Written by Caroline Birdwell and Tiane Davis | Photo by Julianne Baker
Warehouse 4 will host their grand opening Feb. 21, with soft openings on Feb. 17 and 18.
The cafe — based in Dayton, Ohio — has been under construction since spring 2021 and has changed grand opening dates several times; however, there have been several soft openings to preview their baked goods and lattes.
Owner Ben Neely said when he purchased Warehouse 4 in Ohio in 2015, his original vision was to expand to have several shops in Ohio.
“Although at the time, a shop in Arkansas was not part of the plan, we are so excited to be able to bring what we have created in Ohio to Arkansas to serve the Harding and Searcy communities,” Neely said. “We are very blessed to be able to have this opportunity and work with Harding on it, and we can’t wait to give back to Harding as we strive to grow the business.”
Last week’s winter weather sent Harding students searching for things to do, so Warehouse 4 decided to have their second soft opening on Feb. 4. They announced through an Instagram post that there would be baked goods, lattes and drip coffee for all to enjoy from 9 a.m. to noon.
“The snow day opening was something we didn’t even consider until 9 p.m. the previous night,” Warehouse 4 manager Makayla Jones said. “It was a last minute decision we had made after hearing about the multiple closed businesses due to the snow storm. We not only wanted to get our name out, but we wanted to be present for the students of Harding during all of those closes.”
Freshman Bailey Moore is currently training to work at Warehouse 4 and was able to work during the snow day.
“It was a total spur-of-the-moment decision, but it was really worth it,” Moore said. “It was fun to get to work as a big crew, and it was even more fun to have customers inside for the first time [in a while].”
Sophomore Gabriella Fields went to the Warehouse 4 preview on Feb. 4.
“My friends and I met for brunch on the snow day, and it was amazing,” Fields said. “The bacon, egg and cheese biscuits were great. I’m glad that we now have a breakfast option on campus with a variety of pastries and alternatives to coffee. I can’t wait for it to open for normal hours.
Junior Meleri York is also training to work at Warehouse 4 and said the cafe has a lot to offer customers.
“Customers can expect a variety of great drinks, pastries [and more] and a drive-thru, which is very exciting,” York said. “It looks [kind of] bare in there right now, but it also has a unique look to it, which I love. It is very open and looks like it fosters community to me.”
Jones said opening the new location in Searcy has brought a few challenges, especially with staff traveling between Arkansas and Ohio.
“Our district manager and operations manager have been traveling back and forth from Dayton to Searcy to train our staff,” Jones said. “I actually moved to Searcy at the beginning of the year to get this place up and running.”
Moore said she is looking forward to the grand opening.
“I’m so excited to finally open up and start having steady customers,” Moore said. “I really think Harding, and Searcy as a whole, is going to love Warehouse 4, and I think they’re bringing some really fun stuff to town.”