(Read my full story on the You Must Be Trippin’ blog)
Bentonville, Arkansas is the burgeoning metropolis you don’t expect. With a growing and diverse population, not to mention its headquarters to the world’s largest retailer, this city is one the wife and I have begun to consider for a home away from home. If you’re wondering why, keep reading this my latest travel story for the Best Western blog You Must Be Trippin.’ Click the link to follow the full story.
Unless you’ve been to Bentonville, it’s hard to put into perspective the experience of visiting Arkansas’s fastest-growing metro area. Located in the foothills of the Ozarks and bustling with business and entrepreneurship, this once sleepy little town with a population of no more than 30, today still feels like a modern-day version of the movie Pleasantville, with its white picket fences and pristine neighborhoods surrounding the heart of Bentonville’s community – its historical Downtown Square.
In the 1880s the square served as a watering place for livestock. In 1901 Bentonville shipped one-half million bushels of apples from it bounty of apple trees, which according to the U.S. Census Bureau at that time accounted for the largest number of bearing apple trees of any county in the United States. Eventually the city of Bentonville expanded around its Downtown Square and today more than 45,000 call this community in Northwest Arkansas home.
The largest retailer in the world had a little something to do with that too.
In 1950, Sam Walton opened Walton’s 5 and 10 store on the square, which now houses the official Walmart Visitors Center in Bentonville. It’s a must-see when you visit, as are the Walmart Museum attached to the 5 and 10 store and the Spark Café next door. You’ll find Sam Walton’s office the way he occupied it during his life and the iconic 1979 Ford F-150 Custom pickup truck that he drove, inside the museum. There are also tons of historical images and videos highlighting the incredible life of Walmart’s founder and that of his family. If you happen to be there during Walmart’s Shareholders Meeting week, like we were, the entire city of Bentonville is pretty much Walmart City.
Thousands of the company’s employees from around the world gather in Bentonville for the week to witness first-hand announcements from its leadership, to vote on company policies and amendments, and to socialize with one another at the slew of business and entertainment events that take place in Bentonville. This was our second time attending during Shareholders.
Even though we have been there primarily for business, each time we have visited we have gotten more attached to the city itself. We were actually surprised to discover how diverse and urban Bentonville is despite its relatively small 31.67-mile area. Our favorite restaurant so far is Yeyo’s Mexican Grill on 8th Street. The tacos there are so good and very authentic, as are the rest of the items on the menu. This place was a food truck the first time we visited and has expanded into its new storefront location amongst a hodgepodge of other trendy and up and coming business establishments that attract a young and eclectic crowd of Bentonvillians.
Continue reading my full story on the You Must Be Trippin’ blog.