Busy Bankers

March 31, 2021

Business

How Did NWA Restaurants Fare During the Pandemic?

NWA Daily

It's no secret that the pandemic has wreaked havoc on all facets of life and changed just about everything we thought we knew about public health. A recent review of sales tax revenue data for Arkansas restaurants provided insight into how the industry adapted to disruptions brought on by COVID-19.

  • Sit-down and fast-food restaurants experienced declines of 10.2% and 4.8% in sales tax revenue from March to December 2020. The worst came early on, as sit-down restaurants experienced sharp declines of 23.2% in March and 27.2% in April in sales tax revenues. Fast-food restaurants experienced sales tax revenue declines of 20.0% and 18.6% in the same months.

  • Fast-food restaurants bounced back rather quickly - May and June saw only low, single-digit declines in sales tax revenue. By July, fast-food restaurants saw a strong increase in sales tax revenue. Sit-down restaurants never quite recovered.

  • NWA restaurants saw their fair share of challenges, too. Sit-down restaurants saw consistent declines in sales tax revenue during the pandemic. July and October brought a glimmer of hope as revenues improved slightly, but sank again in November and December.

  • NWA fast-food restaurants showed no sales tax revenue growth from May to August (consistent with other parts of the state), as they saw mostly mid single-digit tax revenue declines from May to October. However, they did experience strong double-digit growth in sales tax revenue in November and December. -Walton College
  • Read the full report HERE.

Real Estate

NWA Mortgages Boomed in 2020

NWA Daily

The NWA housing market is hot, hot, hot! In 2020, mortgage financing was up 83% (13,159) in the area, brought on by record-low interest rates, no doubt.

  • A new report from Attom Data Solutions shows lenders issued over 13,000 mortgage refinances in the Fayetteville-Rogers-Springdale MSA (metropolitan statistical area) last year. The final quarter alone witnessed over 4,000 refinances. That was a 79% increase from the same quarter in 2019.

  • According to data pulled from Matrix (used by the Northwest Arkansas Board of Realtors), home sales in NWA increased nearly 13% in 2020 from the year before. NWA also saw a steep increase in new home mortgages — up nearly 10% (more than 8,600).

  • This comes as part of a larger movement across the state and country. Home refinancing boomed in Little Rock, North Little Rock, and Conway jumping to 77% (13,840) last year. The Fort Smith metro surged as well, increasing 52% (3,336). Seattle saw the largest gains, with home refinances climbing 71% in 2020. -Talk Business & Politics

You can read the full report HERE

Health & Wellness

UAMS Pilot Program to Help Resolve Health Disparities

NWA Daily

Britni Ayers, an assistant professor in the College of Medicine at the Community Health and Research Department at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in NWA, is in the process of creating a pregnancy pilot program with focus on Marshallese women.

  • Using a community-engaged approach, Ayers is working with UAMS Marshallese health care staff to research Marshallese prenatal health, birthing, breastfeeding and infant feeding practices.

  • Ayers is creating a novel "centering" pregnancy pilot program to help resolve chronic maternal health disparities experienced by Marshallese women.

Listen to the full story on KUAF.

Events

Artosphere Festival Returns

NWA Daily

Some of our favorite events are returning to NWA this year, including the Walton Arts Center’s Artosphere Festival! The event is intended to celebrate art and nature and is scheduled to take place May 6-23 at venues across the region.

  • “On the heels of the pandemic, we thought this was the perfect opportunity to lean into the ‘art in nature’ element of the festival,” said Scott Galbraith at the Walton Arts Center. “Therefore, in addition to our popular Trail Mix, we’ll be presenting in three different cities an outdoor theater piece that will comply with current health and safety protocols.”

  • The event will be headlined by the popular Trail Mix series of concerts in Fayetteville and Bentonville on May 21. Performers include Papa Rap, Melody Pond, Block Street Hot Club, Jayme Stone, Smokey and the Mirror, and Bike Zoo.

  • Film Festival: The Artosphere Film Series will also return this year. The event will include screenings of FernGully: The Last Rainforest, The Boy and the World, Mia and the Migoo and Welcome to the Space Show May 15-16 at Walton Arts Center.

  • For more information, or to purchase tickets to individual performances, visit artospherefestival.org. Art Heist will go on sale in April, but most other shows are on sale now. View the full schedule HERE.

COVID-19

Don't Throw the Mask Away, NWA

NWA Daily

Arkansas will not extend the state mask mandate at the end of this month - meaning masks will no longer be required starting April 1, 2021, starting at midnight, said Governor Asa Hutchinson.

  • Governor Hutchinson is confident that the state's numbers of hospitalizations and new cases are below the criteria he set to lift the mandate. This comes after national health experts advised elected officials not to ease up on restrictions. Dr. Anthony Fauci said "we are doing things prematurely." -40/29 News

  • Some business owners in NWA would prefer their customers to continue as is, at least for now.

  • Springdale Mayor Doug Sprouse said the city will let businesses and entities decide for themselves if they would like to mandate masks in their places of business. "If someone doesn’t comply and they won’t leave, they can call the police and we’ll assist with that," he said. -KNWA/Fox24

  • Still not vaccinated? The Fayetteville Board of Health, Experience Fayetteville, and Northwest Health will be a hosting COVID-19 vaccine clinic on Friday, April 2 at Fayetteville Town Center for those eligible to receive the vaccine in Phase 1A -1C priority groups. Sign up HERE. Washington Regional is also offering COVID-19 vaccination appointments to qualifying individuals, sign up HERE.

Subscribe to receive our daily newsletter

We deliver a succinct newsletter on a daily basis to keep you up to date on what's happening in NWA. These emails are sent directly to your inbox every weekday morning, so you can easily and quickly get the information you need about your hometown.