. Cathy said, “It has grown through the years since the ‘70s and early ‘80s when I came to work here. The business has changed so much because of technology. We used to have to go to the bank and do every little thing, and now it’s all automated. (Cate) teaches me a lot (because) she’s so much better with computers.” Cate said her perspectives on the family business have changed significantly from her growing-up years. “You don’t even realize how special it is and how rare it is until you get out and you don’t see a family-owned business anymore,” she said. “My family gained a lot of respect in the community just by being here so long. I think they’ve done great with it. It’s truly amazing to work here with everyone and to see how Smith Ford gives to the community and how the community gives back to Smith Ford. Growing up in it, I just thought everyone did that.” Cathy said working with her daughter (and son, husband, and brother) has been a pleasurable challenge. “It makes for a wonderful working relationship,” she said. “I love to come to work because I do get to see my family. I enjoy working around them and seeing them grow in their environment, watching them learn the business and see what we’ve been doing all these years. As a mother, I love being around my children. I love having the opportunity to be with them and work with them.” 42 WOMEN IN BUSINESS • SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION


Sonshine Academy is a Children’s (and those that are young at heart) Activity and Performing Arts Center that provides instruction in Gymnastics, Dance, Cheerleading, Tumbling, Preschool Gymnastics, and Swimming. In addition, children can be involved with Birthday Parties, Parent’s Night Out, Group Events, After School Care, Camps, and Summer Day Camp. Scott and Elsie Rose Wright have since 1991 worked together growing their business from 9,000 to 52,000 square feet. “It’s been exciting to see the growth over the years,” Elsie Rose said. Recent physical expansion has included a cheerleading and power tumbling & trampoline gym, a completely renovated pre-school Jungle Gym, an additional dance room (bringing the total to 4 dance rooms), additional summer day camp and after-school care rooms, and a remodeled gymnastics gym, and office areas. The decor inside and out is exciting and amazing. Outside customers are greeted with “murals” depicting the various programs offered. Inside is decorated with custom wall designs and some of the climbing additions and murals harking back to the Swiss Family Robinson Tree House. “The facility is great, but what makes Sonshine Academy so special and unique is the 75 plus members of staff (including 55-60 women) who truly are a ‘Sonshine Family,’ They love what they do and love their students and strive to keep each child cared and encouraged in each choice of activity.

Every staff member understands they have the opportunity to impact a child’s life in a positive way and they take that job very seriously. Sonshine Academy offers both recreational classes and competitive teams for those more serious in their training. Competitive teams include Extreme Dance Force, Cheer Force All-Stars, Gymnastics teams for girls and boys and new this year, Power Tumbling and Trampoline. The gymnasiums and dance rooms are filled with plaques and trophies gathered by winning athletes. While they train their athletes to be successful, they are careful not to “skip” foundational steps but rather teach skills in progressions. “You never know when you start something where you’ll end up and this has been an amazing adventure,” Elsie Rose said. Before they married, she knew Scott dreamed of owning a gym someday. He was an NCAA gymnast for Houston Baptist University and loved gymnastics from an early age. Their background and training were both as teachers and coaches in Texas before they moved to Arkansas in 1988. “When you do what you love, you never work a day in your life,” Elsie Rose said. Their mission is fulfilled every day. “Children’s lives are changed when you invest in them, What better job is there!” Elsie Rose said.


2013 WOMEN IN BUSINESS: MODERN WOODMEN OF AMERICA L . T. C L A R K Modern Woodmen of America People helping people achieve quality of life. As a fraternal benefit society, that’s what Modern Woodmen of America is all about. L.T. Clark, a Modern Woodmen representative in Conway, serves members, their families, and residents in and around the Central Arkansas area. Through a unique combination of business and voluntarism, the organization offers life insurance and annuities for family financial security as well as service programs and benefits for members and their communities. Founded in 1883, the organization was named in honor of pioneering woodmen who cleared forests to build homes and communities and provide security for their families. Modern Woodmen of America was created to clear away family financial difficulties. While its founding mission has remained, Modern Woodmen’s products and services have changed to meet the changing needs of today’s families. Based in Rock Island, Ill., the organization serves more than 750,000 members nationwide. L.T. is a lifetime resident of Faulkner County and currently living in Greenbrier. She is married to Barry Clark. Together they have 6 children (counting two son in laws) and expecting a grandson in November! She is a Certified Preplanning Consultant and has served on the Independent Living Services Board, Conway Human Development Volunteer Board, the Salvation Army, and Conway Noon Rotary Club Board. Before joining Modern Woodmen, L.T. worked for a local funeral home for over 10 years. Where she found a newfound passion to help give people the information they needed to be prepared and have peace of mind. L.T. Clark, Financial Representative 607 Harkrider St., Suite #4 Conway, AR 72032 501-733-1959 44WOMEN’S WOMEN IN BUSINESS • SPECIAL 44 INC. / SEPTEMBER 2013ADVERTISING SECTION

2013 WOMEN IN BUSINESS: STOCKS MORTGAGE INC. TRACY STOCKS The mortgage crisis of 2008 was not enough to defeat local mortgage broker Tracy Stocks, who lived to tell the tale and continue the operation of a successful local business beyond those rough-and-tumble years. Stocks, owner of Stocks Mortgage Inc., entered the field 23 years ago as an employee at Brinkley Mortgage Corp. in Conway. After seven years, what began as a part-time gig led to a full-time career for Stocks, who opened her own practice, now located at 1309 Main Street near the Faulkner County Courthouse. Stocks and husband Bill are residents of Vilonia and share two sons, ages 29 and 16; and a daughter, 18. Stocks is also president and founder of Make a Child Smile of Central Arkansas — a nonprofit organization established in 2001 to assist needy children. Stock’s mortgage business is full-service, offering conventional, FHA, VA, rural housing and commercial mortgages, fixed and adjustable rate loans and cash-out refinances. The bulk of her clients are returning customers and their referrals, she said. “I stayed busy a lot of the times that everyone else didn’t,” Stocks said, attributing her success to her ability to work with a greater selection of companies than the average bank. “And I work hard around the clock and on weekends, because I don’t get paid unless I close the loan.” Stocks said she chose to establish her business in Conway because of her love of the city’s people and its community. Her office is now home to four employees who all work to eliminate the stress of financing or refinancing a home. “I work really hard to always be prepared and get the loan ready to close in plenty of time,” Stocks explained. “Of course it doesn’t always happen that way, but I try to make my clients understand the process and put them at ease.” Information on her business, as well as a mortgage application and related tools, are available online at NMLS#140030 SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION • WOMEN IN BUSINESS 45

