Written by Bailey Ridenour // Photo by Macy Cox
The Searcy Regional Chamber of Commerce announced during the Dec. 13 Searcy City Council meeting tentative plans for new developments within the county that included familiar chains, such as Texas Roadhouse, Whataburger and Old Navy.
Whataburger will be located on 3900 E. Race Ave., according to Searcy Regional Chamber of Commerce President and Chief Executive Officer Buck Layne in a Daily Citizen article published on Dec. 21. The exact address for Texas Roadhouse has not yet been determined according to the article.
Dalrymple Real Estate was the company behind the new Searcy City Center that added big names like TJ Maxx, Hobby Lobby and Five Below in November 2021. As Searcy grew, Dalrymple worked to add to its plans at the shopping center with Old Navy.
“Well, Searcy is the biggest city in White County, so I think it is only going to continue to boost [business interest],” Jose Colunga, a broker at Dalrymple Real Estate, said. “When they’re [big names such as Hobby Lobby] starting to invest in Searcy and see Searcy growing, that’s generally a good trajectory for the city and keeps people coming back.”
An Old Navy — that has yet to open — has been built next to Five Below in the Searcy City Center. Colunga also said there may be more expansion of the Searcy City Center past these chains, but negotiations were still underway.
It was no surprise that Searcy locals and Harding students were ecstatic at the possibility of new restaurants and shopping opportunities.
“I’m gonna lose all my money at Old Navy,” senior Hayden Bailey, who grew up in Searcy, said. “I think it’s really cool how Searcy is growing. It’s something I’ve thought about, like moving away and coming back to visit in I don’t know how long. It’s going to be a lot different, bigger and nice, [but] it doesn’t feel like it’s moving out of the small town vibes, which I like.”
Warren Spillman, a Harding alumnus who works as an admissions counselor, also focused on the growth that Searcy has seen in his years living here, as well as what it could mean for future Harding students.
“I think that growth is a good thing, it’s an encouraging thing, both for those who call Searcy home and also for students who may not be permanent long-term residents,” Spillman said. “All of us here at Harding understand the community aspect of it. That’s really what we love about this place, is the tight-knit community relationships we have. But, obviously, someone who isn’t here yet and is maybe looking at Harding and Searcy as a potential home, any additional things we can add whether businesses, restaurants, shopping, I think it’s a positive thing.”
There are no official opening days released for the developments, but announcements are to be expected as Searcy officials receive more information and confirmations.