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At Farmers Bank & Trust, we want to celebrate the fall season. We want to treat you and your family to fair tickets on us!

That’s why we’re giving away four tickets to the Columbia County Fair!

To enter, Like our Facebook page, share the post, and comment your favorite fair food before Friday, September 24, 2021, at noon CST to win 4 tickets to the Columbia County Fair. This includes armbands and Saturday, September 25 admission. Ride all the rides you want with the armband.

Go to the Columbia County Fair Facebook page HERE.


Guidelines:

To win the prize participants must do one of the following: 1) like Farmers Bank & Trust Facebook Page then like, share, and comment your favorite fair food on the Farmers Bank & Trust Columbia County Fair Giveaway or 2) walk into our Magnolia Main location at 200 E. Main Street and tell them you would like to be entered. One entry is allowed per Facebook profile or person. Participants must reside in Arkansas or Texas only.

Winners cannot be an employee or immediate relative of a Farmers Bank & Trust employee to include siblings, children, parents, or grandparents. Must be 18 years old or older to win. It is not necessary to be a Farmers Bank & Trust customer to win. The persons who win must reply to a Facebook message or phone call to claim the prize and receive further instructions before September 24, 2021, at 5 pm CST. Winners must sign Farmers Bank & Trust photo release form to be posted on the Bank’s social media pages.

Farmers Bank & Trust is the sole sponsor for this Contest. Farmers Bank & Trust is not responsible for participants that have Facebook security settings set to private so that Farmers Bank & Trust cannot see a participant’s Facebook engagement in any way. It is the responsibility of the participant to modify their security settings to open. No purchase is necessary to win. Purchasing does not increase chances of winning.

 


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According to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, salaried employees are with their employer an average of 4 years. At Farmers Bank & Trust, we’re celebrating an employee who has been with the Bank for 40 years! Denise Rogers is the Banking Research Officer and takes great pride in her unique role.

“I’ve never wanted to work anywhere else,” Rogers said. “There is nothing that I do every day that is too routine and gets boring.”

Denise helps the Bank customers and employees by researching extraordinary problems with almost any type of account.

“We have a number of customers who ask for Denise by name to assist with their issues,” Farmers Bank & Trust Chief Operations Officer Joe Pieratt said.

August 7, 1981

From her very first day at work with the Bank on August 7, 1981, Denise has worked in customer service. She graduated from Southern Arkansas University with a degree in Business Administration and a minor in Library Science.

“I started upstairs with a film machine,” Rogers explained. “When someone needed a copy of something that we didn’t have in the big filing cabinet, I would find it on the films, and I would mark it with a piece of tape and send it off to Little Rock to get a copy. Eventually, we got a machine that would make copies, and my library science background made it possible for me to use that equipment.”

As time went on, former CEO and current Chairman of the Board Bob Burns promoted Denise to Research Analyst in the late eighties. She developed the skills to analyze detailed reports and could explain why something happened on an account the day prior.

“I’ve always treated situations with customers the way I would want to be treated,” Rogers said. “I try to show people how to do things rather than just tell them.”

Denise is not only a tremendous help to the customers but her co-workers too.

Adaptability

“She is truly our ‘go-to’ person on a laundry list of topics,” Farmers Bank & Trust Customer Contact Center Vice President Judi Franks said. “She’s a fantastic resource for our department as well as other departments in the Bank. I often hear people say, ‘Let’s check with Denise to see what she knows about this.’”

The Bank’s HEART core values stand for Honor, Excellence, Adaptability, Respect, and Teamwork. Denise is a true representation of these and has been long before they were ever created. She has had to adapt to change over the years but said she is thankful to Farmers Bank & Trust for sticking with her.

“My longest relationship is with the Bank,” she said. “I worked here for 10 years before I met my husband, who was actually a customer. A co-worker at the time introduced us and we got married in 1991.”

She shared she will be 67 years old on August 24th, and fully intends to continue her work until she’s at least 70.