2013 WOMEN IN BUSINESS: SMOOTHIE KING LISA SCROGGINS Opening a smoothie franchise in Conway was a risky venture 11 years ago, when Lisa Scroggins decided to bring Smoothie King to the Conway community. The corporate franchise typically requires a minimum population of about 50,000 people, Scroggins said. In 2002, the only time that the population of Conway was at 50,000 was when all three colleges were in session. And that figure is how she convinced the chain to allow her to open the store. Back then, Scroggins was a frequent customer at a Smoothie King location in Little Rock, visiting the store “a couple of times a week” after school before heading to the mall with friends. Following her father’s retirement as a stockbroker at Stephens Inc. and a subsequent onset of boredom, Scroggins said she talked him in to investing in the company. “They were getting half of my paycheck anyway,” she said. Scroggins said she met her husband, Brent, a physician, on the first day the store opened. “He was actually one of my first customers, then he was there every morning. It took him about two months to ask me out, then he proposed two months later,” she recalled. The couple shares a daughter, age 7, and a son, 2. “It’s been an incredible ride,” Scroggins reflected. “And I actually really enjoy helping people achieve a healthier lifestyle. I enjoy selling a product that I know can help people.” The store’s smoothies are “function-based smoothies,” Scroggins explained, meaning each menu selection has a purpose — whether to help lose or gain weight, or to add vitamins, protein and supplements to the customer’s daily diet. The store also offers a variety of nutritional supplements, energy and vitamin drinks, coconut water and other healthy snacks. She attributed the store’s success to hard work and the solicitation of samples among the community. Scroggins estimated she hands out about 10,000 samples to area schools and businesses throughout the year. “Our home office has this motto of ‘sample, sample, sample,’ Scroggins said. “A lot of people don’t know what a smoothie is, or how something so nutritional can taste so good, so instead of handing them some coupon, we let them try our product and people are usually instantly hooked.” Scroggins said she is happy with her career venture and hopes to continue to cultivate a love of smoothies in the years ahead. “My overall goal in life is to help people achieve a healthier lifestyle and help them get active and enjoying life,” Scroggins said. Smoothie King is located at 985 Carson Cove, off of Prince Street, in Conway. 46WOMEN’S WOMEN IN BUSINESS • SPECIAL 46 INC. / SEPTEMBER 2013ADVERTISING SECTION

2013 WOMEN IN BUSINESS: HELTON’S WRECKER SERVICE & REPAIR S H E L L E Y H E LT O N - Y O U N G A N D B O B B I H E LT O N We’ve all heard the term “shade tree mechanic,” which so aptly describes the origins of Helton’s Wrecker Service & Repair. Helton’s began in 1963 under an old oak on Center Street, repairing vehicles to pay for our first wreckers. One of which was a 1956 GMC “Big Wrecker,” still part of our current fleet. When Helton’s comes to mind, most people think of Bill Helton. But as is the case with most long standing businesses, this is a family business. Bill and Bobbi have three children; David, Shelley (son-in-law Max Young) and Scotty; also two grandchildren, Karyn and Kyndell. All of which have worked at Helton’s throughout the years, along with extended family members. Bobbi’s literally always been “hands on” in the business, to the point of helping to install transmissions on the ground at their home before a shop location. As a child, Shelley would sand cars on which they did body work. Bobbi and Shelley have always been on the forefront. They kept records long before the computerized age and provided 24/7 dispatch, which literally meant sitting by the phone. Later, Helton’s moved on Dave Ward near I-40, which had the restaurant known as “The Lunch Box.” Bobbi delivered daily specials, which Shelley prepared. Each have pumped gas, checked oil, washed windows, and performed the previously required annual state vehicle inspections. Shelley used to measure fuel in the tanks for reorder and Bobbi “ran parts.” Helton’s launched the first cab service in Conway, which Bobbi and Shelley drove. Both have also driven wreckers and pulled cable at accident scenes to winch vehicles. They, and Karyn, have swept debris at accident scenes, wearing anything from high heels to simply being barefoot. Bobbi worked part-time at CRMC as a certified EMT and would often meet Bill at accident scenes. Helton’s has also always been very involved in community affairs. Helton’s is a long-standing Conway Chamber of Commerce member, Bobbi is a strong supporter of Renewal Ranch, Helton’s has also been a Charter member of the South End Zone tailgate supporters at UCA for 32 years. Helton’s has raised tens of thousands through tailgate party proceeds for scholarships in their partnership thru the Helton – Osburn – Spencer Athletic Scholarship for deserving student athletes. Helton’s is also a Toad Suck Car Club member, which awards scholarships from car show proceeds. Shelley was instrumental in the arrangements made for the painting and restoration of the pink fire truck for the Conway Fire Department in the Hearts on Fire campaign to support cancer patients. Over the years, we have laughed and cried, taking in stranded motorists and their pets. They’ve shared our table, home and attended Sunday services, becoming lifelong friends. Through the years, we’ve had trying and entertaining times but through it all we’ve “Always Been on Our Tows.” SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION • WOMEN IN BUSINESS 47

