Why Northwest Arkansas Is A Great Place To Buy A Business

Team Acquira
-  November 17, 2023
What You’ll Learn
  • Why the economy of Bentonville, Arkansas is performing better than other regions of the country.
  • How you can get paid to move to Northwest Arkansas.
  • What makes Northwest Arkansas a cultural oasis.
  • How to begin your business-buying journey in the region.

Flying into the Bentonville airport is enough to challenge even the most cynical of Northerner’s preconceived notions about the Natural State.

The city, located in Northwestern Arkansas, is perhaps most famous for being the birthplace of Walmart. While the multi-generational business moguls that comprise the Walton family are often shrouded in mystery, one thing is made clear as you drive from the airport toward the downtown core: The Waltons are on a mission to improve Bentonville.

lakes in northwest arkansas

In 1950, Sam Walton set up shop in the Bentonville town square when he purchased the Harrison Variety Store. He remodeled the store and opened Walton’s 5 and 10 Variety Store on March 18, 1951, planting the seed for what would eventually become the world’s largest retailer.

Seventy years later, Bentonville has become the fastest growing city in Arkansas and one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States. 

Moving Incentive

northwest arkansas bike trails

The local government is intent on seeing that growth flourish. The Northwest Arkansas Council recently announced the Life Works Here program, which offers residents who relocate to the region from other parts of the country a $10,000 grant. 

Those new residents also get to choose between a new free mountain bike and a membership at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

The program highlights the region’s low cost of living; outdoor lifestyle perks; arts, culture, and cuisine scenes; and a per capita income that’s 14 percent higher than the national average. 

According to the Council, the program has already proven popular with more than 26,000 applications from candidates in more than 115 countries and all 50 US states, expressing interest in moving to Northwest Arkansas.

A Visit To Bentonville

I've been all over the US and it's probably at the top of my list of where I would move

“I've been all over the US and it's probably at the top of my list of where I would move,” explains Hayden Miyamoto, Acquira co-founder.

Acquira recently acquired an HVAC business based in Bentonville. When Hayden went to visit the company for the first time he was instantly struck by the culture and economy of the area.

“It's very much an oasis in Arkansas. It's kind of like Austin in Texas,” he says.

He’s not the only one to think so. In the last ten years, Northwest Arkansas has seen an explosion in growth. From 2010 to 2019, Benton County, where Bentonville is the county seat, grew its population from around 221,000 people to more than 279,000. Nearby Washington County grew from 203,000 to more than 239,000. 

Eric Eby from Curtis Realty Group breaks down some of the pros and cons of living in the region very well:

COVID’s Impact

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on the region just like everywhere else in the country, with the largest impact on the food-service, hospitality, transportation, health care, and entertainment industries, as reported by Arkansas Money & Politics (AMP).

Luckily, the construction industry has not seen much of an impact, which is good news for anyone interested in buying a home services business in the region. Indeed, there’s a backlog of construction projects that stretches five years down the road, according to AMP. 

In fact, the pandemic could lead to some gains for the region, according to Hayden.

“You have this trend of remote work that was happening before COVID which has been greatly catalyzed by COVID,” he explains. “And I see this as a no-brainer: people are going to seek out these cost-of-living, quality-of-life trade-offs. So even if Walmart were to stop trying to bring people in, I still think this area would grow massively because it's hit a critical mass to the point where people actually know about it.”

Arkansas Data SeriesAug2020Sept2020Oct2020Nov2020Dec2020Jan2021
Labor Force Data
Civilian Labor Force(1)(R)1,341.4(R)1,337.6(R)1,333.4(R)1,328.6(R)1,379.3(P)1,376.0
Unemployment Rate(2)(R)6.5(R)5.9(R)5.6(R)5.3(R)4.9(P)4.6
Nonfarm Wage and Salary Employment
Total Nonfarm(3)1,239.61,245.41,252.91,257.51,259.0(P)1,255.6
12-month % change-3.2-3.1-2.7-2.4-2.7(P)-2.8
Mining and Logging(3)
12-month % change-10.2-10.2-8.6-8.6-8.6(P)-5.4
12-month % change0.
12-month % change-4.6-5.0-3.8-3.0-2.1(P)-2.2
Trade, Transportation, and Utilities(3)247.6252.5253.4253.7252.7(P)252.3
12-month % change-
Source: US Bureau Of Labor Statistics

Buying A Business In Northwest Arkansas

Whether it’s the cost of living, the flourishing arts and culture scene, or the fact that it’s one of few places that will pay you to move there, buying a business in Northwest Arkansas will likely be an attractive proposition to many people.

A quick search of BizBuySell reveals that there are nearly 350 businesses listed for sale in the region. Of course, not all of these will be good deals, but our Acceleration Gauntlet can help prepare any prospective buyer for the process. At Acquira, we’ve been very impressed by the region and see a lot of potential for future growth. We would love to acquire more businesses in the area with our AEs.

northwest arkansas state parks

Location is a crucial consideration when looking to acquire a business. You don’t want to buy something in an area you end up hating. On the contrary, you want to buy something in an area where you feel like you can improve and energize lives.

You also want to avoid any areas that are potentially exposed to economic hardship. While it’s certainly difficult to determine that in advance, indicators like arts, culture, and government investment can be a good indicator of where a region is headed.

Moreover, you want to be sure that the area is a cultural fit for you personally as the buyer. If you enjoy an active outdoor lifestyle, arts and culture, and good eating, you should consider moving to Arkansas.

Have you made any big moves in your life? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below. And if you know of anyone who might be interested in learning more about the region, please share this article with them.

If you’re considering buying a business yourself, Acquira can help you realize that goal. Schedule a call with us today to learn more about the process and the resources we offer.

Key Takeaways

  • Arkansas is one of the few states that will pay you to move there.
  • The region is growing faster than most of the country.
  • New construction projects have been largely unaffected by the Coronavirus pandemic.
  • There are plenty of businesses for sale in the area
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