Last updated on June 28th, 2016 at 03:57 pm
Springdale, Arkansas-based Harps Food Stores has released more details on changes the employee-owned chain will make to nine Walmart Express properties it acquired in June, including opening dates, which stores will close and when job fairs will be held to staff others.
Three of the acquired stores are located in Missouri, in Anderson, Seligman and Noel. The other six are located in Gravette, Gentry, Prairie Grove, Cedarville, Mansfield and Charleston, Arkansas.
Four of the nine stores will open as Harps over the next several weeks: Gravette on Aug. 3; Seligman, Aug. 10; Anderson, Aug. 24; and Cedarville, Sept. 7. These stores will open with fuel stations but will not have pharmacies.
The former Walmart Express locations in Gentry, Prairie Grove and Noel will not reopen, Harps said. It will market them for sale because it already has projects in the works or nearing completion for existing locations in those communities.
Harps said that it acquired all nine locations because the larger portfolio of stores made it a better deal. In addition, the equipment inside the stores it purchased may be used in other locations.
In April, the chain purchased a 30,000-s.f. building at the northeast intersection of Highways 59 and 12 in Gentry. The facility includes 23,000 s.f. of vacant space as well as an existing O’Reilly Auto Parts. A $3 million project is under way to remodel and convert the space into a conventional Harps store that will include a bakery/deli and produce and meat departments.
There is a similar situation in Prairie Grove, where Harps recently completed a $1 million-plus remodel to its existing store at 319 East Buchanan Street.
In Noel, Harps is finalizing plans to remodel and improve its existing store at 210 West Main Street. Work will begin later in the summer and is expected to be complete in early fall. The store will remain open during the work.
No decision has been made regarding the Charleston and Mansfield stores, the company said.
Harps said it needs to hire approximately 170 people to staff the stores that are opening in Gravette, Cederville, Gentry, Seligman and Anderson. It held a job fair this past Saturday for the Gravette store, and others are planned for July 9 in Seligman, July 23 in Anderson, Aug. 6 in Cedarville and Aug. 20 in Gentry.
In addition to these projects, Harps also is working on new stores in Vilonia, Arkansas, and De Soto, Kansas, that are expected to open this fall.
Next year, Harps plans to open a Pocahontas, Arkansas, store that will replace existing locations in Lincoln and Green Forest, Arkansas.
Harps employs more than 3,900 people and operates 79 stores in Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. It is the largest employee-owned company in Arkansas and the 30th largest employee-owned company in the U.S.