2013 WOMEN IN BUSINESS: EMERGE RENEE STONE Renee Stone, owner of Emerge in the Conway Towne Centre, had a specific vision in mind when she opened her boutique, but circumstances caused it to morph into something even more fitting. “I decided to open my own business and I wanted to sell daywear and cocktail dresses. I swore I would never do formals,” said Stone, who has competed in pageants all of her life. “Now formal wear is the bulk of my business.” Stone has been a pageant coach for over 10 years. She is the Director of the Miss Arkansas Merry Christmas Pageant and the Miss Arkansas USA Ambassador Pageant. She has won numerous titles, including most recently Miss Arkansas International 2004, Miss Conway 2005, and Mrs. Arkansas International 2011. I’m always around girls that are wearing formals; whether it’s pageants, prom, homecoming, charity events or even weddings.” “She said emerge has clothing for everyone from little girls up to women in their mid-70s. “It’s really broadened over the past seven years,” she said. “I’ve been able to learn what other people’s needs are and meet those specific needs. One of my missions in life is to help people along the way, whether it’s with their wardrobe, pageant lessons, interview skill preparation or modeling lessons, to help mold that person into whom they are today. Some people might come in and feel very self-conscious about needing a dress or outfit for a special event. We’re able to help that person feel comfortable and give a helpful and honest opinion. I’m not looking to make a sale; I’m looking to make a relationship.” She said women come from all over the state of Arkansas and from Texas, Alabama, Oklahoma and Missouri to purchase formal gowns, wedding and pageant attire for that special occasion. “A lot of people might think my target audience is girls going to prom or homecoming, but it’s not. I have little girl daywear dresses and pageant dresses as well, all the way up to daywear and formal wear.” She continued, “I feel like the clientele I have is because of my life here in Conway and what all I have been a part of and involved in. They feel like I’m someone they can come and talk to and relate to. I’m like the girl next door. I take a lot of confidence in people knowing they’re going to be taken care of when they come see me.” Stone’s mother works at the seven-year-old store with her, and that is very important, she said. “I love my mom and I feel truly blessed that God has given me the opportunity to work with her every day.” “When someone walks through the door, we don’t just treat them as a customer; they’re like family to us. I’m very thankful for all of the continued support especially all of my family, — if I didn’t have my family I wouldn’t have anything.” 48 WOMEN IN BUSINESS • SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

2013 WOMEN IN BUSINESS: SCROGGINS LAW FIRM FRAN SCROGGINS Attorney Fran Scroggins has been in Conway since 1996 and has practiced law for 25 years. She has been voted best attorney by Log Cabin Democrat four consecutive times in recent years. She said, “I do primarily family-related issues … divorce, child support, guardianships, wills … we’re your primary care attorney, like you would think of a primary care physician. We handle most of the things a family would be concerned with or need.” Scroggins graduated from Centenary College in 1973 and earned a law degree from Bowen School of Law in 1988. She worked with a firm in Little Rock and became a partner before deciding to open her own office in Conway. She is certified in domestic relations, juvenile, civil, probate, appellate, and also handles some education mediation through the department of education, she said. “My philosophy, as far as the business is concerned,” she said, “We try to address our clients’ needs. We try to work with the clients and find out what they need and want and try to provide services that will go to what their needs are. Often times they’re in emotional situations, whether they got served with divorce papers and weren’t expecting it, or if they’re dealing with a guardianship for an elderly parent. “We try to help them and guide them through those situations. We can make suggestions for other services that might help them, whether it’s counseling services for the elderly, home health or hospice, whatever things are available in the community. We try to work closely with the people and treat them like a guest in our home and not have an environment where people feel like they’re looked down on. “In a lot of firms, there’s fear walking in the door because (attorneys have) degrees all over the wall. We try to make them realize we’re people just like they are, and they have problems, maybe some of the same problems we’ve had, and we’re going to help them solve them. We try to provide quality services in a skillful and compassionate manner.” Scroggins is on the board of the Faulkner County Senior Citizens Center and the Friends of the Faulkner County Animal Shelter, a nonprofit group working toward establishing an animal shelter in the county. She serves with a coalition working to prevent domestic violence and is a certified mediator by the Alternative Disputes Resolution Commission. She added, “I’m a certified ad litum. I represent kids in certain domestic relations cases, guardianship cases, where the court feels the child needs separate representation.” Scroggins noted some of her clients have been with her since 1997 and continue to call on her services as the need arises. SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION • WOMEN IN BUSINESS 49

2013 WOMEN IN BUSINESS: STEVE’S AUTO TRACY GAFNER Tracy Gafner of Steve’s Auto is making her way in an industry that is primarily male-dominated. She and her husband Steve have been in business in Conway since 2001. The automotive repair, collision repair and wrecker service is at 280 Highway 64 East. Gafner said, “I handle the accounting aspects of our business and also work in employee relations. We like (the business) because we’re helping people. When someone is in an accident, or their car breaks down, we can make it less stressful and get them back on the road again. An automobile is one of the most important things we have, because it helps us get back and forth to work or wherever we need to go. We do everything from major auto repair to minor preventative maintenance, oil changes and servicing.” The couple formerly owned a business in Little Rock and moved to Faulkner County in the late 1990s before starting their existing business. “We’ve been in Conway since 1998, when Conway was just a small town. We’ve watched the community grow, and we’re thankful the community has helped us grow. We’re proud to be a part of Faulkner County. We live and work in Faulkner County, and we’re proud of our community.” She said there are very few automotive and wrecker businesses that are owned by women. “It took me a while to learn about the automotive business, but through the years I’ve learned more, especially about collision. I can provide an estimate the same as (Steve) can. All my employees at first have been apprehensive of working for a woman, but as they get to know me, they realize I know just as much as they do, especially about the collision and towing.” She noted the wrecker service can tow anything from small passenger vehicles to semi trucks and is licensed to haul equipment all over the state and into surrounding states. The collision repair service works on all makes and models, she said. Gafner said one unique thing she brought to the business was a new tow truck with pink lettering and a pink ribbon design in support of the Susan G. Komen Foundation. She said she designed the pink decals in memory of a cousin who struggled with cancer for more than eight years. “We’re not afraid to have a white truck with all pink lettering. We’ve been asked to bring it to some shows,” she said. “I’m real proud of that truck and what it symbolizes.” 50 WOMEN IN BUSINESS • SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION


