Dueños destacados en febrero

7 de marzo de 2024

Rick West, Opines


When browsing Walmart’s online store, Rick West noticed a problem. Before an item could go live, the service required pre-seeded reviews. How would a new item get reviews, by just giving them away? This is what sparked him to create Opines.

The idea behind Opine is that you invite people to your event that features the new products. They give honest feedback which is then submitted to the website for review. This allows the newer items to be on the same playing field as items that have already been in the market for a while, and have thousands of reviews. Opines is a showroom space used to display new products, open to people to try and review.

Opines’ brand promise is simple: to facilitate in-person product engagement that delivers honest, unbiased, and reliable product reviews. Opines does this for Walmart and Sam’s Club Suppliers at their showroom located in Northwest Arkansas.


Carli Rosencranz, Code Name Zeke


Carli Rosencranz is a graduate of the University of Texas at Arlington, where she studied marketing research. Following graduation, she became a research manager for 5 years where she led statistical studies. In 2004, she brought her research knowledge to Northwest Arkansas, working for Tyson and then for Wal-Mart. Carli believes she’s always had an entrepreneurial mindset, so in 2023 after leaving corporate life, she chose to start her own business.

Code Name Zeke is a new social enterprise that will transform coffee farmer livelihoods through the deployment of micro-manufacturing franchises. These businesses will leverage existing coffee supply chain infrastructure, co-locating at facilities that today lie dormant for months each year. They will produce high-demand commercial goods from local raw materials. These goods will be more sustainable, affordable, and readily available than the imported products they replace, and will multiply the income for millions of households within reach of the coffee supply chain.


Randy Wilburn, I Am Northwest Arkansas


A Boston native now turned Northwest Arkansas lover, Randy Wilburn is the owner and host of the “I Am Northwest Arkansas” podcast. Randy’s idea for a podcast arose 10 years ago he wanted to create something that gave insight and information about the area. Randy focuses his podcast on intersectionality and business in Northwest Arkansas. Randy has not only been able to provide captivating stories but also secure sponsorships to support the continued growth and flourishing of his podcast.

Through creating and participating in the podcast, Randy has noticed that Arkansas as a whole has a problem with attracting talent to the state. His goal with the podcast is to tell interesting and insightful stories to attract more talented people to the area. Randy believes that if we showcase the area’s talent, more people will flock to it and the stigma of Arkansas being a place lacking talent will be lost.

I am Northwest Arkansas has allowed Randy to venture into a new path with the help of the Northwest Arkansas Council. Created an organization called “Onward Ozarks,  The goal of the program is to share information regarding healthcare, art, and everything else that Northwest Arkansas has to offer.

I Am Northwest Arkansas will turn 5 years old in April of this year, with 288 episodes. Since starting the podcast, Randy has grown to be a Northwest Arkansas superfan and tries to persuade everyone he knows to move and take part in the many networking and business opportunities the area has to offer. He has been able to turn his podcast into a business, and venture into new paths because of it.


Sam Russell, The Buttered Biscuit


Sam Russell grew up in Central Michigan with 5 siblings in a 900-square-foot home; he always dreamed of something bigger. His first business was a landscaping endeavor that he ran when he was a teenager. His dream was to become a millionaire by the time he turned 30. He knew it would take discipline, learning, creativity, and education to turn this dream into his reality. He became a human sponge, asking others around him questions and soaking up as much knowledge as possible. Attaining his bachelor’s degree in marketing from a small private college in Michigan, where he was able to attain a need-based scholarship, he ended up graduating with a B average.

Right out of college Sam moved to Florida and began working at Kellogg’s. Working there for 10 years he was able to soak up more information and unlock his inner genius. Once he turned 27, he began thinking about the next journey he wanted to embark on: real estate. Although leaving Kellogg’s wasn’t an option, it gave him funding and credibility with banks, so he began buying real estate. By the time he was 30 Sam Russell had 7 doors, and his corporate job led him to move to Arkansas, selling to Wal-Mart. Sam learned in the first decade that where you come from doesn’t define where you’re going.

The original idea for “The Buttered Biscuit” came from Sam’s wife who said she’d like to start a breakfast restaurant. The first location was on Moberly Road in Bentonville. Sam and his wife invested $167,000 into it, with both of them installing, constructing, and decorating themselves. Sam believes Northwest Arkansas is an incubator for people who want to network and unlock their genius.

The Buttered Biscuit is a local favorite brunch spot serving scratch-made breakfasts using high-quality ingredients like cage-free eggs, locally sourced produce and honey, and homemade fresh jams and spreads to bring the best breakfast in the south to you! Sam’s next goal is for  Buttered Biscuit to make 30 million dollars.


Ashley Emig, DirtBag Vintage


In August 2020, Ashley was scrolling through her TikTok and came across a video of a woman saying there were businesses for sale on Facebook Marketplace. She didn’t believe it, so she went to the marketplace and found that 5 or 6 businesses in her local area were up for sale. One business caught her eye, a woman was selling an old clothing business so of course Ashley reached out because her passion is apparel merchandising. The woman had a very high demand for her original storefront but just didn’t have time for it, so Ashley offered to take it over.

Her business is named “DirtBag Vintage”, reclaiming the word “DirtBag” and instead using the word as a way to describe someone willing to let off life’s trappings. Reclaiming a word usually meant to call people dirty and unkept, Ashley is using it to convey a message about passion and dressing unrestrained.

DirtBag has expanded from its initial vintage boutique concept, diversifying into a multifaceted income stream. First beginning with the storefront located in Fayetteville, Dirtbag now has a fully functioning website and sells their clothes via livestream. Ashley has also helped establish other local vintage stores in the Fayetteville Town Center. These events are called the “Second Saturday Vintage Markets”, “FayettVINTAGE Market Block Party”, and “NWA Vintage Fest”, where 60 vendors can come together and sell to the public.


Lakisha Bradley, MY-T-BY-DESIGN


Lakisha launched her business without outside finance, even though she was turned down for a loan as she was no longer employed by a large corporation. MY-T-BY-DESIGN has been able to thrive over the years because of organizations, local community collaboration partners, and residents.

The origin of her business, MY-T-BY-DESIGN, is the first and only therapeutic art studio of this business model in Arkansas. She shared that it started as a divine calling after leaving corporate, combining her corporate experience with her love for art and passion for people. The business’s mission is to strengthen mental wellness in communities through therapeutic expressive art services. She also has a licensed professional counselor, Carsten Counseling, LLC, available in their studio. Her business model is about creating access for all. The studio is accessible to all who need it. Artists also have access to the studio to host workshops or community events.

Lakisha, who is currently in graduate school, studying counseling with an emphasis on play therapy, is aiming to become the first black art therapist in Northwest Arkansas. She also expressed her desire to expand the business model by creating “studios of the community” in different locations to increase access to mental wellness. This is especially true in rural communities;  starting with southwest Arkansas, including her childhood hometown of Lewisville, AR.