“This is definitely not a retirement,” she laughed. “We’re celebrating I’m still here!”

Farmers Bank & Trust will celebrate Denise with a private reception as a precaution to COVID-19.

Year-round BBQ

When people think of summer, they often think of barbecue. But to O.B. Crayton and his wife Harriett who operate Crayton’s BBQ food truck in Magnolia, barbecue isn’t limited to one season.

“People love barbecue just as much in the winter as the summer,” O.B. Crayton said. “Right now, they don’t want to have to be out in the heat. I’ve got one guy who has a big grill like mine, and he tells me he just comes and gets the barbecue from me rather than fire his grill up.”

The Crayton’s have spent most of their lives cooking for both pleasure and practicality. O.B. Crayton is a self-taught barbecue cook who was formerly married to a woman he said wasn’t a good cook. He said this made him play around in the kitchen and learn how to make his own food and he fell in love with it.

“It also made me vow to never eat Hamburger Helper ever again,” he said, laughing. “We used to have it three times a week, and I like to cook because I like to eat.”

O.B. and Harriett have been married for 28 years now. Crayton said it was his wife who started the business because she would grill leg quarters and cook sides for plates to be sold on Fridays at his job, Albemarle Corporation. The orders began with about 15, but sales grew quickly to 60 plates.

Later she cooked meals for their former church, Full Gospel Holy Temple.

Crayton’s BBQ Express

Before he retired, he and his wife opened a restaurant called Crayton’s BBQ Express. They sold barbecue and soul food at 617 S. Jackson Street, and operated it for about nine years. However, the restaurant was given to their daughter, Ashley Lambert. She is a lawyer who owns her own food truck, The Tipsy Turkey Shack. She sells turkey legs stuffed with various ingredients along with other fares. The restaurant, Crayton’s BBQ Express, was closed and did not reopen after the pandemic.

Now, the Crayton’s have been operating their present and updated food truck for about six months. The number one seller has been brisket followed closely by ribs. Other more unusual items to some food cravers include smoked turkey necks and pig’s feet. Recently, O.B. Crayton smoked 40 pigs’ feet for one order.

Sides and More

Harriett Crayton makes the side items and dares anyone who says they don’t like potato salad to try hers. It’s made with traditional ingredients but has a mixed mayonnaise and mustard base. She also makes baked beans, collard greens, yams, macaroni and cheese, and hot water cornbread.

In addition, she makes the items good for those with a sweet tooth. Some of the most popular items include peach cobbler, sweet potato pie, red velvet cake, chocolate cake, and pound cake.

“If you don’t have a passion and put love into it, it won’t be good no matter what you do,” Harriett Crayton said.

Her husband agreed.

“When she is tired, I don’t let her cook anything because it wouldn’t be the same.”

O.B. noticed a long time ago that he can give someone the same ingredients and teach them how to cook the item just like he does, but it won’t taste the same to customers who frequent his food truck.

“They will say, you didn’t cook it, you can give them the ingredients, but you can’t give them the love,” Crayton said.

Made with Love

The top sellers of the food truck – brisket and ribs – takes the longest time to prepare, about 11 to 12 hours. O.B. cooks those in his grill the night before he takes his truck to the plaza across from the United Methodist Church in Magnolia which is on 320 W. Main Street. The plaza is also where the somewhat new Dollar General is located and Chick-A-Dilly.

Normally, the truck runs from 1 p.m. until the food is sold out on Tuesdays and Thursdays. However, the truck may appear in that parking lot on other days if he is ready with the barbecue.

The couple laughs because for years people have knocked on their door at home asking if they had any barbecue for sale. Harriett said the food is on the truck, not in her home.

But the home is where the heart is for all barbecue and wonderful sides.

“Grilling in the backyard is one thing and it doesn’t take much preparation, but most people don’t think about feeding the masses,” he said. “It’s very hard.”

The Farmers Bank Foundation presented the Magnolia Fire Department with $5,000 in grant money to purchase vital rescue equipment, including a truck.