SARAH MIDDLETON, TA M M I E B U R G E S S , D E B B I E T U L LO S , OLIVIA ENGI AND TINA ASHLEY Hair Works is a Paul Mitchell Signature Salon located in Downtown Conway since 1992 at 803 Harkrider St Suite 7 in Faulkner Square. You will find there is a variety of stylists at Hair Works with different talents, techniques and experience. These are the attributes that make Tammie, Tina, Olivia, Sarah and Debbie unique. They love what they do and contribute that to their success. Tammie Burgess, the owner of Hair Works started in 1993 under Judy Bass. The Vilonia native has spent 30 years as a stylist. Tammie said she “came into her own path” in choosing this particular field. Her point of praise, however, is for the other stylists working there. “They work so hard,” she said. We are very blessed and grateful that someone chooses to come into our salon, Tammie says. She believes having an Educator in the salon helps all the stylists to be able to keep up to date on the latest trends including coloring techniques, styles and haircuts. Debbie Tullos is a National Educator with John Paul Mitchell Systems. She has been at Hair Works for 10 years. It really is a second family, she said. Debbie is an artist whose goal as a stylist and color

specialist is to give her clients confidence that they look their best. She teaches her clients how to recreate the style at home. Debbie’s motto is “Ready to set you up for success.” Tina Ashley has been with the salon since 1995. Moving from Memphis, Tina said she was looking for a change of pace. “It’s amazing how much this business has grown in the years I have been here,” she said. “We are looking to grow more. We really want to tap into the college market, especially since Conway is such a great college town.” Olivia Engi has been with Hair Works for four years, but she has worked in the hair-styling industry since 1978. Olivia said she really likes the good fit that she has with the group, but she also admitted she is looking forward to retirement. Sarah Middleton is the newest addition, starting her career in May. She came to Hair Works after graduating from Imagine Paul Mitchell School. Everyone in the salon has been excited about her ability to bring the latest trends from her education. “I feel like I can do some things a little different,” she said. “Although we all work hard to make this business great, Hair Works is really about our customers,” Burgess said. If you are looking for a great new hairstyle, go to Hair Works and meet the right stylist for you. SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION • WOMEN IN BUSINESS 51



Leslie Marshall, owner of Bob’s Grill.

Women keep Downtown running By Rachel Parker Dickerson Photos by Brandy Strain Downtown Conway boasts a variety of occupations for business women, from business owners to bankers. Meet a few women who are making their mark.

Leslie Marshall Leslie Marshall, owner of Bob’s Grill, grew up in Conway with a familiarity with Conway’s oldest restaurant. She said the diner was started in 1959 by Bob Green, originally as the Highway 64/65 Café. It later moved to Chestnut Street and finally to its location on Oak Street. Marshall said, “I ended up working in restaurants. I had the personality for it. I kept getting promoted, quit school and worked my way up through management in corporate levels. When my kids got older, I didn’t want to work 150 hours. I quit for 11 years and was a stay-at-home mom. When my youngest went to college, I ended up right back where I started.” She took over the restaurant in 2004 and inherited all of its existing customers, which is a mixed blessing, she said. “A lot of my customers come in for breakfast and lunch seven days a week,” she said. “I wish I could say it’s because I’m the best operator and have the best food in town, but some of these guys have been eating at Bob’s Grill for 50 years. “It’s unique in that everybody knows everybody. They know the staff by name — their kids, when their birthdays are. We know everything about everybody. It’s like one big family. We laugh together and we cry together.” WWW.WOMENSINC.NET 53



Laura Grimes, chief financial officer at the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce and the Conway Development Corporation.

Laura Grimes Laura Grimes has worked five years as chief financial officer at the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce and the Conway Development Corporation. She grew up in Springdale, majored in accounting at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and moved to Conway in 1997 when she married David Grimes of American Management Corporation. “I feel like my work goes to something that’s great for the community and my family and kids, making this a great place to live. I really enjoy it,” she said. Last fall she was named Arkansas Business Chief Financial Officer of the Year for nonprofits.

“That was great. I was completely surprised. It was a really nice validation of my work,” she said. “My job has always been really important to me, and I try to do the best I can. To come in and work for the chamber and to be perceived as doing a great job just validates all my hard work. I was happy and proud to be representing our organization.” Brad Lacy, president of the chamber and CDC, said, “Laura came to the CDC and chamber during a period of rapid growth. This growth necessitated additional and more sophisticated financial skill sets. We are fortunate to have a CFO with the level of experience she brings. While she is the ultimate professional, she is a fun and caring team member and is highly regarded by her peers and our members.” WWW.WOMENSINC.NET 55



Carol Harrison, vice president of administrative services at First Security Bank.

Carol Harrison Carol Harrison, assistant vice president of administrative services at First Security Bank, has been with the company for 22 years, since it opened as First Community Bank. She assists the board of directors and Vice President J.B. Mobley. She said, “The thing I love most about my job is being closely involved with the board of directors. We have been together for over 20 years and I enjoy the friendships that have developed over the years.” Harrison volunteers with the Nursing Home Gift Fund of Faulkner County and serves on its board.

