EL DORADO, Ark. (KTVE/KARD) — A neighborhood market will soon be coming to East Hillsboro Road with an expected completion date of by the end of the year.
To those passing by, this building may look like a lost cause but its potential is far greater that what they eye can see.
“No one will recognize it in a month based off of our construction plan,” Owner of Empire Properties, Greg Williams said. “It’s going to look modern. It’s going to look like a new building. It’s going to look really good.”
The visionaries behind this project are Greg Williams and Markeith Cook. Williams had the initial idea of the project and bought this building last month which used to be an old glass shop.
“When I was looking at this thing, I really saw a diamond in the rough,” Williams said in a live video posted to Facebook last week. “I was at the point early in the process where I didn’t want to buy this building because it was a situation where I felt overwhelmed.”
That’s when Williams called his now business partner, Markeith Cook, who saw his vision, encouraged him to pursue that goal and then told him he would help him with it.
“Teamwork makes the dream work,” Cook said in the video.
There are many phases to completing the upcoming neighborhood market.
Cook found a local contractor and the team started tearing parts of the building down just last week to make for better visibility for customers driving in and out of the parking lot.
They also cleared out the inside and now they are working on putting up a new roof on the building which will be a two week process.
Following that, they plan to reface the front of the building with new windows and of course a nice logo.
Williams and Cook went to Memphis Monday to talk with a business owner and get questions answered on the best way to make this store successful.
They’ve already purchased 30 refrigerator coolers to fill the store.
Right now, Williams doesn’t have a name for this new store but even those who haven’t been in the planning phases of the project can see its vision.
“Oh, it’s a big need because we have nothing here,” Betty Arnold said.
Betty Arnold, 66, has been living in a home off of East Hillsboro her whole life. It’s been about 15 years since that side of town has seen a grocery store.
Then, it was the hub for those living in that area who needed quick items or just needed a store within reasonable walking distance.
“I’m glad about it and I know my neighbors are glad about it. I can walk. I may even run,” Arnold said.
Williams’ goal is for the store to feature fresh produce and fresh meats but he doesn’t want it to come from store vendors he wants it to come straight from local farmers.
“I would love it if there are some farmers out there that have produce and are looking for produce instead of selling it on the side of the road,” Williams said. “I think it will present a great opportunity for me and those potential vendors.”
Arnold and Williams both agree having access to fresh foods in an area where its so limited is just what residents need.
This project aligns with his goals of trying to redevelop Hillsboro Road. The headquarters for his business, Empire Properties, is located further west on Hillsboro.
“We’re really targeting commercial building along east and west Hillsboro. We want to buy those buildings. We want to renovate them and we want to start businesses that fit a big need,” he said.
This is partially what inspired Williams’ vision with this grocery store. He also owns a liquor store just up the road from where the store will be located. That area of town is home for him and where his heart belongs.
If you’re an area farmer and looking to expand your business, you can contact Williams at 870-639-8058.