“As of January 1, 2021, the Magnolia Fire Department assumed the duties of Rescue/Extraction for all of Columbia County,” Assistant Fire Chief Randal Stevens said. “The local ambulance service discontinued its operations of these services.”

Stevens said the Magnolia Fire Department and Columbia County entered into a partnership, and this money will allow them to purchase a rescue truck, extrication tools, along other necessary rescue equipment.

“Firefighters choose daily to support and save the citizens they serve, and we are honored to support them in return,” Elizabeth Anderson, Executive Director of the Farmers Bank Foundation, said. “The Farmers Bank Foundation plans to make first responders a priority in grantmaking.”

The Farmers Bank Foundation’s giving priorities are to support local nonprofits whose mission is to purposefully enrich the quality of life in the Bank’s communities.

“The services that are being provided to the citizens of Magnolia and Columbia County, and anyone passing through our community, will be a tremendous asset and possibly a life-saving contribution,” Stevens said.

For more information about the Farmers Bank Foundation, click HERE.

Since 1906, Farmers Bank & Trust has called Magnolia and Columbia County home. From contributing over $1M to 100+ local organizations to the volunteer hours donated by our dedicated staff, our commitment to the community goes beyond the walls of our bank. Our community’s future is bright, and Farmers Bank & Trust is proud to be a part of it.


Enjoy Video Highlights from Farmers Bank & Trust. Check out our YouTube channel for more great video content! To Us, You’re Family. Now serving more locations in South Arkansas & Northeast Texas! To learn more about Farmers Bank & Trust, visit our webpage.

Member FDIC | Equal Housing Lender

#BankingWithHEART

 

The third annual Pedals for Compassion, a charity bike ride that benefits the domestic violence shelter in Columbia County, is scheduled for June 19 and more bikers are encouraged to join in on the ride.

Signing up for the event is easy and can be done HERE or on the day of the ride at Square Park in Magnolia.

Registration is $65 before June 19 and $70 on the day of the ride.

Debra Martin, Executive Director of the Compassion’s Foundation Domestic Violence Shelter, said last year’s event was incredible, even with the pandemic. The event had 150 participants and raised around $17,000.

“We are hoping with the good weather and relaxed COVID-19 restrictions to have even more riders this year,” Martin said.

This year’s event begins at 7:30 a.m. at the Magnolia Square Park on 117 North Jefferson downtown. Options for the ride include 15 miles, 35 miles, 65 miles, and 100 miles.

All riders who participate will receive swag bags, snacks, and drinks at all rest stops along their ride—which always has fun themes—and a delicious post-ride meal. Door prizes from generous area businesses will also be given away.

Postmasters Grill of Camden provides the meal for riders as they head back to the Square at the conclusion of their ride. Three bands, The Tuesday Knights, 79 South, and The Vybe will perform on the Magnolia Square for entertainment beginning at 10 a.m.

Community members who do not participate in the ride are still invited to bring their lawn chairs and enjoy the music. Admission for non-riders to the square will be $5 for a refreshing beer. Additionally, Postmasters Grill will have a food truck for all patrons to purchase food to enjoy while they listen to the bands.

Jeff Neill, an avid cycler from Magnolia said the Pedals for Compassion ride surprises some of the newcomers because they are not expecting it to be challenging. However, Southwest Arkansas includes hills they aren’t counting on, he said. As someone who participates in charity rides across the country, Neill said this one is known to him and other cyclists as one of the most supported and safest ones to participate in.

“I want to get behind this charity because these individuals need to find a place they can be safe again,” he said.

The Compassion’s Foundation provides lifesaving tools and immediate support to empower domestic violence victims and survivors to find safety and live free of abuse. Throughout the year,  the nonprofit holds other fundraisers beyond the bike ride, but this event leads the way in fundraising opportunities.

