Best of Arkansas 2021 – Arkansas Times

Dancing Trousers

Bitching and moaning is what we do best at the Arkansas Times lately, but sometimes you have to don rose-colored sunglasses and cheer yourself up with a trip to the snow cone shack. Even the most entrenched misanthropes among us can admit there are some fine people doing delightful things around here (shout out to Arkansas’s 2021 best budtender, Buffy Montgomery!), and that perhaps that’s cause enough to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Arkansas’s pathetic vaccination rates could suck anyone into the doldrums, but the annual Best of Arkansas edition is a well-timed shot in the arm.

The readers have voted, and you have pretty good taste. Sen. Joyce Elliott is indeed the best Arkansan. The Van, which supported the dignity of our homeless population even through the pandemic by helping them secure essentials like clothes, food and toothpaste, deserves accolades and support. Discovery’s reign as the best gay bar should not and has not been challenged. 

We peppered some of the winners with lightning round Q&As, and were happy we did. Actress Jamee McAdoo shared what it’s like to dip a toe into the pageant scene and wind up winning the tiara. Designer Kelley Kolletis tipped us off to the color of the year and even told us how to not mess it up. TV meteorologist Todd Yakoubian offered up a dad joke tragic and endearing enough to make the whole state groan. 

The editors here have favorites, too, and we took the liberty of fleshing out readers’ nominations with a few of our own. Food editor (and best author nominee) Rhett Brinkley picked Arkansas’s best peck of pickles on a road trip to visit Blytheville’s own Mr. Davis Pickles. A former preschool teacher who bounded into the pickle-making arena after sampling his own mother’s recipe and finding it wanting (savage!), Dedric Davis pickles whatever he pleases, rules be damned. Turkey bologna? Hot dogs? Sure, pickle them, why not? And his cucumber-based concoctions are equally innovative. Can’t decide between dill or bread and butter? Let Mr. Davis Pickles blow your mind with a combination of the two flavors, all in one jar.

Our most elusive editor, Lindsey Millar, gives up the secret location of his clubhouse with a story about Natural State Treehouses, a Fayetteville-based business that can make your childhood dreams come true.

And culture editor Stephanie Smittle combines encyclopedic knowledge of the Little Rock music scene and her signature balletic prose to remind us why the White Water Tavern, our favorite phoenix, will always rise to the top of any best live music venue list.

The mosquitoes are biting and a dark virus cloud seems to have settled over the state like we’re the Addams Family or something. But if it’s the end times, might as well enjoy them. So binge watch “The Mysterious Benedict Society” courtesy of Little Rock’s best newly famous writer, Trenton Lee Stewart. Affix some faux lashes from Beauty & Beyond to look your most fly on the voyage to the hereafter. Drop in at Colonial Wines and Spirits (“best booze to go”) and provision yourself to offer up a proper farewell toast. It’s summer vacation’s (and maybe even Western civilization’s) last gasp. Let’s break out the good stuff.

Make your next pickle your best pickle with Mr. Davis Pickles
Meet the cucumber king of Blytheville.
by Rhett Brinkley

Wigging out
Beauty & Beyond is a cosmetological wonderland.
by Austin Bailey

Change of the guard: White Water Tavern reopens under new ownership
Same White Water Tavern, but slightly cleaner.
by Stephanie Smittle

Natural State Treehouses makes dreams come true
Fayetteville contractor Josh Hart is riding high during a treehouse boom.
by Lindsey Millar

Trenton Lee Stewart’s ‘The Mysterious Benedict Society’ is an enterprise in emotional memory
The Little Rock author, whose beloved middle-grade novels spawned a new “Disney Plus” adaptation, specializes in riddles, puzzles, mazes and daydreams.
By Jordan Hickey

Very short Q&As with Best of Arkansas winners

Heather Brown
Dr. Kent Covert
Sen. Joyce Elliott
Kelley Kolletis
Jamee McAdoo
Jeff Nichols
James Willis
Todd Yakoubian


Bike trail

Arkansas River Trail

Finalists: Mt. Nebo State Park Monument Trails (Dardanelle), Northwoods Trails (Hot Springs), Pinnacle Mountain State Park Monument Trails (Roland), Slaughter Pen (Bentonville)

Cheap date

Pinnacle Mountain State Park (Roland)

Finalists: Arkansas Skatium, Kenda Drive-In (Marshall), The Rail Yard, Riverfront Park 

Family attraction

Little Rock Zoo

Finalists: Brady Mountain Recreation Area on Lake Ouachita (Royal), Little Rock River Market District, Loco Ropes (Mountain View), Petit Jean State Park (Morrilton)

Golf course

Rebsamen Golf Course

Finalists: Burns Park Golf Course (North Little Rock), Country Club of Little Rock, Pleasant Valley Golf Course, Red Apple Inn & Country Club (Heber Springs)

Gym/place to work out

10 Fitness

Finalists: 365 Fitness (Conway), Gravitas Martial Arts (Conway), Jolly Bodies, SparkFit

Hiking trail

Petit Jean State Park (Morrilton)