“As anyone who has participated in this wonderful organization will tell you, this is one of the most rewarding volunteer programs I have ever been a part of. Our mission is to ensure that all nursing home residents in Faulkner County receive gifts at Christmas,” she said. Bank President Johnny Adams said, “Carol has been a very valuable employee. One of the first employees of the original Community Bank, she has been at the bank for over 20 years. She has been a great employee and officer of the bank. She’s always very professional and great with our customers.” WWW.WOMENSINC.NET 57




‘The Unforgiving Minute: A Soldier’s Education’

Reviewed by Susan O’Keefe Craig Mullaney is an Army veteran. He’s also a scholar, and some would say an astute, detailed storyteller. His story begins at West Point. A red-faced domineering cadet is barking orders at Mullaney, one of 40 18-year-olds registering for basic training. Quickly, the fresh-faced teenagers learn the necessary vocabulary, key to surviving six weeks of grueling instruction. “Yes, sir; No, sir; and No excuse, sir” will suffice. Reciting these words will be the difference in annoying or satisfying a salivating commander. Eventually, the words could be the difference in life and death. As “The Unforgiving Minute” unfolds, Mullaney offers personal insight into his journey as son, soldier and scholar. From his unparalleled military training at West Point to a more relaxed pondering environment as a Rhodes Scholar, to a stressful service in Afghanistan, the book incorporates riveting accounts from many fronts. Chapters titled “The Price of a Salute” and “Purgatory” offer hints at the kinds of narratives Mullaney shares. Published in 2009, “The Unforgiving Minute” proudly finds a place on many universities’ required reading lists. The author and former Army captain is commended for his candidness. He recalls, at 24 years old, his notarized will and maximum coverage of life insurance all seemed routine. It was the Army. He was simply following orders. It was his turn to serve. With an idealistic mentality, Mullaney heads overseas for his post 9/11 tour of duty. Stationed in Afghanistan, he quickly learns there is no such thing as a “routine mission.” The unofficial military motto was, “Be polite. Be professional. Be prepared to kill everyone you meet.” The enemy could be a kid with a hand grenade or a trained terrorist faction. Mullaney describes the frustration as nearly paralyzing. Always on edge. Always ready for action. Always waiting for the other shoe


to fall in the colorless, stagnant, sandy place soldiers called home for months at a time. The book’s title stems from a deadly engagement with Afghani troops in 2003. Mullaney was leading his infantry rifle platoon close to the Pakistan border. Mullaney knew his men like the back of his hand. This one had two children. That one liked boxing. That one was from a coal mining town in Kentucky. This one hated spiders. His platoon was his family. In military lingo, there were phrases like “movement to contact, suppressive fire, and medical evacuation.” In layman’s terms, one of his men was dead. There was chaos and loud noise. For every bit

of adrenaline carrying his men on their mission, there was also fear and trepidation. Military missions rarely go as planned, according to the experts. In Mullaney’s split-second decision, a soldier died. “The Unforgiving Minute” not only pays homage to the victim, but also paints a painfully true picture of the price of war and its countless costs. Mullaney is the consummate pupil, willing to learn from his mistakes, even the deadly ones — the ones that repeatedly haunt him. Mullaney writes that for all the military did teach him, it disregarded the lesson on carrying bloody bodies out of rugged ravines. Soaked in blood, wounded bodies slip off stretchers. Mullaney says he was never concerned about shooting a machine gun before its barrel melted ... until it happened. It’s called real life, real time training, and the lessons were learned on the job, on the battlefield. Mentors are scattered throughout the book as Mullaney seizes the opportunity to glean from successful business people, high ranking officers and religious leaders. It seems he would most like to swap stories, however, with his father, but that relationship hits a dead end. Although it’s slow to ignite, romance eventually sizzles between Mullaney and an Indian woman he befriends at Oxford. Longing to share his war stories with her as well as his three siblings, Mullaney finds a slice of salvation in pen and paper. As his younger brother follows in his military footsteps and walks with the invincible swagger of youth, Mullaney freezes. How can he put into words what he can barely process himself? Again, the pen and paper offer respite. And finally, “The Unforgiving Minute” is born. Susan O’Keefe is a wife to Jack, mother to four children, and eager to face the crazy, awesome, fun things God delivers daily. She and her family recently moved to Oxford, Mississippi, where Susan will continue to read and review, instruct fitness classes, and embark on this next adventure in life.



By Dr. Patricia Knott


he best laid plans can go awry for a number of reasons, some catastrophic and some not. I would propose that one system in the body is more to blame, due to noncatastrophic reasons, for ruining a much anticipated event or work goal or social gathering than all the others. That system is the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. How many times have you headed out the door with only minutes to spare and had to make a detour to the bathroom? In addition to bowel and bladder issues, the problems of nausea and vomiting are included in the GI tract concerns One GI complaint seen commonly by physicians is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). It is a mostly chronic disorder which affects the large intestines but does not cause inflammation and does not increase your risk of colon cancer or cause permanent damage to the colon. It can often be controlled by making a few lifestyle changes. Signs and symptoms of IBS can range from mild to disabling. They may be intermittently worse or better and sometimes disappear altogether. The symptoms which occur with IBS are common symptoms for other disease processes and can vary from person to person, but some of the more common symptoms include: gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, cramping and abdominal pain. Picture the intestines as a system of muscular tubing with a coordinated rhythm of contraction/ relaxation which moves the food you eat from the stomach to the rectum. In the person with IBS, the contractions may be stronger and last longer or vice versa. If the contractions are stronger, this may lead to bloating, gas and diarrhea. If the opposite is true (the contractions are weaker), then hard stools and constipation occurs as stool passage slows. The definitive cause of IBS is not known, but the contractions play a part in the symptoms. It is also believed that people with IBS may have abnormal serotonin levels or are missing the right amount of good bacteria in the gut. Certain stimuli seem to trigger reactions in people


