Daddy Warbucks

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John Lewis was right: Mary Beth Brooks is a winner

Daddy W. remembers the sage advice offered by the late gravelly voiced John Lewis. “Someday everyone will know what I see in Mary Beth Brooks,” Lewis said on July 22, 2005, when he named Brooks as his successor to the community minded Bank of Fayetteville. She is a winner. And someday all the state of Arkansas will recognize her for her unique ability and work ethic toward banking and it won’t be long,” Lewis said to a friend following the public announcement.
Prophetic words that ring true from the former CEO of the Bank of Fayetteville.
John Lewis, you see, knew leadership when he saw it. He was a good judge of character, individual drive and could sense those in the community who really cared for the community. Daddy W. misses Lewis every time he lumbers across those hardwood floors at the Block Street home-base location of the Bank of Fayetteville.

Arkansas’s leading financial/business publication,recently named Brooks as its business person of the year. That really came as no surprise. Since taking over the reins at the Bank of Fayetteville, Brooks, has been moving the institution and the Fayetteville community forward in a era when more and more down-state mega banks and mega bankers than ever are moving into the Fayetteville/NWA market. Surviving in this climate has been no easy task. But Brooks hasn’t just kept the  Bank of Fayetteville surviving, she has propelled it to thriving. It’s all about community, leadership and caring about the customers. John Lewis set the standard. Mary Beth Brooks and others carry it forward.

WHERE’S THE PARKING
Daddy W. is no engineer but he’s guessing that about half of the parking around the downtown square (at least on one side) will be gone once the renovation project is completed. The renovations can’t possibly leave as much parking with the wider sidewalks. The new scheme of things looks like it’s going to eliminate the parking around the Old Post Office building.

FARMER’S MARKET

With the square renovations underway, has any one really asked the question: Will the Square be ready for the soon-to-be-opened Farmer’s Market? Let’s hope so.

MORE QUESTIONS

Have any of the city hall reporters been asking if the “late penalty payments” on that big gaping hole in downtown Fayetteville been paid lately? The last that Daddy knows of the penalty checks was paid back in December, for the month of November. Have there been any payments since? Inquiring minds really want to know. Also, has anyone checked on what the hotel partner is saying these days? Isn’t it time the downtown eyesore is screened and the owners prompted to cleanup the area instead of using it for parking and equipment storage?

DUCATS RISE
Yes, Hog fans, football ticket prices are on the rise, a $10 per seat rise for 2008-2009. It seems hard to believe that the price of instate game tickets is lower than some of the “premium grid programs.” Ticket prices in Alabama and Tennessee, for instance, are much higher. Of course if fans wanted, the Vandy ticket prices $25, could be in vogue here and the team could be just that good too.

CLARION ON TOP

While renovations are ongoing at The Cosmopolitan hotel in downtown Fayetteville, the Clarion Inn edged the multi-storied Cosmo out of the top spot for December revenue. The Inn at Carnall Hall was No. 3, followed by the Hampton Inn at No. 4 and the new Courtyard by Marriott at No. 5.

ANOTHER REQUEST

Yes, Virgina, another convenience store has asked for a retail beer permit. The By Pass Mini Mart at 2817 N. Highway 112 has filed an application to sell beer. These convenience stores (that allow charges with national gas credit cards) can get into the credit card charging of beer, pretzels and gasoline, all on one ticket. And hey, this outlet sits right next door to a liquor store. Go figure.

OPENING SOON

The Highway 112 Drive-In is slated to open later this month. Daddy W. has said this more than once: The theater is one of the last successful drive-ins in the state, if not in the south. It just works in this quirky community and it seems to work well.

NUTS, A LAYOFF
It was quite unsettling to see Mr. Peanut (Planters Corporation), start some voluntary one-week lay offs at the plant in Fort Smith.  The 80 workers idled were said to be laid off due to harvest and supply issues. Another lay off is expected in March. The old econ professor says these are the prerequisite to larger and long layoffs yet to come.

A&P FOR DEC
The Fayetteville Advertising and Promotion taxes collected for December are finally out. The top 10 restaurants in order: Chartwell’s Dining, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Chick-Fil-A, MacDonald’s on 6th Street, TGI Friday, Golden Corral, Shogun, Logan’s Roadhouse and Noodles.

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