This week thousands of Walmart associates will come to Northwest Arkansas for the annual shareholders’ meeting. Northwest Arkansas businesses are attracting Walmart shareholders by offering special deals like at Qdoba on Dickson Street in Fayetteville.
Lambros Karropoulos from South Africa is one of thousands of Walmart shareholders in the area eating and spending money locally.
“It’s really been taking a look at Dickson Street, seeing what she has to offer and all of the local community members and everybody has been incredibly friendly, so stopping for a great beer and a great meal,” Karropoulos said.
With University of Arkansas students being out of town, restaurants workers said it boost business the entire week they are here.
“It’s helping a lot. We see a lot of crowds here, at night they come in have a drink with us and we’ve actually had a lot of people from South Africa so far and they are a great crowd,” Carrie Churchill, Qdoba assistant manager, said.
Shareholders not only help chain restaurants like Qdoba, but also helps local businesses like Tokyo Sushi promote its cuisine to international customers.
“If we get more shareholders coming here then we are spread internationally and we get to share what we have over here combined the American culture and Japanese cuisine,” Jenny Jeong, restaurant owners’ daughter, said.
Her sister Ivy Jeong said they welcome the extra business during this annual event.
“When they come to restaurants such as this, they spend quite an amount of money so we really appreciate it,” Ivy Jeong said.
Once shareholders head home, they will take souvenirs bought at local stores back to their loves ones.
“Mostly been gifts specifically Arkansas, go Razorbacks, and really some great clothing and apparel, which we don’t have back home,” Karropoulos said.
This is the first time around 350 shareholders from South Africa are attending the shareholders’ meeting. Last year Walmart officials announced they were buying 51% stake of Massmart stores in that country.