Living with IBS with IBS: • Foods such as carbonated drinks, chocolate, milk and some fruits and vegetables can worsen symptoms. • Stress can increase symptoms. • Women complain of increased symptoms during menstrual periods. • Gas can increase pressure on the intestines. Risk factors for IBS include age (usual onset is before 35 years) and family history (risk increases if you have a close relative who has suffered these symptoms). Women are more likely to have IBS than men. The complications associated with IBS are related to the symptoms, especially diarrhea which can lead to skin irritation, dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. Constipation with straining can lead to hemorrhoid development. As with most chronic conditions, the persons with IBS need monitoring for signs of depression. This condition complicates the person’s social life with friends and family which in itself may lead to symptoms of depression. The diagnosis of IBS is usually made by a process of elimination, but certain diagnostic criteria will be used by your physician to narrow the field of possible disease processes. According to the ROME criteria, a person must have abdominal pain and discomfort lasting a minimum of 12 weeks and must have two other symptoms from the following list: • straining or feeling of not emptying bowel completely • bloating or abdominal distention • mucus in the stool • change in the frequency/consistency of the stool Your doctor will take a thorough history and perform a physical exam. She may wish to rule out some more serious conditions depending on what she learns from the history and physical. If you meet the criteria of IBS without other worrisome symptoms, your doctor will begin a course of treatment. If you do not respond as expected, she will wish to proceed with further testing, which may include a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy (use of a tube with a light to look at the lower colon), CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis and blood tests to rule out diseases such as Celiac

disease, which may cause similar symptoms. She may also wish to test you for lactose intolerance. If your symptoms are mild, try making some lifestyle or diet changes such as increasing the fiber in your diet (but do this gradually in order to reduce chances of increasing gas and cramping). Try eating smaller meals to help control diarrhea. Avoid the foods that worsen your symptoms. Drink fluids, especially water. Carbonated drinks can cause increased gas, and drinks with alcohol or caffeine can worsen diarrhea. Use over-the-counter anti-diarrhea medicines or laxatives with caution as these can cause some problems of their own. Discuss these with your doctor before using them. Exercise helps to promote normal contractions of the intestine as well as a general wellbeing of body and mind. Take measures to control stress and seek professional help if needed. If your symptoms are moderate to severe, your doctor may prescribe fiber supplements and anti-diarrhea medicines such as Imodium. He may also prescribe medicines to reduce bowel spasms and to treat any depression. Antibiotics may help in cases of an overabundance of certain bacteria in the intestines. Your doctor may also advise stress counseling. Two drugs are available to be used specifically for treatment of IBS — Lotronex (for severe cases of diarrhea) and Amitiza (for those with constipation). These drugs come with strict guidelines for their use and Lotronex can only be prescribed by doctors who meet strict criteria. Though IBS can wreak havoc with your social plans, the good news is that among the people who suffer, only a small number suffer with disabling symptoms. Most people who make some appropriate changes to their lifestyle and diet have improvement in their symptoms. Patricia Knott is a graduate of LSU Medical School in New Orleans and is board certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. She serves as the Medical Director for Conway Regional Rehabilitation Hospital.





How to embrace a season of waiting By Andrea Lennon


aiting. It is one of the hardest things that we are called to do. Waiting is especially difficult when the outcome of the situation is unclear. Maybe we are waiting on a job offer, financial relief or news about a loved one. I will be the first to admit — I hate to wait! The disciples, Jesus’ earliest followers, had to wait. The setting of the story provides a great picture of waiting during uncertain times. Jesus had been crucified. He died and was buried. This alone unnerved the disciples. They thought Jesus would set up an earthly kingship, not endure a horrific death. Just as the Old Testament predicted, Jesus rose from the grave and appeared to more then 500 people, including the disciples. (1 Corinthians 15:1-6) After 40 days, Jesus ascended to Heaven, where He sits at the right hand of the Father praying for you and me. (Romans 8:34) Just prior to Jesus’ ascension, He gave the disciples clear instructions: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.” (Acts 1:4, New International Version) The gift was the Holy Spirit. Jesus knew that His followers would need the Holy Spirit to direct them, as well as remind them, of all the things they had seen and heard. The disciples followed Jesus’ instruction. They waited in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit. During this season of waiting scripture states, “They all joined together constantly in prayer.” (Acts 1:14) I often try and put myself in the disciples’ position. Unlike the disciples, we have the opportunity to see God’s story from a big-picture perspective. We are able to open the Bible and read a portion of the Old Testament about the coming Messiah. Then we can immediately turn to the New Testament and read about Jesus’ birth, life, death, resurrection and the development of the early church. To us, the story makes perfect sense. We see every prophecy fulfilled, every detail


with meaning and every bit of the story. I wonder if that is how the disciples would have described their experience? They knew the prophecies; but did they see them being fulfilled right before their eyes? They knew that Jesus was the Messiah; but did they understand that His kingdom was not of this world? Scripture indicates that there were times when the disciples did not see or understand what was going on around them. I can relate to the disciples. I wonder if you can relate too? Just like the disciples, we have certainties. We know that God loves us, that He has a plan for our lives and that He is always at work to accomplish His plan. These certainties are very real. However, they often occur in the midst of uncertain times. These uncertain times bring us to a point of decision. Will we trust Jesus and follow His word of instruction even when we do not understand what is going on around us? The disciples handled their season of waiting by turning to God in prayer. They knew that they had to wait on God to move in His way and in His time. Fretting, stewing, or over-planning would not change their circumstances. They had to wait. The bottom line on waiting is this: God uses times of waiting as a way to work in our lives. Waiting provides an opportunity for us to exercise deep faith in God — faith in His ability and willingness to move in our lives. Are you in a season of waiting? If so, do not wring your hands. Instead, fall to your knees. You can know that God is at work even when you do not see Him. He always has been, and He always will be! Andrea Lennon lives in Conway, Arkansas, with her husband, Jay, and sons, Jake and Andrew. Andrea ministers to the women of Arkansas through a speaking and writing ministry called True Vine Ministry. To learn more about this ministry, access Andrea’s website at


Steve Gardner Custom Homes recently worked with Conway homeowners on their French Creole themed home in the Village at Hendrix featuring reclaimed wood and brick throughout.

