SHARP COUNTY, ARKANSAS (KAIT) --Sharp county has a reputation for primarily being a recreational area centered around Hardy.
Tonight, it's doing its part to reject the recession.
Recently several new businesses have opened in the area.
Some "are" connected to the tourist industry--but, as I found out, not "all " of them!
Within the past several weeks several new businesses have opened in the Hardy, Highland, Ash Flat area.
I visited with a couple of those folks and they say they have plans to stay for the long haul.
Greg Bess owns a business in Hardy, he also is the president of the Sharp County Economic Development Group. Bess said the area is attracting those people who are getting ready to get out of one career and consider another.
"We're also seeing a world of people who are coming here to visit for that tourism vacation time and who are also looking at where they are gonna be in 5 years or so. "
His description fits the new owners of the Frontier Motor Lodge perfectly.
The Schuldhizes, Richard and Diane, retired and decided to buy some property here, namely the closed Frontier Motor Lodge, and un-retire.
Diane Schuldhize told me that when they first looked at the motel it was out of thier range.
"We weren't quite ready to retire, so when we first looked into it it was a little pricey for everything that needed to be done. "
Having come out of the motel business in Nevada the Schuldheizes recognized the area's potential and finally were able to buy the motel which had been closed for nearly 5 years.
Getting it up to speed took some cash and lots of elbow grease.
They had to put a whole new roof, replace some ceilings, some of the floors, painting inside and out. Diane and Richard also added some homie looks and Hi-Tech to each room.
They added a breakfast room, quilts on the beds, cable TV and wifi..it's modern retro.
Another new business open in the Ash Flat, Hardy area is Lynda's Place Market, selling either home grown or locally produced fruit and vegetables.
This is a family-run store with Lynda Wilkerson, her husband Mike and son Justin doing all the work.
They used to have a stand in Hardy where they built up a reputation, now they have a store just outside Ash Flat.
Wilkerson says they saw a need when the empty store became available. "We've done this for about 25 years off and on and this area needs something like this where folks can come in and buy fresh home-grown produce. "
They also have plans for when the weather turns cold and the supply of produce goes away. It too will be unique to the area.
Wilkerson, "Couple months we'll put in the fresh fish. Go down to the coast get the fresh fish, shrimp, crab, flounder,oysters in season. And this fall we'll have the live catfish. "
I asked both the Wilkersons and the Sachuldheisz how their business had been so far.
"More than better, great."
"It amazes me with everybody talking about the negative economy, how well we are doing."
Another big push in the region is the ongoing search for people that can move to the area and bring skills in such as surveying, and land management and construction.