Courtesy The Bison

Several students on campus spend time outside of class pouring into local, Searcy-based small businesses and participate in behind-the-scenes work to help the businesses flourish.

Among these is senior Everett Smith, who has been working at Slader’s Alaskan Dumplings Company since August 2020. Smith helped introduce new signature coffee items to the Searcy dumpling business.

“I am a self-proclaimed coffee connoisseur, so that helped with the initial push of the coffee menu,” Smith said. “Slader [Marshall] is super open to any idea, so it was a lot of trial and error on my part.”

Smith said that Slader’s is a student oriented business and thrives by keeping the interests of University students a top priority. Because of this, Smith said he is encouraged to inform Slader of any desires he believes students may have.

Signature coffees and flavors are a common area of interest for most businesses in town. Burrito Day comes up with seasonal flavor combinations for their cinnamon rolls, assisted by sophomore Kristen Walker, who has been working for small businesses since her junior year of high school.

“I have built a really strong relationship with my bosses,” Walker said. “I think starting that young and working up in Burrito Day [helped me get] to where I am now. That is a lasting relationship [that] has been such a benefit to me.”

Walker currently helps manage Burrito Day, in addition to her role as bakery assistant. She attributes her early start as a manager to the strong understanding of the business and what the future holds for it.

Many students across campus can influence the small businesses in Searcy by combining close, professional relationships with a strong education.

Kinsey Stubblefield is a senior who has been integrating what she learns in school with her work at Wild Sweet William’s as a bakery assistant and online correspondent. Beginning as the person who helps maintain the orders for the local shop, Stubblefield has grown her relationship with the owners since.

“I feel like I have invested in them and they have invested in me,” Stubblefield said. “They have made me grow and come to understand what is good and what is bad for a business.”