Five local business owners recently received grants to help with interior and exterior renovations to their downtown locations.
The money is received through the Downtown Conway Improvement Grant in relation to Main Street Arkansas, a preservation-based development program that works to preserve historical downtown districts.
Each recipient received $1,000.
Fat Daddy’s Bar-B-Que, located on the corner of Oak and Court streets, opened Oct. 27, 2016, the restaurant’s third location in Arkansas.
Mallory Lanford, with Fat Daddy’s, said they put about $1 million toward the whole renovation and remodeling project including both the inside and outside of the former Rogers Building.
“We just loved the location of this building specifically,” she said.
Lanford said the goal of bringing life back into the downtown Conway area has been successful with the large amount of traffic they have seen since opening.
Another grant went to Sporty Runner owner Don Starr, who said his business has been downtown since 1999, long before Conway’s growth truly hit the town.
Starr said they renovated the outside awning and added lights to the exterior to brighten up the storefront.
Being downtown, he said, is beneficial to the business and helps them connect with the community instead of the lack of personal relationship strip malls can have.
“Being downtown really gives our business an at home atmosphere,” Starr said.
Leflers Fashions Inc. recently put in an awning in the back of the store to attract customers who park in the back lot and enter that way.
Owner Marty Lefler said with the new restaurant — John Daly’s Steakhouse — opening up soon and the city putting in street lights between the buildings, there would probably be new foot traffic in the alleyway behind the shops.
“We felt like there would be a lot more pedestrian traffic,” he said. “We just wanted to be more aesthetic to what the city is trying to do. It’s obvious they’re dressing up the alley and we really wanted to try and do our part.”
Charlie Crossman at Crossman Printing, with the help of Covington Roofing, redid their canvas awning outside the shop and put in a new metal awning that would hold up better. He said he feels the new addition has also helped attract more customers.
“It’s definitely an upgrade,” Crossman said.
Gary Jiles at Millar Jiles LLP Attorneys at Law said they were also able to replace their awning to freshen the building’s look up a bit.
Around five years ago, he said they renovated a lot of the outside.
“A lot of people have complimented us on the exterior improvements,” Jiles said.
To date, four business in a row on Front Street — Crossman Printing, Wyck’s Place, Millar Jiles LLP Attorneys at Law and Edward Jones Investments — that has given grants for renovation.