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Businesses Extend Hours, Add Staff For Film Festival

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BENTONVILLE (KFSM) -- The Bentonville Film Festival is only in its second year, but it's having a huge impact on Bentonville businesses.

Last year, the event was planned in just four months. However, this year, event organizers -- and businesses -- had much more time to plan for the downtown festival, so they're even better prepared.

For businesses, this is a chance to potentially earn extra revenue and get more exposure.

Selina Aguirre, who co-owns the kid's store Rollie Pollie on the square, said she'll keep the store open two to three hours later every day. She said she will also double her staff for the festival.

She said last year, Geena Davis came into her store with her daughter, and she's looking forward to seeing if any other celebrities will be coming into her store this year.

Aguirre said all the store owners on the square came together to say they'll have extended hours, since there will be a lot of events happening later in the day. The businesses are hoping that the families attending the film festival also venture out to explore the square.

During the festival's inaugural year, businesses weren't fully prepared for all the extra people the festival brought in.

"A lot of people in town were not aware of what was going on," Aquirre said. "I had customers coming in and asking what's going on in the square..there's a lot of movement. This year there seems to be a lot. The word is out -- everybody's more aware, and everyone's on the same page."

With the extra planning time,  event planners could do even more with the festival. Several studios are offering free screenings, and the event should be easier to navigate as well.

"Last year, this all came together so quickly we didn't really have a chance to expand the platform like we were able to do this year," said Trevor Drinkwater, co-founder of the Bentonville Film Festival. "We also spread out around Bentonville. We had some events in Rogers so people were moving around town and didn't feel like we were part of one big festival."