Finalists: Devil’s Den State Park (West Fork), Emerald Park (North Little Rock),

Pinnacle Mountain State Park (Roland), Rattlesnake Ridge Natural Area (Roland)


Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa on Lake Ouachita (Mount Ida)

Finalists: Brady Mountain Resort & Marina on Lake Ouachita (Royal), Eden Isle Marina on Greers Ferry Lake (Heber Springs), Heber Springs Marina on Greers Ferry Lake, Shiloh Marina on Greers Ferry Lake (Higden)

Outdoor attraction

Garvan Woodland Gardens (Hot Springs)

Finalists: Buffalo National River, Little Rock Zoo, Loco Ropes (Mountain View), Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort (Hot Springs) 


Two Rivers Park

Finalists: Allsopp Park, Burns Park (North Little Rock), Murray Park, Pinnacle Mountain State Park

Place to canoe/kayak/tube

Buffalo River

Finalists: Caddo River, Little Maumelle River, Little Red River, White River

Place to swim

Greers Ferry Lake

Finalists: Buffalo National River, DeGray Lake, Lake Hamilton, Little Rock Racquet Club


The Lodge at Mount Magazine (Paris)

Finalists: Gaston’s White River Resort (Lakeview), Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa (Mount Ida), Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort (Hot Springs), Red Apple Inn & Country Club (Heber Springs)

Weekend getaway

Eureka Springs

Finalists: 21c Museum Hotel (Bentonville), Gaston’s White River Resort (Lakeview), Hot Springs, Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort (Hot Springs)

Local Entertainment



Finalists: Guy Bell, Matthew Castellano, Lisa Krannichfeld, Katherine Strause


Nate Williams

Finalists: Big Dre, Gene Berry, Michael Brown, Jason Willey

Country band/artist

Bonnie Montgomery

Finalists: Cliff & Susan (Susan Erwin and Cliff Prowse), Lucero, Bree Ogden, Salty Dogs

Dance club


Finalists: Club 27, Electric Cowboy, Jimmy Doyle’s Country Club (North Little Rock), Sway


DJ Kramer

Finalists: DJ Courier (Hot Springs), g-force, Shayne Gray (Gray Matter Radio on KABF-FM 88.3), JJ Wilson


Jeff Nichols

Finalists: Lee Isaac Chung, Graham Gordy, Mark Thiedeman, Kathryn Tucker

Gay bar


Finalists: 610 Center, Reno’s (North Little Rock), Sway, Triniti Nightclub

Hip-hop artist

Big Piph

Finalists: 607, Bankroll Freddie, Chris James, Yuni Wa

Jazz band/group

The Rodney Block Collective

Finalists: The Big Dam Horns, Dizzy 7, Philli Moo & Qnote, Ted Ludwig Trio

Late night spot

Four Quarter Bar (North Little Rock)

Finalists: Brewski’s Pub & Grub, Ciao Baci, Midtown Billiards, Town Pump

Live music festival

Arkansas Folk Festival (Mountain View)

Finalists: Toad Suck Daze (Conway), Hillberry Music Festival (Eureka Springs), Valley of the Vapors Independent Music Festival (Hot Springs), Yadaloo Music & Arts Festival (North Little Rock)

Live music venue

White Water Tavern

Finalists: Four Quarter Bar (North Little Rock), Rev Room, Stickyz Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicken Shack, Willy D’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Piano Bar

Local actor

Jamee McAdoo

Finalists: Natalie Canerday, Barry Clifton, Duane Jackson, Satia Spencer

Local theater

Arkansas Repertory Theatre

Finalists: Argenta Community Theater (North Little Rock), Opera in the Rock, The Studio Theatre, The Weekend Theater

Movie theater

Riverdale 10 VIP Cinema

Finalists: AMC Chenal 9, Cinemark Colonel Glenn and XD, Movie Tavern, Regal UA Breckenridge


Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (Bentonville)

Finalists: Arkansas Museum of Fine Arts, Historic Arkansas Museum, Mid-America Science Museum (Hot Springs), Museum of Discovery

Neighborhood festival

Hillcrest Harvestfest

Finalists: Arkansas Cornbread Festival, Block on Rock (Stone’s Throw Brewing),  Festival of Darkness (Lost Forty), Jazz in the Park

Performing arts group

Arkansas Symphony Orchestra

Finalists: Argenta Community Theater, Ballet Arkansas, Opera in the Rock, Red Octopus Theatre Group


Amber Lane Photography (Russellville)

Finalists: Lexi Adams Photography (Conway), Brian Chilson, Katie Childs Photo, Ashley Murphy Images

Place for karaoke

Town Pump

Finalists: Brewski’s Pub & Grub, Dust Bowl Lanes and Lounge, The Hangout Grill & Bar (North Little Rock), Lucky’s Sports Bar & Grill (Maumelle)

Place for trivia

Flyway Brewing

Finalists: Brewski’s Pub & Grub, Dugan’s Pub, Flying Saucer Draught Emporium, Midtown Billiards

Place to gamble

Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort (Hot Springs)

