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Community Leaders

Behind the Scenes

This week on The Bentonville Beacon, host James Bell explores the captivating world of Dave and Jenny Marrs, the dynamic duo behind HGTV’s beloved series, Fixer to Fabulous. Known for their skillful renovations, the Marrs beautifully marry contemporary design with the historical essence of homes in the Greater Bentonville Area, bringing those homes to life while ensuring they reflect the unique personalities of those who inhabit them. It is not just about achieving perfection but creating spaces where life’s best moments can unfold.
Beyond their television fame, Dave and Jenny are profound community builders, spearheading ventures like Marrs Developing, Marrs Mercantile, and The Welcome Inn—each a testament to their commitment to fostering communal spaces that encourage connection and joy. Their agricultural initiatives at The Berry Farm highlight their dedication to sustainable living, with proceeds aiding agricultural training programs for orphaned children in Zimbabwe.
In this heartfelt episode, they share the milestones of their renovation careers and television journey, discuss their new projects, and reveal the profound impact of the Bentonville community on their work and lives. Additionally, Jenny gives us a glimpse into her recently published design book, House + Love = Home, offering personal anecdotes alongside practical home design tips and DIY projects, while Dave provides a sneak peek at what is coming next.

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Orchestrating Bentonville’s Vibrant Community

In this episode of The Bentonville Beacon, host James Bell is joined by Dana Schlagenhaft, Executive Director of Downtown Bentonville Incorporated (DBI), a private, not-for-profit organization uniquely positioned as a driving force to build and promote a welcoming, secure and lively downtown Bentonville. Established over two decades ago, DBI has played a key role in revitalizing the city and making it a place that people are eager to visit, discover and share with others.

Downtown Bentonville Inc. works to activate downtown spaces through expertly executed events, advocating for current and future downtown businesses and amplifying the voices of all Bentonville residents. Events include the Bentonville Farmers Market and Virtual Farmers Market, First Friday, the Art Market, the City of Bentonville’s Lighting of the Square, the Bentonville Christmas Parade, Market at Record, New Year’s Eve celebrations, Bentonville Toyland, Shop the Block, and Downtown Bentonville Art and Culinary Week. Additionally, DBI hosts a live show Sundays on KFSM Sundays called DWTN Now where Dana and her co-host, Aaron Nolan, highlight the unique stories of Downtown Bentonville.

During the episode, Dana shares her fascinating journey and her role in bringing to life the festive community events. She also expands on Downtown Bentonville Incorporated’s mission, the unique spirit of the Greater Bentonville Area community and her thoughts on Bentonville’s vibrant future.

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Balancing Growth & Progress

In this episode of The Bentonville Beacon, host James Bell is joined by Mayor Bill Edwards of the City of Centerton, a community focused on a wholesome lifestyle, cultural history, environmental preservation and nurturing local business growth. Since the 2020 U.S. Census, Centerton’s population has grown more than thirty-five percent, vaulting it to the twentieth largest city in Arkansas.

Centerton’s population has grown from 9,500 to nearly 25,000 residents during Mayor Edwards’ pivotal fourteen years at the helm. During that time, Mayor Edwards has prioritized adding amenities that strengthen quality of life. Among these amenities are outdoor recreation opportunities including parks, pavilions, splash pads, a sports facility and walking trails–and now, a community center.

During the episode, Mayor Edwards describes his journey of transitioning from a career at J.B. Hunt to his first foray into politics as on the Centerton City Council to Centerton’s top leadership role–and he shares insights into how the city is evolving by blending progress with preservation. You’ll also hear what exciting initiatives underway, like the new Community Center, and how the City of Centerton collaborates with the surrounding Greater Bentonville Area and Northwest Arkansas region as a whole.

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Creating the Safest and Most Connected Community

In this episode of The Bentonville Beacon, host James Bell is joined by Jessica Pearson, Manager of the Bentonville Moves Coalition, a vibrant alliance of more than five hundred community organizations, local businesses, schools, institutions, civic leaders and engaged residents working together to make the Greater Bentonville Area the safest and most connected city in the Heartland by 2027. With a commitment to creating a mobility network that is equitable to all users, the Bentonville Moves Coalition supports increased transportation choices for Bentonville’s bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, plus policies and initiatives that improve prosperity, health and quality of life.

As a visionary leader, Jessica previously oversaw the development of twenty-five miles of natural surface trails in Springfield, Missouri. She now leads the Bentonville Moves Coalition to keep the Greater Bentonville Area community informed about projects headed by Trailblazers and the City of Bentonville.

