Fayetteville Startup Natural Way Completes $1 Million Capital Raise

February 24, 2021


Arkansas Heritage Food Hall of Fame

NWA Daily (The Hive at 21c)

If you haven't noticed, we like talking about food. Not only the new and upcoming places, but what are some of the iconic, local spots that our parent's clammer on about? Well, last night, Arkansas Heritage announced the winners for the 2021 Arkansas Food Hall of Fame.

  • The Arkansas Food Hall of Fame is celebrating its 5th year of recognizing "unique foods legendary restaurants, remarkable cooks and influential food entrepreneurs" across the Natural State. Northwest Arkansas had several winners and several finalist this year...
  • Some other notable restaurants that were included as finalists: AQ Chicken House of Springdale; Herman's Ribhouse of Fayetteville; Neal's Cafe of Springdale; and the Tontitown Grape Festival as Food-themed event.

If you want to read more about the iconic restaurants that were nominated outside of our beautiful region, you can find them all HERE.


NWA Office Market is Moving in a Different Way

NWA Daily

In a recent report from commercial real estate firm CBRE Group Inc., NWA's office leasing market has slowed, particularly for second-generation buildings. However, newly constructed office buildings in the region are seeing very few vacancy issues.

  • “In Washington County, this can be attributed to occupiers requiring larger footprints or more efficient footprints. In Benton County, we attribute this to occupiers desiring newly constructed buildings with increased available amenities..." said David Erstine, VP at CBRE. Talk Business & Politics
  • In an overview of the market in 2020, CBRE reported a 12.26 percent vacancy rate among nearly 50 buildings in Bentonville, Fayetteville and Rogers.
    • Bentonville: Near the end of 2020, Bentonville’s vacancy rate remained fairly steady, slightly increasing from 17.11% in 2019 to 17.78%. The city has a total of 13 Class A buildings, adding up to nearly 836,000 square feet.
    • Fayetteville: Last year the city saw a negative net absorption which increased from 3.23% in 2019 to 7.21% at the end of 2020. The city has 12 Class A buildings totaling about 583,000 square feet.
    • Rogers: At the end of 2019, the vacancy rate jumped from 7.55% to 11.06% at the end of 2020. The city has 21 Class A buildings totaling 1.37 million square feet.
  • Springdale is not included in the report because “historically there has been little to no sizable [Class A] office demand or supply for the Springdale market," said Erstine. Talk Business & Politics

12.26%: vacancy rate of Class A office buildings across NWA


Fayetteville Startup Natural Way's Growth is Nuts

Natural Way Food Group, founded in 2017 by Austin and Quinn Simkins, is a Fayetteville-based startup that manufactures, sells and distributes sustainable nut butter products that are sold by Amazon and select Walmart, Whole Foods, Safeway/Albertsons, Sprouts, Central Market, and Harps stores.

  • Armed with a secret family peanut butter recipe and a passion for health and sustainability, the Natural Way brand offers the first and only nut butters on the market today made with olive oil, a healthier and more sustainable alternative to palm oil, which currently dominates the shelves and can be devastating to the environment.
  • This is nuts. The group is announcing it has secured $1 million from investors to accelerate its continued growth. The capital raise was led by Tusk Private Investment, a private investment firm with offices in Dallas and NWA, focused on investing in and supporting top-tier operators in high-growth businesses.
  • “This capital raise will allow Natural Way Food Group to invest in all facets of our business”, says co-founder Austin Simkins. “We feel great about our current product portfolio and retailer partnerships." Austin continues, "We are excited to be able to expand distribution and deliver more healthy and sustainable products to market. We are also focused on investing in people, filling important positions and expanding our already great team.”
  • “Founders Austin and Quinn Simkins have developed a leading category product that tastes exceptional and is both healthier for you and better for the environment... Natural Way is truly representative of the type of businesses we’re looking to invest in”, said Aaron Pierce of Tusk Private Investment.

See the full release HERE. To shop delicious products or to find a provider near you, head over to Natural Way's website for more information.

Health & Wellness

'Vaccinate the Natural State' Coalition Announced

On Monday, Feb. 22, the "Vaccinate the Natural State" coalition was launched with the intention to educate Arkansans about the COVID-19 vaccine and encourage employers to take a pledge promoting the vaccine to employees.

  • The initiative will be led by Blue Cross President & CEO Curtis Barnett and will include partnerships with the Arkansas Department of Health, Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care, the Arkansas Minority Health Commission, the Northwest Arkansas Council, UAMS and Walmart.
  • The campaign will kick off in March and will focus on two main areas: business-to-business engagement and community engagement. “Vaccines are marvels of medical science, but they cannot work unless enough of us do our part and accept them when it’s our turn,” Barnett said. Talk Business & Politics
  • Because the pandemic has already highlighted the state’s and nation’s health disparities, individuals will be reached with targeted information about the vaccine, encouragement to be vaccinated, and access to vaccinations, Barnett said.
  • Barnett ended the conference by saying it's understandable to be confused and overwhelmed by vaccine information, but it would be unfortunate to let fear and misinformation allow the pandemic to rage on and claim even more lives. Talk Business & Politics

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