October 19, 2016 Edition

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County Judge Ann Pulliam (seated) and Walnut Ridge Mayor Charles Snapp (front, right) try out some of the first tacos at the new Taco Bell in Walnut Ridge. With them are (back, from left): Daniel McClure, manager; Jimmy Adams, supervisor; Jackie McClure, owner; and John Thomison, who is the unopposed Democratic nominee for county judge. In the foreground is a plaque in memory of Judge Dale Freeman to recognize his help with the project.

Taco Bell opens with
ceremonial 'first bites'

John Bland

Taco Bell opened in Walnut Ridge with a bumper crowd on Friday and with local police officers directing traffic in the front of the restaurant during peak hours. Walnut Ridge Mayor Charles Snapp said he was told that Friday's grand opening sales were great.

On Thursday prior to the opening, Taco Bell invited several groups and individuals to the restaurant to sample their food. Among them were Walnut Ridge, Hoxie and county officials and employees.

County Judge Ann Pulliam and Mayor Snapp took some of the first bites of tacos to symbolically mark the county and city's effort to assist Taco Bell in locating here. Also on hand was John Thomison, unopposed Democratic nominee for county judge.

Taco Bell acquired a plaque in memory of County Judge Dale Freeman, to recognize his help with the project. Judge Freeman died in September.

David Cook, general contractor, said, "We've built a lot of stores, and we've never built in a town where the mayor and county judge worked together in such harmony to help with the project."

At the June 14 groundbreaking ceremony, Jackie McClure, owner, said that without the help of the mayor and Judge Freeman, the process of opening a Taco Bell here might have taken as much as two years. McClure is franchisee of the primary investment company.

At the Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce quarterly meeting and Business Expo on Friday, Mayor Snapp shook John Thomison's hand and publically thanked him for pledging to continue the united effort for Walnut Ridge and all of Lawrence County.

The Taco Bell is located on the site that was the location of Tolson Motor Co., on Hwy. 67B North, for many years. The site is located next to Aaron's, Inc. and the AT&T store. The restaurant is expected to provide jobs for some 20 to 30 people.

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