Finalists: Cherokee Casino and Hotel (Roland, Oklahoma), Choctaw Casino (Pocola, Oklahoma), Saracen Casino Resort (Pine Bluff), Tunica, Mississippi


Crystal C. Mercer

Finalists: Bryan Borland, Kai Coggin, Chris James, R.J. Looney

Rock band

Dazz & Brie

Finalists: Adventureland, Adam Faucett and The Tall Grass, Amie Bishop (Hot Springs)

Sports bar

Brewski’s Pub & Grub

Finalists: Legends Sports Bar at Saracen Casino Resort (Pine Bluff), Lucky’s Sports Bar and Grill (Maumelle), Prospect Sports Bar and Grill, Silks Bar and Grill at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort (Hot Springs)

Local Media


Arkansas Blog

Finalists: Arkansas Outside, Blue Hog Report, The Mighty Rib, Rock Candy


Max Brantley

Finalist: John Brummett, Ernie Dumas, Dwain Hebda (Ya!Mule Wordsmiths), Philip Martin

Newspaper writer

Max Brantley

Finalist: Austin Bailey, Dwain Hebda (Ya!Mule Wordsmiths), Andrew DeMillo, Ginny Monk


Arkansas Times: Week in Review

Finalists: BlackbeltVoices, Gamblers, Rock the Culture, Not For Prophets Stereo Podcast

Radio personality

Heather Brown (KLAL-FM Alice 107.7)

Finalists: Bobby Bones (WSIX-FM, Nashville), Kyle Kellams (KUAF-FM 91.3), Roger Scott and Tommy Smith (KABZ-FM “The Buzz” 103.7)

Radio station

KLAL-FM Alice 107.7

Finalists: KABF-FM 88.3, KUAR-FM 89.1/KLRE-FM 90.5, KUAF-FM 91.3, KSSN-FM 96

TV meteorologist 

Todd Yakoubian (KATV)

Finalists: Tom Brannon (THV11), Garrett Lewis (KFSM), Melinda Mayo (KATV), Keith Monahan (KARK)

TV personality

Craig O’Neill (THV11)

Finalists: Steve Barnes (Arkansas PBS), Alyson Courtney (KATV), Chris May (KATV), Laura Monteverdi (KARK)

TV sportscaster

Steve Sullivan (KATV)

Finalists: Hayden Balgavy (THV11), Dorian Craft (THV11), Wess Moore (FOX16), Tera Talmadge (Pig Trail Nation)

TV station

KATV (Channel 7)

Finalists: Arkansas PBS, KARK (Channel 4), KLRT (FOX16), KTHV (THV11)



People and Politics


Moses Moody

Finalists: Davonte Davis, Lee Ann Jolly, Cayden Parker, Cayden Wallace


Charles Portis

Finalists: Rhett Brinkley, Kevin Brockmeier, Crystal C. Mercer, Trenton Lee Stewart


Joyce Elliott

Finalists: Matt Campbell, Crystal C. Mercer, Eric Musselman, Ryan Taneja

Little Rocker

Joyce Elliott

Finalists: Matt Campbell, Capi Peck, Frank Scott Jr., Kathy Webb


Mary Steenburgen

Finalists: Bankroll Freddie, Symone the Ebony Enchantress, Billy Bob Thornton, Ryan Taneja

Charity event

Soup Sunday (Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families)

Finalists: Cupcakes for Goodness Sake (CareLink), Dinner on the Grounds (Our House), The Show Must Go On (benefit concert for local theaters), UAMS Winthrop Rockefeller Cure Walk

Chief executive officer

Courtney Pledger (Arkansas PBS)

Finalists: Janet Jones (Janet Jones Realty), Rusty Mathis (Ben E. Keith), Chris Moses (Newmark Moses Tucker Partners), Dan Roda (Abaca Cannabis Banking)


Asa Hutchinson

Finalists: Tom Cotton, Jim Hendren, French Hill, Jason Rapert


Joyce Elliott

Finalists: Matt Campbell, Nicole Clowney, Clarke Tucker, Micah Wallace

Little Rock City Director

Kathy Webb

Finalists: Capi Peck, Antwan Phillips, Ken Richardson, Doris Wright

Misuse of taxpayer funds

99% of the bills passed in the Arkansas 2021 legislative session

Finalists: Lawsuits defending unconstitutional laws, Sen. Jason Rapert, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, Shutting down War Memorial Golf Course


The Van (The One Inc.)

Finalists: Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, Our House, World Services for the Blind


Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation

Finalists: John Burkhalter, Rick Fleetwood, Ryan Taneja, Walton Family


Joyce Elliott

Finalists: Tom Cotton, Jim Hendren, Asa Hutchinson, Clarke Tucker

Worst Arkansan

Jason Rapert

Finalists: Tom Cotton, Asa Hutchinson, Leslie Rutledge, Sarah Huckabee Sanders

Food and Drink

Arkansas-brewed beer

Lost Forty

Finalists: Diamond Bear, Flyway Brewing, Stone’s Throw Brewing, Superior Bathhouse Brewery (Hot Springs)

Baked goods

Community Bakery

Finalists: Boulevard Bread Co., Cinnamon Creme Bakery, Dempsey Bakery, Wild Sweet Williams (Searcy)

Booze to go

Colonial Wines & Spirits

Finalists: 107 Liquor (Sherwood), Legacy Wine and Spirits, O’Looney’s Wine & Liquor, Sullivant’s Liquor


Boulevard Bread Co.