Throughout the episode, Jessica expands on how the Bentonville Moves Coalition’s is bringing their vision to life, emphasizing tactical urbanism, protected routes, and clear road rules to further bolster Bentonville’s amazing quality of life. Additionally, Jessica highlights how upcoming projects, active committees, and a mini-grant program are accelerating Bentonville’s transportation and mobility innovations.

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Catalyzing Community Development & Impact Investing

In this episode of The Bentonville Beacon, host James Bell chats with Ramsay Ball, Founder of Grey Space Collective, a nonprofit organization based in Bentonville that focuses on community development. Through Grey Space, Ramsay and his team focus on real estate, ventures, hospitality and nonprofits to catalyze community development and impact investing. Throughout the conversation, he shares how cultures, colors and companies blend together to form new relationships, accelerate entrepreneurship and create more good for our community and people. And it is by seeding opportunities for more music, food and art, that Grey Space does its part to do more good, which results in a virtuous cycle of doing more good for the Greater Bentonville area.

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Exploring Bella Vista’s Transformation

In this episode of The Bentonville Beacon, host James Bell is joined by Bella Vista Mayor John Flynn. Bella Vista is known for its scenic beauty, outdoor activities and growing community spirit, and as only the third mayor in the city’s history, Mayor Flynn’s leadership is pivotal in guiding and shaping Bella Vista’s growth. With a diverse background in law, education and public service, Mayor Flynn’s journey from corporate counsel to professor to Mayor of one of Northwest Arkansas’s most picturesque cities, solidifies his commitment and willingness to serve and improve the community he has grown to call home. Throughout the conversation, Mayor Flynn shares Bella Vista’s compelling blend of rich history and his vision for its future. He also discusses how the town’s friendly residents, community spirit and quality of life attract newcomers seeking natural beauty and opportunity, making Bella Vista a true gem in Greater Bentonville and Northwest Arkansas.

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Runways to Growth: How XNA Transformed Bentonville and NWA

On this episode of The Bentonville Beacon, host James Bell sits down with Andrew Branch, Chief Operating Officer of XNA Northwest Arkansas National Airport. XNA began operations twenty-five years ago following an opening ceremony from then-President Bill Clinton and Air Force One. The airport’s mission is to ensure that the safest and most modern aviation infrastructure is in place to satisfy the needs of the traveling public. The airport’s economic impact exceeds $500 million dollars and provides thousands of jobs annually. With nearly one million boardings, this year will be the best year in the airport’s history. Throughout the episode, James and Andrew discuss the start and growth of XNA and how the airport is connecting the region’s community to the world all while making Bentonville and Northwest Arkansas an even more desirable place for business and residents.

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2023 NWA Tech Summit Live Part 4

Join host James Bell in the final episode of a special four-part series of The Bentonville Beacon podcast, featuring live-recorded conversations at the 2023 Northwest Arkansas Technology Summit with the thinkers and doers shaping the future of global tech in Bentonville. The NWA Tech Summit is the Heartland’s premier technology conference and serves to enhance, prepare and diversify the Northwest Arkansas economy. Now in its tenth year, the event is hosted by the Greater Bentonville Area Chamber of Commerce and is supported by nearly 100 partners, including the Walton Family Foundation, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Verizon, Salesforce, T-Mobile for Business, Zebra, Scott Family Amazeum and Arvest. These episodes bring together voices from the event to share their company’s stories, personal insights and unique #BecauseBentonville moments that define the community’s character. Tune in as we explore the innovations and experiences that are fostering a culture where technology meets the essence of Bentonville and Northwest Arkansas!

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2023 NWA Tech Summit Live Part 3

Join host James Bell in this third episode of a special four-part series of The Bentonville Beacon podcast, featuring live-recorded conversations at the 2023 Northwest Arkansas Technology Summit with the thinkers and doers shaping the future of global tech in Bentonville. The NWA Tech Summit is the Heartland’s premier technology conference and serves to enhance, prepare and diversify the Northwest Arkansas economy. Now in its tenth year, the event is hosted by the Greater Bentonville Area Chamber of Commerce and is supported by nearly 100 partners, including the Walton Family Foundation, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Verizon, Salesforce, T-Mobile for Business, Zebra, Scott Family Amazeum and Arvest. These episodes bring together voices from the event to share their company’s stories, personal insights and unique #BecauseBentonville moments that define the community’s character. Tune in as we explore the innovations and experiences that are fostering a culture where technology meets the essence of Bentonville and Northwest Arkansas!

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