68 WOMENâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S INC. / SEPTEMBER 2013


By Rachel Parker Dickerson Photos by Courtney Spradlin A family in The Village at Hendrix recently built a home with a French Creole theme featuring reclaimed wood and brick. The family preferred not to be named, but the lady of the home, a Conway native, opened wide the door of the home she shares with her husband, who grew up in northern France, and their three teens. She joked easily about the cultural differences between herself and her husband: “We bring new meaning to French Country, because I’m as country as I can be, and he is so French. When we started dating he moved to Conway from North Little Rock and bought a house in St. John’s Place. He said, ‘I’ve moved to the village.’ It’s ironic that now we actually live in The Village.” Steve Gardner Custom Homes was the couple’s builder, and he presented them with a variety of themes to choose from. Once they settled on the French Creole theme, Gardner located custom materials for the home, including antique brick reclaimed from a warehouse in Little Rock and reclaimed barn wood from Pennsylvania. The homeowner said of the builder, “He was so easy to work with.” Antique brick in a herringbone pattern on the front of the home is punctuated by French doors. The front porch, also of brick, is lit by large gas lights. The home has a tin roof that overhangs the porch, where it is supported by sturdy wood beams. Inside, the eye is drawn immediately to the reclaimed wood used in the ceiling beams in the living room, along with a unique wood and iron chandelier in the room. A fireplace made of the antique brick with a reclaimed wood mantle is the perfect marriage of the home’s two special elements. The





homeowner placed an antique window made into a mirror on the mantle. The ceilings and walls in the living room are wood plank paneling painted white, bringing an additional layer of interest. An office just off the entry of the home can be closed off by a sliding barn door, acquired and expertly hung by the builder. The homeowner said, “I’ve collected pictures over the years, and I thought (the barn door) would tie in well with the look.” The office also boasts a half-bath that ties together antique brick and reclaimed wood. One wall is covered with brick. A basin sink sits atop a custom-made piece of wooden furniture, and a custom-made mirror hangs above it. Hardwood floors and black metal light fixtures with glass panels are used throughout the home. In the kitchen, one wall is covered with white subway tile. The homeowner chose a mix of cabinet styles — white upper and gray lower and island cabinets. She also chose some open shelving made of wood with an old-fashioned look, which, combined with antique-style barstools, bring her love of reclaimed wood into the kitchen. The kitchen countertops are white granite with purple flecks, and a double gas oven meets the family’s cooking needs. A wine refrigerator is installed in the island — a must for her “very French” husband, the homeowner said. In the master bath, a double steam shower with white subway tile is served with natural light by a few small windows close to the ceiling. White basin sinks, granite countertops and white cabinetry make for a clean feel. A window in the master closet pours more natural light into a space with custombuilt organization. The homeowner said the family has been settled for a couple of months, and they are happy. “The kids like it here. They use the gym at Hendrix and the walking path,” she added.





Accents offers a full range of beauty services Accents Salon, located at 690 South Salem in the Saddletop Center, offers not only the latest in hairstyles and products, but also a full range of services from manicures and pedicures to massage therapy. Dana Jennings opened Accents Salon in 1997 and has very recently sold it to massage therapist Sissy Collins. Jennings said, “I started a 450 square-foot salon with myself and one stylist. We have grown into a 1,600 square-foot, full-service salon with six stylists, two nail techs and two massage therapists. I have been standing behind the stylist’s chair for 30 years and thought it was time to do something for myself. I needed to have a little less stress, so I thought it was a good time to sell. Sissy has worked for me for about a year and is going to take Accents Salon to the next level.” Collins said, “I joined Dana’s team last year and have felt so honored to be a part of such a great team of women. When she first hired me she took me back to the shampoo room and read me the motto

Sissy Collins


for the salon. It said ‘come as clients, leave as friends.’ That truly is how the atmosphere is at Accents, and that’s why I wanted to be a part of it. So naturally, when she came in one day talking about selling, I jumped at the opportunity.” Collins said the other massage therapist at Accents, Savannah Baker, was voted one of the county’s best massage therapists for 2013. “She and I both share the same philosophy about massage and feel we have both been blessed with a gift of healing touch,” Collins said. “We want to know where your pain is and use different techniques and modalities to relieve it along with recommendations for a complete balance of strengthening

ACCENTS SALON 690 S. Salem, suite 306 Conway, AR 72034 501-327-8191

Our warm and welcoming atmosphere at Accents Salon, will have you feeling satisfied, refreshed, and apart of the family. With 30 years of experience, we specialize in hair care for everyone in your family, and walk-ins are always welcome! Our services include hair care, manicures, pedicures, and massages for an all around relaxing experience, with full satisfaction guaranteed! Call us today, and ask about our special offers!


beck when you book two facials. late appointments are available.

K2K SALON 740 S. SALEM RD., suite 103 Conway, AR 72034 (501) 764-1097

At K2K we consistently strive to make our guests feel pampered, nurtured, and beautiful! We are Conway’s only Oribe and Bumble and Bumble Salon, maintaining the industry’s highest standards. While specializing in Women’s Hair Care and Nail Care, we also accept walk-ins. So come visit Kristy Fruits at K2K Salon, today! Women’s Inc. Readers’ Choice Award Winner for Favorite Hair Salon & Stylist!

and stretching. We have a wide array of clients, some just seeking relaxation and some with sports injuries or job-related pain. Whatever our clients are seeking from their session we strive to provide a therapeutic and relaxing experience.” She noted the business has incorporated monthly specials, which allows customers on tight budgets to add massage therapy to their healthy lifestyles. “I have focused on keeping everything running as smoothly as before, but want us to be known as more than just a hair salon. We want to fulfill the needs of all our clients, creating a place of rest and relaxation, whether it’s a haircut, massage or a mani-pedi,” Collins said.

help our clients feel lighter in spirit, with increased mobility and an overall sense of wellness.