Finalists: Community Bakery, Old Mill, Rosalia’s Family Bakery, Serenity Farm Bread (Leslie)


Red Door

Finalists: At The Corner, Lost Forty Brewing, Raduno Brick Oven & Barroom, YaYa’s Euro Bistro

Business lunch


Finalists: Cache, Doe’s Eat Place, The Faded Rose, Whole Hog Cafe


Whole Hog Cafe

Finalists: Catering to You, Diane’s Gourmet, Low Ivy Catering, Trio’s

Cheese dip

Heights Taco and Tamale

Finalists: Dizzy’s Gypsy Bistro, Local Lime, Lucky’s Sports Bar & Grill, Mexico Chiquito


Petit & Keet

Finalists: Cache, Ciao Baci, Copper Mule Table & Tap (Bryant), Raduno

Curbside restaurant service

Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe

Finalists: The Fold Botanas & Bar, Star of India, Trio’s, Whole Hog Cafe 

Food festival

Main Street Food Truck Fest

Finalists: Arkansas Cornbread Festival, Cupcakes for Goodness Sake, International Greek Food Festival, World Cheese Dip Festival

French fries

Big Orange

Finalists: Ciao Baci, Doe’s Eat Place, The Faded Rose, Track Kitchen at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort (Hot Springs)

Happy hour

Petit & Keet

Finalists: Brewski’s Pub & Grub, Brood & Barley, Ciao Baci, Midtown Billiards

Liquor store

Colonial Wines & Spirits

Finalists: 107 Liquor, Legacy Wine & Spirits, O’Looney’s Wine & Liquor, Sullivant’s Liquor Store


The Purple Cow Restaurant

Finalists: Big Orange, Loblolly Creamery, MaggieMoo’s Ice Cream and Treatery, The Original ScoopDog (North Little Rock)

Onion rings

The Purple Cow Restaurant

Finalists: Cotham’s in the City, Copper Mule Table & Tap (Bryant), Hubcap Burger Co., Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort Track Kitchen (Hot Springs)

Outdoor dining

Hill Station

Finalists: The Bugler at Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort (Hot Springs), Ciao Baci, The Faded Rose, Soul Fish Cafe

Restaurant delivery

Damgoode Pies

Finalists: Casa Manana, Fantastic China, Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe, Whole Hog Cafe


Whole Hog Cafe 

Finalists: Corky’s Ribs & BBQ, Count Porkula, Sims Bar-B-Que


ZaZa Fine Salad + Wood Oven Pizza Co.

Finalists: Big Orange, The Faded Rose, U.S. Pizza Co., Whole Hog Cafe



Finalists: Oceans at Arthur’s, Rock ‘N’ Roll Sushi, Sky Modern Japanese, Sushi Cafe


The Root Cafe

Finalists: Baja Grill, Esters Pub, MeMe’s Twisted Potato, Star of India Restaurant

Wine list

Petit & Keet

Finalists: The Bugler at Oaklawn (Hot Springs), Ciao Baci, Crush Wine Bar (North Little Rock), Trio’s



Midtown Vintage Market

Finalists: Fabulous Finds Antique & Decorative Mall, Roy Dudley Estate Sales, Ruth Hanna’s, Sweet Home/Clement

Art Gallery

M2 Gallery

Finalists: Boswell Mourot Fine Art, Gallery 26, Hearne Fine Art, Rivertown Gallery (Mountain Home)

Auto dealer

Subaru of Little Rock

Finalists: Crain Chevrolet, Everett Buick GMC, Mark McLarty Toyota, Steve Landers Auto Group

Bicycle shop

Angry Dave’s Bicycles (North Little Rock)

Finalists: Arkansas Cycling & Fitness, The Community Bicyclist, The Ride (Conway), Spokes Giant


WordsWorth Books

Finalists: Bookish (Fort Smith), The Bookstore at Library Square, Dickson Street Bookshop (Fayetteville), Dog Ear Books (Russellville)

Bridal store

Lowe’s Bridal (Brinkley)

Finalists: The Bridal Cottage (North Little Rock), Couture Bridal Shop (Rogers), Something Bleu Bridal Boutique (Hot Springs), Unveiled Bridal Collection

CBD store

Healing Hemp of Arkansas

Finalists: Alabi Cannabis Company, Heights Apothecary and Hemp Co., Good Earth Organics, Green Corner Store

Children’s clothing

The Toggery

Finalists: Caroline’s Consignment, Clara Jane & Jax (Batesville), Rhea Drug Store, Simply Sweet Kids (Conway)

