Love where you live

Published 2:35 pm Sunday, June 18, 2023

By Hunter Cloud

“Love where you live.” 

That is a slogan my dad’s company Hello Local used in my hometown of Springdale, Arkansas and a fair representation of my dad’s life in Northwest Arkansas. He has always done something involving business whether it be marketing for Mississippi based lighting firm Curtis Stout, HP Engineering, owning his own marketing consultant business, owning a small local retail shop or working as a loan officer. 

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One of the first stories I ever wrote was for my high school paper about the rejuvenation of Downtown Springdale. Similar to Brookhaven, Springdale’s downtown was walkable, beautiful and a great place to interact with people. 

However, downtown Springdale had its issues. Shiloh Creek was routed into a culvert taking away a scenic gathering place for people and businesses. Property owners left buildings to rot and crumble away, which can happen anywhere. 

When my dad started his consulting business he found an office in downtown Springdale. He had a vision the downtown area could be reborn and over time it eventually did thanks to a supportive mayor and local businesses investing. I would hate to read the story I wrote then. Everything they planned to do downtown seemed to come to life. Shiloh Creek was allowed to flow naturally and in the open with a riverwalk type promenade. Buildings were restored and new construction came in.

By my junior year in college, I returned to NWA to work during COVID and got lost downtown due to the changed landscape. I will admit I can be a bit bitter about going home. Everything has changed so much and the area continues to grow. It has stopped becoming a chicken town and progressed to a booming business center. 

My dad is still involved in the community there. He loves where he lives and currently serves on the planning commission. 

This Father’s Day I think about how much he loves the community, people, my family and me. I also think about how I can apply his example here in Brookhaven. 

While Brookhaven is slow to change I do feel there is a renewed spirit here. Businesses are opening, moving and growing and I’m sure it is just the beginning. One of my favorite things about Brookhaven is the downtown area and how people have returned to invest in the buildings here by opening shops and restaurants. 

The entrepreneurial spirit is not limited to downtown. It would be great to see the old Piggly Wiggly turned into something new and our local businesses in the area to succeed and keep growing and innovating. 

I’ve been fortunate to tell stories about high school athletes, about the outdoors and The Dart subjects. I have also enjoyed sharing stories about businesses in my dad’s hometown and hope it helps people to “Love where they live.”