Downtown Walnut Ridge making a comeback with 'Invest in Your Dream' program

WALNUT RIDGE, AR (KAIT) – The first business to take advantage of Downtown Walnut Ridge's "Invest in Your Dream" program has opened its doors.

In September of 2011 a new program was started in Walnut Ridge. This program would allow new businesses wanting to come into downtown Walnut Ridge occupy buildings at reduced rent for several years. Within the past couple of weeks Art & Culture has been providing a tasty treat to residents and visitors.

Charles Snapp who owns the building located on Abbey Road took the 85-year old shell and prepped it for a 21St century building. Yogurt shop owner Danny West said then they took over the project.

West, "Charles and his team got the building basically structurally viable. " West pointed around the finished building. "Brought the electrical service to the walls, finished the ceilings and everything else."

West had always thought an upscale yogurt shop would work in downtown. Charles Snapp said the program was perfect for West. "We hook up people with dreams and a vision with property owners." Snapp said.

Carrying on farther than just a yogurt shop, West is renovating the store next door. In the next couple of months more seating will be installed and a cappuccino bar.

"We'll be exhibiting art from about half dozen local artists." West said."That will be decorative and also for sale. That's the "art" and "culture."

Charles Snapp said all of his building space is currently occupied but there are other buildings that are available and Snapp says those owners would be willing to work start-up businesses.

On Main Street windows are decorated with peace symbols and flowers in anticipation of the Beatles on the Ridge celebration coming up next Month. Joshua Dement is getting his windows painted and paused from his work as a financial consultant for Modern Woodmen to speak with us.

"I didn't know about the dream program." Dement said. "We were looking for a building for our business, this building came available and it was a good location for us."

Any new business is good for a town with sales tax and jobs. West said the Investing in your Dreams program gives a new owner a chance to form a business any way they want to.

"It works very well. " West said. "It also brings back a lot of that charm to downtown that we have been looking for,  for many years."

If you have a dream about owning your own business click on the link with this story to the Walnut Ridge Chamber of Commerce for more information.

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