Hardy: an economy based on the river

HARDY, AR (KAIT) – Hardy is a town filled with unique shops, camping sites and tourists, and this time of year is one of the busiest.

"The primary source is tourism both the downtown area but primarily the river," said business owner Jeff Klein.

"We're a recreation area, we're a tourist area, we're a place to live a place to retire," said Mayor Nina Thornton.

Thornton said while they have a little bit of everything sometimes they have a little too much.

"The flooding always has a huge impact because it does flood up into our park area, into our camper park and it cuts off the roads," said Thornton.

The flooding from April and May shut down parts of the town for weeks.

"Typically this river, when it floods, it's very short it goes down in matter of hours or at the most days," said Klein.

"It comes up and it goes down fairly fast so it comes up devastates and leaves," said Thornton.

Klein owns Three Rivers Outfitters and said sometimes just the thought of the flooding river can impact his business.

"They feel like the river may still be up and I think many people don't plan to come here because they're actually afraid it is up," said Klein.

Mayor Thornton said Hardy has that small town appeal when it comes to businesses as well.

"If you bring in the factory you have 300 people that work at the factory.  If the factory goes out you have 300 people unemployed," said Thornton.

That's one of the reasons she prefers small business.

"If you have a small business, a small entrepreneurship with two our three people working there or up to ten and for some reason you have to go out of business that's what you lose," said Thornton.

"I feel really good as the mayor to be able to know that my community is a thriving community," said Thornton.

Mayor Thornton said she has recently been in talks with the mayor of Cherokee Village about an advertising and promotion tax that Hardy has had in place for several years.  Now those in Cherokee Village are considering a similar tax after seeing the good it is doing for Hardy.

Thornton said they also focus on building up their infrastructure in town so they have a good foundation to build on.

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