Fabrics and drapery

Cynthia East Fabrics

Finalists: Designer Effects, Joyce Holt’s Window Works, Laura’s Draperies & Blinds, Marshall Dry Goods Co. (Batesville)

Farmers market

Little Rock Farmers Market

Finalists: Argenta Farmers Market, The Bramble Market, Me and McGee Market, White Water Tavern Market

Flooring store

Cantrell Furniture Design Center

Finalists: C&F Flooring and Rug Gallery, Carpet Barn (North Little Rock), McElroy Tops & Floors, River City Flooring


Petal to the Metal Floristry

Finalists: The Empty Vase, Frances Flower Shop, Letta’s Flowers and Gifts (Bryant), Tanarah Luxe Floral


Hank’s Fine Furniture

Finalists: Ashley Furniture HomeStore, Cantrell Furniture Design Center Store, Cost Plus Furniture, Sweet Home/Clement

Garden store

The Good Earth Garden Center

Finalists: Botanica Gardens, Cantrell Gardens Nursery, Hocott’s Garden Center, Plantopia

Gift shop

Box Turtle

Finalists: Bella Vita Jewelry, The Crown Shop, Moxy Modern Mercantile, Rhea Drug Store

Grocery store

Trader Joe’s

Finalists: Edwards Food Giant, Kroger, Natural Grocers, Whole Foods Market

Hardware/home improvement

Fuller & Son Hardware

Finalists: Ace Hardware, Kraftco Hardware, The Hardware Store (Fayetteville), Hum’s Hardware & Rental (North Little Rock)

Hip clothing

Box Turtle

Finalists: AR-T’s, Crying Weasel Vintage, Fringe Clothing, Scarlet

Hobby shop

Argenta Bead Co.

Finalists: ART Outfitters, The Coin & Stamp Shop, Control Records, HobbyTown (North Little Rock)

Home entertainment store

Arkansas Record-CD Exchange (North Little Rock)

Finalists: Audio Dimensions, Control Records, Family Leisure (North Little Rock), Solutions Home Entertainment


Sissy’s Log Cabin

Finalists: Bang-Up Betty, Bella Vita Jewelry & Gifts, Cecil’s Jewelry, Roberson’s Jewelry

Lingerie store


Finalists: Adam & Eve, Angie Davis (Conway), Doctor John’s Lingerie and Novelties Boutique, Fantasies Lingerie and More (Cabot)

Men’s clothing


Finalists: Baumans Fine Men’s Clothing, Bell & Sward (Conway), Mr. Wicks, The Woodsman Co. (Fort Smith)

Mobile phone provider


Finalists: Cricket Wireless, Straight Talk Wireless, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless

Motorcycle dealer

Toad Suck Harley-Davidson (Conway)

Finalists: Heritage Indian Motorcycle of Northwest Arkansas (Rogers), Honda of North Little Rock (North Little Rock), Richards Honda-Yamaha, Rock City Harley-Davidson

Outdoor store

Ozark Outdoor Supply

Finalists: Bass Pro Shop, Domestic Domestic, Ken Rash’s of Arkansas, Ozark Mountain Trading Co. (Conway)

Pawn shop

Braswell & Son Pawnbrokers (Little Rock, North Little Rock, Bryant, Conway)

Finalists: Big Daddy’s Pawn Shop, Levy Pawn and Gun, Pawnderosa Pawn Shop, USA Loans Pawn Shop

RV/camper dealer

Moix RV Supercenter (Conway)

Finalists: Crain RV (Benton), Gander RV & Outdoors (North Little Rock), Goss Camper Sales, Kiko’s Kountry RV (North Little Rock)


Rock City Kicks

Finalists: Happy Feet (North Little Rock), J Pruitt Shoes, Tops Shoes (Benton), Warren’s Shoes

Sporting goods

Ozark Outdoor Supply

Finalists: Academy Sports + Outdoor, Dick’s Sporting Goods (North Little Rock), Gene Lockwood’s, Rock City Running


The Toggery

Finalist: Box Turtle, Kindness & Joy Toys (Fayetteville), Knowledge Tree, Rhea Drug Store

Vape shop

Toddy Tobacco & Vape Shop

Finalists: Abby Road, Rogue Vapers, The Vapor Connection, Vapor World

Vintage clothing

Crying Weasel Vintage

Finalists: America Jane Vintage (Conway), Oak Forest Vintage, Ruth Hanna’s, Thriftpologie

Women’s clothing

E. Leigh’s

Finalists: Crying Weasel Vintage, Fringe Clothing, Rhea Drug Store, Vesta’s Boutique


Pre-k or preschool

Pulaski Academy

Finalists: The Anthony School, Episcopal Collegiate School, Pediatrics Plus

Community college

UA Pulaski Tech (North Little Rock)

Finalists: Arkansas State University-Beebe, National Park College (Hot Springs), NorthWest Arkansas Community College (Bentonville), South Arkansas Community College (El Dorado)

Four-year college/university

University of Arkansas (Fayetteville)

Finalists: Arkansas State University (Jonesboro), Hendrix College (Conway), University of Arkansas at Little Rock, University of Central Arkansas (Conway)

