On Oct. 12, Searcy held the official ribbon cutting ceremony for a new shopping center, located less than a mile from Harding’s campus. Searcy Mayor David Morris, President of Capital Growth Buchalter Robert Buchalter, and Harding University President Bruce McLarty spoke at the event. The shopping center is positioned on Beebe Caps Blvd., and will have direct visibility from U.S. 67/167. Stores plan to open between the summer and fall of 2018. Future shops confirmed include Hobby Lobby, TJ Maxx, Ulta and Petco. Mayor Morris described this as a “win-win” for the city.
“A development of this size obviously will bring a lot of people and draw a lot of people from all outside the area into town to shop,” Morris said.
Capital Growth Buchalter, a development company from Birmingham, Alabama, is overseeing the project and will conduct all construction.
Jason Garcille, a representative from Capital Growth Buchalter, said that the shopping center will offer residents of Searcy and White County greater availability to retailers both as consumers and potential employers.
“This is creating a lot of good opportunities for people to go to work,” Morris said. “They’re talking about around 300 new jobs.”
Caleb Russell, lifetime Searcy resident and senior at Harding, said that he is excited to see the business and people the shopping center will bring to Searcy.
“Anytime you have big name brands come in, it encourages people to come and shop,” Russell said. “And it just brings a lot of new money, new wealth into the town.”
This will also be a great opportunity for businesses already in Searcy to get some new revenue.
“Any time you get people into town to shop, it helps everyone,” Morris said. “If they can’t find what they’re looking for at that development they’ll go shop at other retail outlets in Searcy. It also brings people into town that normally are hungry when they’re here, so they visit our local restaurants. They also buy gasoline while they’re here. So it’s good for our community.”
The construction that will be going on in the coming months is only phase one for this project. Phase two, which will include a Dick’s Sporting Goods, will begin soon.