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Businesses finally starting to bounce back in Saline County

Many local shops were forced to close their doors or change how they do business entirely when the pandemic hit. But now, they're finally seeing a positive change.

BRYANT, Ark. — It's not a new story that businesses have had a tough year.

"'Challenging' comes to mind," Serge Krikorian, owner of Vibrant Occasions Catering, said. "This one, I never expected to see it in my life."

Many local shops were forced to close their doors or change how they do business entirely.

Krikorian added a food truck to be able to still cater events, especially outside where guests can distance. It was a goal to have a truck like that one day, but the pandemic sped that along.

"I've been, through my childhood in another country, we were in a war, and I've lived through that, but this was completely different," Krikorian said. "This is something you can't see."

Just down I-30 is another local store, Sugar Dumplin's Cupcakes. Jessica Scott and her family have been running the store for seven years.

"Hardest thing when you're a small business owner, your husband works here, you work here, your daughter and your son-in-law, we all work here. We're a family," Scott said.

It's not just coworkers they take care of – it's also the same at Krikorian's.

"Truly is a family business," he said. "My marketing director happens to be behind you – that's my niece."

It's not just their businesses that are like family – so is Saline County. A Facebook page was set up by the City of Bryant to help local shops like Scott's and Krikorian's reach a larger audience.

And it's working.

"I get a lot of feedback on it," Scott said. "Comments, people can see it more than just a regular post because it's more interactive."

The page, called "#Saline County Eats," has just over 4,000 members, with multiple businesses posting a day.

It's hard to say how much of an impact the page has had on businesses in the county, but it's certainly helping.

"We're hiring," Krikorian said. "We're talking to our brides, we're booking, we started booking corporate events, so I do see it as being pretty close to being a history."

You can find more information about Vibrant Occasions Catering by clicking here

Information about Sugar Dumplin's Cupcakes can be found here.