Private school

Pulaski Academy

Finalists: The Anthony School, Catholic High School for Boys, Episcopal Collegiate School, Hannah School

Public school

Little Rock Central High School

Finalists: eStem Public Charter School, Forest Park Elementary, North Little Rock High School, Pulaski Heights Elementary

Goods and Services

Accounting firm

Frost PLLC

Finalists: CFO Network (North Little Rock), EGP PLLC, HCJ CPA’s & Advisors, Landmark

Apartment complex

The Fitzroy Chenal

Finalists: Argenta Flats Apartments, Bowman Pointe Apartments, The Pointe Brodie Creek, The Pointe North Hills, Wellington at Chenal



Finalists: AMR Architects, John Greer (WER Architects), Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects, Taggart Architects

Arkansas-based company


Finalists: The Pointe North Hills, Roller Funeral Homes, Stephens Inc., Superior Senior Care


Bang-Up Betty (Stacey Bowers)

Finalists: AR-T’s (Justin Sharp), Bella Vita (Brandy McNair), Hannah Lawrence, Turner Custom Millwork

Auto service

Discount Tire & Brake

Finalists: Jett’s Gas & Service, Little Rock Paint and Body, R Street Shell, Subaru of Little Rock

Autoglass repair

Safelite AutoGlass

Finalists: Allied Glass & Frame Shop (Benton), Capitol Glass Co., Dr. B’s Windshield Repair Co., Mobile Glass Pros



Finalists: Arkansas Federal Credit Union, Bank of England, Bank of Little Rock, Centennial Bank

Commercial insurance agency

State Farm

Finalists: Arkansas Farm Bureau, Brown & Brown Insurance, The Hatcher Agency, Shelter Insurance

Commercial real estate agency

Keller Williams Realty

Finalists: Kelley Commercial Partners, McKimmey Realtors, Newmark Moses Tucker Partners, The Property Group

Company to work for

CareLink (North Little Rock)

Finalists: Cornerstone Construction, Kelley Commercial Partners, Newmark Moses Tucker Partners, Roller Funeral Homes


Kinco Constructors

Finalists: American Structure Inc., Cornerstone Construction, Lash Remodeling (Maumelle), River Rock Builders


Kelley Kolettis Designs

Finalists: Debi Davis Interior Design, Garry Mertins (mertinsdykehome), Brittany Nixon Creative, Johnna Novak (Novak Design)

Event venue

Heifer International

Finalists: First Security Amphitheater/River Market Pavilions, Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort, The Rev Room, Rusty Tractor Vineyards

Funeral home

Roller Funeral Homes

Finalists: Ashby Funeral Home (Benton), Bella Vista Funeral Home (Bella Vista), North Little Rock Funeral Home, Smith Family Funeral Homes


Roman Gonzales

Finalists: Avant Garde Estate Services (Joshua Plant), The Dryer Vent Guy (Matthew Young, Conway), Lash Remodeling (Maumelle), Top Notch Home Services (Steven Long, Conway)

Home builder

Hines Homes

Finalists: Bradford Morris Construction, Graham Smith Construction, Markus Homes, Mike Orndorff Construction

Home inspection

Blackbird Inspections (Eric Young)

Finalists: Joe Cummins, GQ Inspection Services (Dennis Evans), Lance Lefler, Pillar to Post Home Inspectors (The Paulson Team)

Home, life, car insurance

State Farm

Finalists: Citizens Fidelity Insurance Co., Allison Covington (MidArk Insurance Group), The Jenkins Agency, USAA


Capital Hotel

Finalists: Aloft Little Rock West, Embassy Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Oaklawn Racing Casino Resort (Hot Springs)

HVAC repair

Middleton Heat & Air

Finalists: Airmasters Heating & Air Conditioning, Davis Comfort, Ski Brothers Heat and Air, Yates Maintenance Heating & Air

Internet service provider

AT&T U-verse

Finalists: Comcast, Conway Corp, Cox, Hyperleap

Landscaper/landscape design

The Good Earth Garden Center

Finalists: Chris H. Olsen, Pugh’s Earthworks (Maumelle), River Valley Horticulture Products, Westfall Design Studio (Tontitown)

Law firm

Wright Lindsey Jennings

Finalists: Duncan Johnston & Collins, Mitchell Williams Law Firm, PPGMR Law, Taylor King Law


Taylor King (Taylor King Law)

Finalists: Lauren Collins (Duncan Johnston & Collins), Bill James (James Law Firm), David Slade (Carney Bates & Pullium), Kacey Ziegler (Nash Law Firm in Maumelle)

Marketing firm


Finalists: Campbell Ward, CMW Agency, MHP/Team SI, Thoma Thoma


Two Men and a Truck (North Little Rock)

Finalists: Brandon Moving & Storage (North Little Rock), Elite Movers, Mustard Seed Moving of Arkansas, VIP Moving of Arkansas

Music equipment

Guitar Center (Little Rock)

Finalists: Fry Guitars, Palmer Music Co. (Conway), Renown Music (North Little Rock), Shuffield Music Co. (Arkadelphia)

Pest control

Adams Pest Control

Finalists: Arkansas Pest Control (North Little Rock), Curry’s Termite, Elkins Pest Control (Maumelle), Pest & Animal Control, Legacy Termite and Pest Control

Pet groomers

Hounds Lounge Pet Resort and Spa

Finalists: Doggie Do’s, Fairview Kennels, Hounds’ Hideaway (Conway, Jonesboro and Rogers), Woof Happy Tails


Ray Lusk Plumbing

Finalists: Associated Plumbers Inc., David Guajardo (Action Mechanical, North Little Rock), Hall’s Affordable Plumbing, Merrick Plumbing (Benton)

Residential real estate agency

The Janet Jones Co.