SALON ELEVEN 1027 Front Street, suite 1 Conway, AR 72032 (501) 205-8624

Be more than a ten! Our stylists are owner Erica Wickliffe, DeShay Poe, Becca Lawson, Kacey Barton and Corey Short. We are always up to date on the latest hairstyles for men and women. All stylists are color specialists and do highlights and extensions too. We also offer facial waxing and shellac and manicures. Call today for an appointment!


2125 Harkrider Conway, AR 72032 (501) 327-2301


803 HARKRIDER, SUITE 13 Conway, AR (501) 548-9987

With 12 stylists to fit any and all beauty needs or wants, and the professional haircare for any style, cut or color to be perfect for you, jo la ru salon and retail center takes pride in offering a relaxing atmosphere. Feel like the most important person while being pampered. Everything they do is for you. services include hair care, skin care, nail care, some spa treatments, self tanning products and a retail section. services are offered to men, women and children, and walk-ins are welcome. owned by brad heston, special offers include a $5 lip wax with any chemical service for new clients. You can also receive 50% off your first facial with jennasyn

7 Medical Lane, Suite A Conway, AR 72034 501-205-1908


Oasis Massage Therapy is neither a spa nor salon. We focus on one thing; specializing in providing the best bodywork possible. We offer a variety of techniques in a professional, relaxing environment with ample parking and flexible hours. The website allows you access to our schedule 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Simply sign-in, select the service you require, the staff and time. You will receive an immediate confirmation and a reminder the day before. At Oasis our goal is for our clients to leave stress free and with reduced pain. We love what we do. We combine compassion and nurturing touch to

Solutions Day Spa 1130 Pats Lane Conway, AR 72033 (501) 329-9000

Our goal at Solutions is to pamper and promote wellness through the benefits of true relaxation. Serving

Faulkner county for fifteen years in haircare, manicures, pedicures, massages, facials, body wraps, waxing, cosmetics, electrolysis and cellulite treatments. Solutions also carries jewelry to complement every individual style. Spa Packages make a great gift for a friend or loved one. Solutions invites you to come relax with us in our recently remodeled Day Spa.

STUDIO SKIN 1016 OAK STREET Conway, AR 72034 (501) 358-4653

Located in Conway’s Historic Downtown. Studio Skin offers corrective skin care treatments, provided by our Aesthetician with 11+ years experience in the medical field supervised by a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Studio Skin also offers all injectables: Botox, Restyline, Juvederm, Radiesse and Boletoro. All injectables are provided by a Registered Nurse who has been doing these treatments for 8 years. Our studio also offers hair services with a staff of 5 hair stylists always up to date on the latest styles, color, highlights, and extensions. Other popular services offered at Studio Skin: Full body waxing, shellac manicures and pedicures, personalized airbrush tanning, eyelash tinting/ perming, and a boutique full of unique jewelry, handbags, and gift ideas as well as top of the line professional skin and hair care products such as Moroccan Oil, Kevin Murphy, Keratin Complex, Glo Minerals, Skinceuticals, and Theraderm. WWW.WOMENSINC.NET 77







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86 WOMENâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S INC. / SEPTEMBER 2013





Run United targets childhood obesity By Rachel Parker Dickerson The United Way of Central Arkansas will hold the first-ever Run United 5K at Oct. 5 at Tucker Creek Trail. Funds raised through the 5K will be used to fight childhood obesity in central Arkansas. Maret Moore, executive director of the United Way, said the idea for the 5K run/walk came from an intern who worked for the nonprofit over the summer. The fundraising activity is actually part of the United Way’s annual Day of Action, which is in June. Moore said because the weather in June is generally too hot for outdoor activities, it was decided to postpone the run until October. Moore said statistics on obesity rates for children and the population as a whole are still not good in Arkansas. “We thought we would try to fight childhood obesity by getting kids involved in sports,” she said. “We found out a lot of kids can’t even purchase shoes. Hopefully we can raise enough that we can give quite a bit of money to buy sports equipment.” She said the funds will be given to schools in the nonprofit’s coverage area to be distributed to children in need. Moore added supporters need not run or walk to support the cause, as there will be a virtual competition and a virtual winner. “Not everybody wants to run or can run, so we did a run, walk, wheel, and a virtual,” she said. “You can decide, ‘I just want the T-shirt. It’s a worthy cause.’ And you don’t have to run. It’s $25 for the day of the event to be a virtual runner. You can put together a virtual team, and we’ll have a virtual winner.” 90 WOMEN’S INC. / SEPTEMBER 2013

Brian Renk, a recent graduate of the University of Central Arkansas, was the intern with United Way who had the idea for the 5K. He said, “A lot of involvement comes from what people can get out of something, so I thought why not have a race — something they can participate in and give at the same time. I really wanted something that would affect the community and younger kids at the same time. “The greatest impact you can have is when they’re younger kids. We wanted to affect obesity in younger kids so those good habits will follow them into later life. We’re trying to get whole families out there for a fun run. We’re raising money to buy athletic equipment for schools that can’t afford those things. A lot of kids can’t buy cleats or equipment. They want to participate, but they can’t buy (equipment).” To participate in the 5K, pick up an entry form at the United Way of Central Arkansas office in downtown Conway on Oak Street, or go to United Way will also kick off its 2014 campaign on Sept. 12, and the campaign will be at high school football games throughout the season selling raffle tickets for a chance to win a Ford F150. Three winners will receive prizes and have a chance to kick a football into the bed of the truck at the UCA game on Nov. 9, Moore said. “There’s a lot going on,” she said. “We impact such a large part of our community that we would love a large part of the community to give. One in three people get services from United Way, but one in 10 give, so we need to change that.”

Women's Inc. Sept. 2013  
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