Welcome to Beyond the Bank

By on Feb 3, 2016 in People | 1 comment

In this blog, we’ll explore the people and events that make the area of the country served by Simmons Bank such an interesting place to live, work and play. Our writers will be on the road across Simmons Country in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Tennessee to find stories of interest. It might be a successful high school football team. It might be a restaurant that has been operating for more than 50 years. It might be a volunteer who is considered the heart and soul of his or her community. We hope you find the stories fun to read, and we solicit your feedback.

Hot Springs Couple Sees Dream Come True With Community Radio Station Pizza Brewery Combo

By on Mar 17, 2017 in Business, Entertainment, Food | 0 comments

In 1999, Zachary Smith was sitting in a coffee shop eating and listening to other underemployed daytime philosophers think about media consolidation, conversation and ideas, and good food when he had an idea. His vision was to house a cafe and a community radio station under the same roof. While Smith traveled the world building skills, the idea stayed on the back burner. Smith and Cheryl Roorda, married in 2002, will see the vision come to life early this summer when they open SQZBX, a brewery and pizza joint in Hot Springs, Ark. The restaurant will be in the same historic building as solar powered community radio station KUHS-LP Hot Springs, 97.9 FM, which the couple has operated with Low Key Arts since 2015. “It was really just a dream,” Smith says. “But now almost 20 years later, here we are.” The building is downtown on Ouachita Avenue. On one side is the broadcast booth and some...

Longtime Union City Superintendent in Final Semester of Career

By on Mar 1, 2017 in Education | 0 comments

Gary Houston can relate to what the members of the Union City High School senior class in Union City, Tenn., are going through.  They’re counting the days before a major new period in their lives, and Houston is doing the same.  Houston announced in late 2016 that this would be his final school year after serving as superintendent for 20 years.  “I know what those seniors are experiencing,” he says. “It’s the reality of the second semester starting and knowing you won’t pass this way again.”  Houston, 65, has worked in education for 43 years, including 39 as an administrator. His wife retired from the district as a high school English teacher three years ago.  “People sometimes talk about athletes staying in a sport too long,” Houston says. “I don’t think I’m there yet, but I don’t want people to say, ‘Is that old man still there?’ We’ve accomplished some really good things. I say ‘we’...

Nashville Title Company Owner Sticks With Family Tradition

By on Jan 30, 2017 in Business, Real Estate | 0 comments

There wasn’t much doubt which profession Chris Corriveau would pursue. Corriveau grew up in Florida surrounded by family who were involved the real estate title business. His father and stepmother owned a title company and aunts and uncles were also involved in the industry. “That was kind of what we always talked about and did,” Corriveau says. “Our family reunions were super boring because all we talked about was real estate stuff. When I was a kid, I was at the office late at night working and making copies. It was just natural I moved into this line of work.” Corriveau has put those decades of experience to work in Nashville as the owner of Midtown Title. He has been the sole owner of the company since 2006 and also has an office in Franklin and Murfreesboro, Tenn. “It is gratifying, but it is a lot of hard work,” he says. “It hasn’t come easy or fallen into my lap. It is because...

More Than 200 Attend Simmons Bank Agri Summit

By on Jan 27, 2017 in Business | 0 comments

More than 200 farmers and other agriculture professionals turned out for the second annual Simmons Bank Agri Summit on Jan. 25 at the Pine Bluff Convention Center in Pine Bluff, Ark.  Those in attendance could visit with vendors at their booths, attend various programs and eat barbecue at lunch. “We’re proud to sponsor this event,” said Tommy Jarrett, Simmons Bank’s community president in Lake Village, Ark. “We finance more than 280,000 acres and are the largest agriculture lender in the state. We take a lot of satisfaction in that.” Richard Brock of Brock & Associates, one of the top agricultural marketing consultants in the country, served as the keynote speaker. Brock is the publisher of The Brock Report, a 20-page weekly commodity newsletter. “Richard Brock is a big deal in the ag world,” Jarrett said. “There’s nowhere else in southeast Arkansas you’re going to get to hear...

Fishing Lure Created Livelihood for Arkansas Angler

By on Jan 23, 2017 in Business, Outdoors | 0 comments

When Jeff Smith wheeled a shopping cart full of handmade lures into the Elkins, W.Va., Walmart store in the spring of 1998, he had no idea his life was about to change. Smith, a teacher at the time, had local anglers talking about a trout lure he had made with the help of a friend, Todd Gainer. After realizing there was strong demand for the lure, he made arrangements with the store to sell 544 packs. “I called them later, and they said they had sold out and needed 1,000 more,” Smith says. “We were making them in my garage and packaging them in my back bedroom. We were not ready for what happened the next few weeks because every store in the region wanted them. We had no way to make them as fast as we needed to. It almost put me out of business before we started.” Smith overcame the initial hurdles and founded Leland’s Lures. He eventually relocated to Searcy, Ark., where he attended...

Manning Shares Love of Football at Little Rock Touchdown Club Banquet

By on Jan 20, 2017 in Events, Sports | 0 comments

On a night when the Little Rock Touchdown Club celebrated the achievements of high school and college football players, it couldn’t have picked a better speaker to capture the spirit.   Former University of Mississippi and NFL quarterback Archie Manning, who now lives in New Orleans, shared his football story during the club’s annual awards banquet Thursday. The Little Rock Touchdown Club, recognized as one of the best organizations of its kind in the country, is sponsored by Simmons Bank. Former University of Arkansas player David Bazzel, the club president, told the almost 500 people in attendance that no one has had more impact on the game than Manning. The Drew, Miss., native was a legendary performer at Ole Miss and had a 14-year NFL career, finding individual success while playing most of that time for the hapless New Orleans Saints. His impact continued well after his...

A Q&A With Wichita Extended Stay Hotel Pioneer Jack DeBoer

By on Jan 13, 2017 in Business, People | 0 comments

Jack DeBoer’s first business venture came at age six in Kalamazoo, Mich. He sold pansies door to door on Saturdays. By the time he was a teenager, he was in the real estate business.  After graduating from Michigan State University in 1952 and serving two years as a military police officer during the Korean War, his business career took off. In 1966, DeBoer began building apartments. He built 16,000 apartments in 25 states by 1973. Two years later, DeBoer invented the extended-stay hotel concept in Wichita, Kan. Residence Inn was born and had grown to 103 properties by the time DeBoer sold it to Marriott in 1987. He then developed the Summerfield brand and sold it to Hyatt in 1995. His Candlewood brand was sold to the InterContinental Hotels Group in 2003. In June 2002, DeBoer founded the Value Place chain of extended-stay hotels. It continues to expand with 225 locations.  DeBoer, 86,...

Abernathy’s Harley-Davidson Going Strong After 50 Years, Leading Nation in Polaris Sales

By on Jan 6, 2017 in Business | 0 comments

Russell Abernathy Sr. was a master salesman. The motorcycle dealer in Union City, Tenn., chose volume over retail pricing. In the late 1960s, Abernathy Cycle’s commercials could be heard across the Midwest as they ran on Chicago radio stations. As a result, the store in rural northwest Tennessee became one of the nation’s largest Honda motorcycle dealers. Russell Abernathy II, who’s better known as Tootie, continues the tradition his grandfather Clarence began in 1956. Abernathy’s has sold a variety of brands through the years and is now the top-selling Polaris dealer in the nation. “He was an intelligent man, but I don’t think he knew it would blow up to be so big,” the store’s general manager, Curtis Campbell, says of Russell Abernathy Sr. Tootie Abernathy has used the same price-reduction philosophy his father used to push Polaris vehicles out the door. The dealership sells 2,000...