Finalists: The Charlotte John Co., Keller Williams Realty, McKimmey Associates Realtors (North Little Rock), The Property Group

Siding, windows and roofing

Wilson’s Home Improvement (Hot Springs)

Finalists: Accountable Roofing, Arkansas Roofing Kompany (Conway), Cornerstone Construction, Sideco/Windco (North Little Rock)

Solar company

Seal Solar (North Little Rock)

Finalists: AEV Solar, Cornerstone Construction, Entegrity, Shine Solar (Rogers)


7th Street Tattoo

Finalists: Black Cobra Tattoos (Sherwood), Love Spell Tattoo, Lucky Bella Tattoos (North Little Rock), Smoky Row Tattoo (Russellville)

Travel agency

Poe Travel

Finalists: Friends Tours & Travel, Peacock Travel Group, Sue Smith Vacations (North Little Rock), West Rock Travel

Wealth management

Encompass Financial Partners

Finalists: Conger Wealth Management, Chris Harkins (Harkins Rafferty Wealth Management of Raymond James), Kelly Ross Journey (Edward Jones), Tim Rafferty (Harkins Rafferty Wealth Management of Raymond James)

Web design

Rock City Digital

Finalists: iProv, Matmon, Jeffrey A. Turnbow (Conway), Thomas Wallace Interactive Media

Window tinting

SunStop Window Tinting (North Little Rock)

Finalists: 007 Window Tinting (Benton), D&D Sun Control Inc. (North Little Rock), Jay’s Window Tinting (Sherwood), Rock City Wraps

Medical and Personal Care

Assisted living facility

Fox Ridge Luxury Senior Living

Finalists: The Manor Senior Living Community, Memory Care of Little Rock at Good Shepherd, Woodland Heights, Indian Rock Village (Fairfield Bay)


Dogtown Barber Lounge (North Little Rock)

Finalists: Blade and Barrel (Jacksonville), Handle Barbershop, Jerry’s Barbershop, Sullivan Barber Service


Buffy Montgomery (Suite 443 in Hot Springs)

Finalists: Noah Nichols (Harvest, Conway), Micah Reynolds (Herbology), DJ Riggan (Good Day Farm Dispensary), Taylor Yates (Good Day Farm Dispensary)


Dr. Beverly Foster (Chiropractic Health & Rehabilitation)

Finalists: Lee Hodge (Abundant Health Chiropractic & Therapeutic Massage), Omnis Rehab: Joint and Performance Center, Pinnacle Chiropractic, Dr. Richard Riley (Little Rock Chiropractic)

Cosmetic dentist

Dr. DJ Dailey (Smile Dailey General and Cosmetic Dentistry)

Finalists: Dr Stephen Deal (Deal Family Dentistry, Greenbrier), Dr. Montgomery Heathman (Heathman Family and Cosmetic Dentistry), Dr. Sam Strong (Dentalways), Dr. Jeff Wisner (Wisener, Cooper & Fergus DDS; Rogers)

Cosmetic surgeon

Dr. Suzanne Yee (Cosmetic & Laser Surgery Center)

Finalists: Dr. Rhys Branman (Cosmetic Surgery Center), Dr. Melanie Prince (Melanie Prince, M.D. Plastic Surgery), Dr. Kris Shewmake (Shewmake Plastic Surgery), Dr. Gene Sloan (Aesthetic Plastic Surgery)


Argenta Counseling

Finalists: Stacy Kinzler, Glenn McCracken, Rachel Pinto, Dr. Kathleen Wong (Bridges 2 Wellbeing, Fayetteville)


Arkansas Dermatology

Finalists: Franks Dermatology, Dr. Jay Flaming, Dr. Ray Parker (Dermatology Group of Arkansas), Pinnacle Dermatology

Diet/weight loss center

Arkansas Heart BMI Institute

Finalists: Arkansas Health & Nutrition, Baptist Health Weight & Nutrition Center, Diet Center, Natural State Health Center


Natural Relief Dispensary (Sherwood)

Finalists: Good Day Farm, Greenlight Dispensary (Helena-West Helena), Herbology Little Rock, The Source (Bentonville)


Eye Care Arkansas

Finalists: Burrow’s and Mr. Franks Optical, James Eyecare & Optics Gallery, Kavanaugh Eye Care, Visioncare Arkansas (Conway)