Lesley Thompson, ride Event D director, said Pedals for Compassion draws riders from the Magnolia area as well as Little Rock, Dallas, and Shreveport. Last year, someone from California traveled more than 1,500 miles to ride. She said she consistently hears good feedback.

“We draw on everything good that they feel is always lacking at other events, some of which is the quality of and excitement of the rest stops,” Thompson said. “The detail put into the route marks and visual awareness of support, both from law enforcement and support drivers are something else they like. They also like the post activities at the square.”

Charlie’s Story

There are many stories of hope with the Compassion’s Foundation. One woman goes by Charlie, and she said she was put through a window, had her teeth knocked out, and had a gun put to her head before she found out she could go to the Compassion’s shelter for help.

Charlie, who goes by that name to have her real identity protected, is not from Arkansas and had never heard of Compassion’s Foundation until 2019. She was 51 when she arrived for help and said she had never known what a shelter was until then.

It was there she met Compassion’s Shelter Manager Lacey Ogle and discovered services that not only nurtured her physical body such as food and clothing but also addressed her livelihood such as helping her find a job so she could become independent.

“If it wasn’t for Lacey and Compassion’s, I’d probably be dead,” Charlie said.

Ogle said Charlie is one of the success stories of Compassion’s Foundation domestic violence shelter.

“She was living in her car when she came to us,” Ogle said. “She arrived back in 2019 and exited roughly a month later on her own two feet independently. She had her own place and a job and was one of the most strong-willed women we had ever seen. She blew us away to be exact.”

Charlie said she remembers trying to hide out from her ex-husband and living in her car with her dog and no money because while they were married, he forced her to give him all her wages from her job.

“I was living in the car with my dog and didn’t have anything to eat,” Charlie said. “I was in front of this pizza place, and I had to go to ask them for a couple of pieces of pizza. I was starving to death. I don’t know what would have happened without the Compassion’s Foundation.”


For all other questions about the Pedals for Compassion event, please contact Lesley Thompson at (870-918-7755), Anne Couch at annecouch808@gmail.com, or the Pedals event email at pedals4compassion@gmail.com.

Mule Kick Owner, Christy Ouei
Mule Kick Owner, Christy Ouei

Mule Kick

Although things have certainly improved since many businesses were state-mandated to close last spring, local restaurants and salons in Magnolia, AR still feel the impact of COVID-19. At MuleKick in Magnolia, owner Christy Ouei had the challenge of closing last spring. She closed for two weeks in October due to COVID exposure among her staff.

MuleKick, which offers uncommon pizzas with various crusts, craft beer, a coffee bar, and ice cream, has 26 employees. Live music and other performances are a constant on the patio, known to sell out.

“We have a very strong customer base, and we were proud because we did shut down, and then so many came back when we opened back up,” she said. “Some of the most reliable customers have used the drive-thru to pick up meals, and for some of these customers, they have only gotten drive-thru or deliveries since the first shut down by the state in March.

Because of healthy delivery and drive-thru business, MuleKick could still do 30-percent of its regular business after the spring closings.

“This was compared to other places where it didn’t make sense to stay open,” she said. “COVID training is something MuleKick has implemented, and the staff was required to watch videos about correctly serving food and drinks. One of the training aspects is that each time a customer needs a refill, they bring them a fresh glass of their beverage.”

“MuleKick opened its doors in 2019, and the pandemic has been a big part of that,” she said. “We’ve spent as much time open in a pandemic as we have operating not in a pandemic. It’s easy to accept the new norm because we were new. MuleKick is all about the exceptional atmosphere, and except for having to wear a mask, our interaction with the customer has not changed.”

Spring Fever

Recently, there has been a sense of lightheartedness and sunny days are busy because Ouei thinks people are having an early case of spring fever, especially after being at home so much in 2020.

“People are hungry for normal, so if we present the same friendly face and experience when they come in, that is reassuring and comforting,” she said. MuleKick also sells T-shirts, coffee cups, and other gift items with their logo.

