Tuesday, April 05, 2016

TOP STORY >> Edwards opens new store in Jacksonville

Workers on Monday put up a new Edwards Cash Saver sign in Jackson Square Shopping Center in Jacksonville, where Knight’s was located.
GES, Inc., owner and operator of Edwards Food Giant and Edwards Cash Saver supermarkets, are opening a new Edwards Cash Saver at 9 a.m. today at the old Knight’s location at 315 S. James St. in Jacksonville.

The remodeled interior, which has 42,000 square feet, features new equipment, lighting and décor.

The Jackson Square Shopping Center is getting a facelift, and all parking lot lighting will be improved to guarantee a comfortable and safe shopping experience.

Because this is a Cost Plus supermarket similar to the Edwards Cash Saver store in North Little Rock, all goods will be available at the store’s cost plus 10 percent at checkout.

This is the seventh store in central Arkansas for the Edwards family since entering the market in 2009.

Supervising the final touches for the remodeled store this week were Steve Edwards, owner and president; his son-in-law, Paul Rowton, and Gary Proffitt, vice president of operations.

Bob Childers, from Harrisburg, is director of meat operations.

Although the store will not include a full-service deli, it will have a large smoker making hot smoked ribs, chickens, pork, brisket and other meat items available daily.

The store will also have a large fresh produce department along with a full selection of name brand and private label grocery items.

The Edwards stores have become known as “The Meat People” and the Jacksonville store includes a large meat department. It also carries the finest meats at great prices, featuring certified Angus beef, Edwards said.

Edwards said the company had been looking to expand in the Jacksonville area for several years and negotiated with the Knight family to buy their supermarket as well as the Jackson Square Shopping Center, where the store is located. Knight’s continues to operate in Cabot and Beebe.

He said all company associates are excited about the Jacksonville location and look forward to the grand opening.

Edwards said a big plus for the company was the recent announcement of the new school complex being built and the commitment of Jacksonville’s residents to invest back into their community.

He also spoke about the recent news of the SIG Sauer ammo-manufacturing facility and their investment in the city.

GES, Inc., an Arkansas corporation, was formed in 1968 to consolidate a group of supermarkets. The corporation now owns eight supermarkets since moving into the Little Rock market in 2009.

The company has three supermarkets in Little Rock, one in North Little Rock, as well as stores in Forrest City, Harrisburg and Marianna, and convenience stores in McCrory and Augusta.

Oral and Steve Edwards, with more than 80 years of grocery experience between them, own GES, Inc. Along with Proffitt, the Edwards family also owns Tobacco Warehouse, LLC, which operates convenience stores.

The supermarkets and convenience stores operate under the Edwards Food Giant and FG Express banners. “We continue to improve our stores and add new departments in order to protect our markets and better serve our customers,” Steve Edwards said.

The company traces its roots back to 1959, when founder Oral Edwards started his career in the grocery business as an assistant manager in Millington, Tenn. He next moved to Kennett, Mo., in 1961 as a store manager.

In 1962, he became part owner of a new store. He loaded up his family for the third and final time and moved to Forrest City in east Arkansas, where a new Liberty Supermarket opened there in 1962.

By today’s standards, Edwards said, it was a small store, but it was huge for that time. Forrest City became home for Oral and Christine Edwards and their children, Steve and Susan.

The business grew from there as locations opened in Harrisburg, Marianna, McCrory, Augusta and Little Rock-North Little Rock and now Jacksonville.