Family dentist

Little Rock Family Dental

Finalists: Downtown Dental Care, Dr. Ethan Erwin (Hot Springs), Jolly Family Dental, Dr. Steve Mangan (Mangan Dental Group)

Family physician

Dr. Kent Covert (Little Rock Family Practice)

Finalists: Dr. Alison Richardson (Arkansas Family Medicine), Dr. Carey Roach (Barg Family Clinic), Dr. Stephen Tilley, Dr. Daniel Watson (Autumn Road Family Practice)

Hair salon

Red Beauty Lounge

Finalists: Carter|Miller, Salon Joseph, Salon Platinum (Conway), Heather Young


Arkansas Children’s Hospital

Finalists: Arkansas Heart Hospital, Baptist Health, CHI St. Vincent, UAMS

In-home care

CareLink (North Little Rock)

Finalists: Baptist Health Hospice, Conway Regional Home Care Services, Home Instead, Superior Senior Care (Conway)

Massage therapist

Ava Bella Day Spa

Finalists: Abundant Health Chiropractic and Therapeutic Massage (Conway), Arkansas Healing Arts Massage & Wellness, Massage Arkansas, Zach Turner at Little Rock Massage and Wellness (North Little Rock)

Med spa

Rejuvenation Clinic and Day Spa

Finalists: Ava Bella Day Spa, Doctors MedSpa, Radiant Wellness by S&S, Skin Fix Med Spa

Mental health facility

The BridgeWay (North Little Rock)

Finalists: Conway Behavioral Health Hospital (Conway), Methodist Family Health, Pinnacle Pointe, Rivendell Behavioral Health Services of Arkansas

Nail salon

Best Nails

Finalists: Cherish Nails & Spa, Chic Nails & Spa, Ethereal Nail Spa, Fashion Nails

Nursing home

Briarwood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center

Finalists: Andover Place, Chenal Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center, Encore West Little Rock, Garland Nursing & Rehab, Nursing and Rehabilitation Center at Good Shepherd


Dr. Katherine Baltz (Central Arkansas Opthalmology)

Finalists: Dr. Laurie Barber (Little Rock Eye Clinic), Dr. Joseph Chacko (Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute Clinic, UAMS), Dr. Romona Davis (Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute Clinic, UAMS), Dr. Lydia Lane (Little Rock Eye Clinic)


Dr. Julie Dolven (James Eye Care)

Finalists: Dr. Susan DeBlack (DeBlack Eye Care, Conway), Dr. Brian Guice (Kavanaugh Eye Care), Dr. Derek Scott Long (Maumelle), McFarland Eye Care


Phelan Orthodontics

Finalists: Daniel Orthodontics, Hodge Orthodontics, Vondran Orthodontics, Wardlaw Orthodontics

Orthopedic surgeon

Dr. Ken Martin (Martin Orthopedics)

Finalists: Dr. Kyle Blickenstaff (Unity Health, Searcy), Dr. William Hefley Jr. (Arkansas Surgical Hospital), Dr. P. Allan Smith (OrthoArkansas), Dr. Jonathan D. Wyatt (OrthoArkansas)


Dr. Leah Youngblood (Little Rock Children’s Clinic)

Finalists: Dr. Cheryl Ahart (Little Rock Pediatric Clinic), Dr. Dawn Martin (All for Kids Pediatric Clinic), Dr. Josh O’Neill (Little Rock Pediatric Clinic), Dr. Aaron Strong (Little Rock Pediatric Clinic)

Personal trainer

Lee Ann Jolly (Jolly Bodies)

Finalists: Anna Bolte (Bolte Fitness), TJ Brown (Westside MMA), Brooke Walker (365 Fitness), Quen Spencer (Core Wellness)


Kavanaugh Pharmacy

Finalists: Achor Family Pharmacy (Maumelle), Cornerstone Pharmacy, The Pharmacy at Wellington, Rhea Drug Store

Physical therapists


Finalists: Advanced Physical Therapy, Harris & Renshaw Physical Therapy (Sherwood), Dr. Montana Chapman (Advanced Physical Therapy), Physical Therapy Institute


Snell Prosthetics & Orthotics

Finalists: Arkansas Prosthetics and Pedorthics (Benton), Horton’s Orthotics & Prosthetics, New Hope Prosthetics & Orthotics (North Little Rock)


Good Shepherd Community

Finalists: Andover Place, Chenal Pines Retirement Resort, Chenal Village, Superior Senior Care


Ava Bella Day Spa

Finalists: Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa (Hot Springs), Copper Well Retreat, Doctors Med Spa, Rejuvenation Clinic & Day Spa


Hillcrest Animal Hospital

Finalists: Allpets Animal Hospital, Dr. Brian Barron (Shackleford Veterinary Clinic), Pinnacle Valley Animal Hospital, Pleasant Valley Veterinary Clinic

Yoga studio

Barefoot Studio

Finalists: Arkansas Yoga Collective, Big Rock Yoga, Blue Yoga Nyla (North Little Rock), Sixth House Wellness Studio


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