Tomarie’s Hair Fashions

Just minutes away from MuleKick is Tomarie’s Hair Fashions, which has been in business for 64 years, and it’s the longest established salon in Magnolia. There, the owner and two stylists are continuing to face business as the pandemic continues. State order requires the shop to have no more than ten people inside, including three women who work there, said Kristin Hawkins, stylist.

Everyone must also wear a mask to enter, and employees must take their temperature and have them fill out a piece of paper to serve as a tracking sheet should COVID be introduced to the shop somehow.

Tommie Shelts, owner of Tomarie's Hair Fashions
Tommie Shelts, owner of Tomarie’s Hair Fashions

Wearing masks all day while you cut, color, perm, and style hair is a challenge because it can get very hot. Tomarie’s owner, Tommie Shelts, said it is challenging.

“I don’t like wearing masks, but I do it for my customers’ safety,” she said. “I will be thankful when I don’t have to wear it anymore.”

When businesses, including salons, were closed by the state last March, Shelts’ staff were lucky because she had been paying unemployment on them for years, so they did have some income coming in.

“It was absolutely the first time any of us have ever had to draw it,” said Carolyn Yates, stylist. “I’m 72, and this was the first time I had to draw unemployment. The process of getting on unemployment was frustrating. It was not easy, and I did not like it.”

Several customers at Tomarie’s are elderly and have not been able to come back yet as their health is compromised. That has taken its toll on earnings.

“My personal income is probably about half of what it was before COVID. It’s that drastic of a difference,” Yates said. “But I would still rather be here than drawing unemployment.”

The Bright Side

Those customers who do have compromised health and come to the salon anyway are often one of the only places they get to go and visit others. Yates said she kept the Christmas tree up to make customers smile. Instead, she turned it into a colorful Mardi Gras celebration tree. She even brought some of her New Orleans souvenir beads.

“Making the people who come in feel happy is more important now than ever,” said Yates, who recently cooked a peanut butter and chocolate cake for all clients. “I have clients who call me, and they are in tears because they are afraid to leave their house. Others can’t stay away. We try to be very careful and clean everything, and we’ve had to change our habits a lot. I think our attitude is important.”

In addition to safety measures around the shop, the three employees of Tomarie’s attempt to do their best not to go many places.

“This year, I didn’t go to the stores for Christmas, and I didn’t see my sister and children for the holidays. We are limiting how many people we see when we are not here. We shop at times that are not crowded, which is early in the morning and not on the weekend.”

Farmers Bank & Trust stands ready to help you or your business with impacts from COVID-19. View COVID-19 resources online, here.

New Magnolia Main Teller Pods
New Magnolia Main Teller Pods

The Farmers Bank & Trust branch located at 200 East Main Street, also known as Magnolia Main, has completed a major renovation. The new design has enhanced and modernized the banking experience for customers in Magnolia, AR.

The biggest change that took place is new teller pods that will function just like the traditional teller line but will allow employees to easily build relationships with customers without a wall in between them.

“We want this new lobby to be light, bright, and welcoming for our customers,” Joe Pieratt, Farmers Bank & Trust Chief Operations Officer said. “We want them to feel comfortable when they walk into the Bank.”

New Magnolia Main Café
New Magnolia Main Café

A new café is also an exciting new addition, featuring a Starbucks brewer, free WiFi, charging stations, and a seating area where customers can relax and utilize mobile banking tools.

“We are excited about this remodel,” Monty Harrington, Farmers Bank & Trust Magnolia Market President said. “The lobby will still be very open, but it won’t feel as large and intimidating. The new café will help with that as well. We want it to be a place where customers can relax.”

New Magnolia Main New Accounts
New Magnolia Main New Accounts

Pieratt said while the experience will be modernized, the Bank also wants to honor and tie in the roots of how Farmers Bank & Trust began. The café features a wall of historical photos dating back to 1906 when the Bank was chartered in Magnolia, Arkansas.

Stop by the Magnolia Main location today to check it out, don’t forget to wear your mask!

