BENTON, Ark. (KTHV) - It's a big weekend in Benton with several new shops and restaurants opening their doors.
Growth in Saline County shows no signs of slowing as businesses continue to pop up in the bustling town of Benton. But just four years ago the city was struggling according to Mayor David Mattingly. That's when he and other city leaders put together a plan to spur economic development.
"We have established a strong momentum that Benton is a place where you can do good business," said Mattingly.
And the plan worked.
Mattingly said nine new businesses will open in the next three weeks. Many of those are located at the new Shops at Benton, just off Interstate 30
"We're really excited to have another place for people to enjoy a meal, but also give people the opportunity to make a living for their family," said Keith Smith with the new Texas Roadhouse location. "We hired right at 200 people. It's been amazing thing to be able to see that."
The restaurant will open its doors on Monday. Three additional restaurants are slated to open in the same shopping center later this year.
And if you drive a little ways down the road, change is happening there too.
"Benton has grown so much that you know this is a perfect location. Figured we'd cash in on the growth right now," said Vic Bava.
Bava and his business partner decided to revamp the old mini golf course near the movie theater in Benton. Salty Harbor Mini Golf and Fun Park will open Saturday with an 18-hole course.
"There's a lot of people moving to Benton especially with families," Bava said. "Benton, Bryant, the whole Saline County area. Families look for something for kids to do and if they see there's a putt-putt course to take the kids to for a few hours."
But the growth is not limited to just I-30. A new software company and a food truck park are breathing new life into the town square.