Daddy Warbucks

Smaller means more B-I-G business

Especially on car lots
In yesteryears there was an advertisement about learning to play the piano. It started something like this. “My friends began to laugh, but as I sat down and started to play, they were amazed.”
Daddy W. well remembers when former big car Kent Dobbs left the family’s big-size car lot and embarked upon a new smaller car venture in Springdale. Many of his sales buddies in the car business laughed at him. “Who would by those ratty little four cylinder Korean made cars,’ one big car guy hooted.
Well the worm has turned.
Not only has Dobbs and others specializing in smaller, more economical cars taken a big part of the NWA auto market, they are making the big boys scramble. And scramble, they are scrambling.
The big three carmakers are in the throes of a near meltdown. High gas prices and the focus on the carbon footprint and the tightening of the finance market have a near chokehold on sales. And while some used car dealerships seem to be booming, those big SUVs and gas-guzzlers are landing on these once-owned lots. But will anyone ever buy them? Families who want a big SUV to haul all the kids and the family dog around simply can’t afford the fuel to power the rolling behemoths. And as it must be said. Poor folks spend the most on fuel. Those in poor states like Arkansas drive the most. But little car guys are indeed playing the competition these days, if only for a little while.

The big Central Arkansas gas pipeline project planned to get all the Fayetteville Shale gas out and into the existing gas transmission lines all over the eastern side of the state will cost closer to a billion dollars than the $500 million that was projected earlier. It’s a shot in the arm for the smaller, less populous counties mid-state and on the eastern side of Arkansas.

Folks in Fayetteville dream (like Conway did) of landing a big name employers like the computer firm Hewlett Packard, which just announced that folks near Conway will get a shot at some really nice jobs. But there is no big slush fund of city, chamber or private money here in NWA (where all the riches are) to do such a last minute settlement. Folks down in Conway, quietly put up their money with some help from the state and got the jobs. Someday, someone will finally do this here. But when? After all the good jobs and companies with good jobs are gone?

Look out! The State of Arkansas is about to spend $450,000 to re-configure parking around the state capitol to add, get this, 400 more parking spaces. This is in the same space as before, but somehow it’s going to be possible to park more cars there than are currently being parked in that same area. Sounds like a program Fayetteville needs to implement, now doesn’t it? Sadly thought, is this is a program that will not work?

Looks like the word out of Starbucks World will be bad for those wanting more Starbucks outlets in Northwest Arkansas. The Starbucks chain has announced it will close 19 percent of all its U.S. stores and most of those to be shuttered will be those that opened after 2006. That puts most of the NWA stores in jeopardy. The 600 stores will close so that the older more established stores can begin making more of a profit. The closure means that 12,000 Starbuckers (employees) will hit the bricks. The announcement helped the stock price, which like the coffee market, has been sinking since 2006.

Small business owners in Fayetteville took a hit this week when councilman Nancy Allen announced that she is not seeking re-election. Allen, a business moderate and advocate for less city intrusion into the city’s business climate, has apparently had enough. She and Mayor Coody were often at odds over the role of city staff.

Categories: Features