Pictures by: Angela Pieratt Pictures


MEMBER FDIC | Equal Housing Lender

A woman named Missy stood out in front of a Wal-Mart in Texarkana about a year and a half ago with all her possessions next to her feet. She felt lost and afraid in a city where she knew only one person. He had physically and verbally abused her and taken drugs. Finally, the abuse just turned into what she called a “snowball progression.”

When she moved to be with him from Palestine, TX, she didn’t know about his drug abuse. “I didn’t realize he was using, and I did not want to be part of that life,” she said. She stayed with him for eight months with her back against the wall as he warned her she could not leave. praying hands

One day he finally did allow her to go if she promised she would not call the police. She thought about going to the local shelter, but she knew that would be too close. She needed to escape to a town further away. So, she called Compassion’s Foundation, Inc. in Magnolia, AR. When she called, she was told she would need to get a ride to the facility, and then they could help her. A tender-hearted older woman saw Missy’s desperate situation and decided to help her by giving her a ride to Magnolia. “God, intervened. I know I looked like I was in dire straights with the few bags that I had outside of Wal-Mart,” she said.

The first couple of weeks at the shelter, Missy said she mostly just slept and recuperated. The women there were kind and asked if she would like to go to church services, but she said couldn’t. “I just wasn’t trying to hear that yet,” she said. What she found particularly nice about the shelter was how much the community supports it. By donating clothing, the community truly makes a difference for women who need these items. “We were freely able to get something to go look for a job or to go to church in,” she said. Donations from the community also paid for prescriptions women needed while in the shelter and even sometimes beyond. “He had broken my false teeth, and I was pretty sure this was going to hurt my chances of getting a job,” she said. “Somehow, a Texarkana dentist fixed them. The money got donated, or he did it. I don’t know.”

As soon as she had her teeth, Missy was ready to work and began at a local restaurant for five months. But she had her hopes set on a job at another local company where she could make a better living. Her hopes became a blessing when she received a job at that company.

She said she doesn’t know what she would have done without the Compassion’s Foundation, Inc. and the great gift they gave her of starting over. “If I was stuck at Wal-Mart, I don’t know what I would have done. I probably would have ended up in another relationship,” she said. “The advocates were supportive, and they knew what I was doing. It was kind of like a family there. I mean, they are strict, and they have rules, but that is so people don’t take advantage.” Missy said she knows the statistics for women going back to their abuser are high, so the advocates work with the clients and teach them independence. “I don’t want to be dependent on anyone again,” she said.

Another aspect of her new life is her church home, which she considers her second family. She also has taken on a second job at a local restaurant since they provided her a job during a temporary lay-off. “I figure it’s the right thing to do because it wouldn’t be right for them to train me only to work here a few months,” she said.

clothesThe gifts she first received at Compassion’s Foundation, Inc. are things she never will forget. Gifts were donated from surrounding businesses for holidays and a whole closet of toys for the children living there. She said they have a big clothes basket donated by the college students with everything a woman would want, from personal items to hygiene items to snacks. Picking out clothes for a job was incredibly easy because the shelter had things separated by size, she said. “From your underwear to the jacket you might need, they had it,” she said. “And I thoroughly enjoyed being there.”

For last year’s Christmas, Missy remembers an advocate inviting the clients to their home for a lovely meal. While the meal was beautiful, Missy said she was just glad the shelter made her safe. “I would have been ok staying at the shelter eating a ham sandwich than being in an abusive relationship,” she said. “They were so family-oriented. They would not let me feel like I was doing without.”

Missy wants everyone who reads her story to know that help is out there if they are in an abusive situation. She no longer feels worthless as she did when she was in the relationship. She encourages those in and around Magnolia to choose Compassion’s Foundation, Inc. for help. “It’s very humbling to have someone help you,” she said. “If people could get around the fear of change, they could get around being mentally and physically abused.”

To learn more about Compassion’s Foundation, Inc. in Magnolia, AR, please visit this link or call (870) 235-1414.