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Daily Inspiration: Meet Molly Arnold

Today we’d like to introduce you to Molly Arnold.

Molly, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
In 1973, I chose Fayetteville as my hometown. I like to say, “I’m not from here but I got here as quick as I could”. Born in Germany and raised a military brat, I wanted roots upon becoming an adult. So as my family left for my dad’s next duty station, I chose to day behind. I liked the racial diversity of Fayetteville and the fact that though it was small city, it had a metropolitan vibe. Although I liked living in Fayetteville and was welcomed in by many, I sometimes felt like I didn’t fit in not being local born.

After years of lamenting about the continued deterioration and teardown of downtown, I was challenged by my husband, Bruce, to do something about it. We purchased two condemned properties- 227 Hay Street which became Rude Awakening coffee house with an upstairs loft apartment & 223-231 Franklin Street where we opened White Trash & colorful accessories and allowed others to pursue their dreams of owning a small business. It was downtown, amongst the others that had adopted Fayetteville as their home, that I felt a true sense of place and community.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
The city was not happy that I wanted to save and renovate property that they wanted torn down for a surface parking lot. They made the rehab process difficult and caused cost overruns, but we did it. At the time, banks had no vision of a revitalized downtown being anything other than new buildings with no faith that restaurants or retail shops would succeed downtown, making financing difficult.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
Prior to being all-in downtown, my career was as an accountant office/operations manager with various businesses- a carpet cleaning company, a car dealership, a motorcycle dealership, an architectural firm, and lastly a technology company. I kept working for others until about seven years ago. I have a knack for hiring great, dedicated people.

More than being a small business owner, I am most proud of being a pioneer in Fayetteville’s downtown revitalization. A former city manager referred to my business as the tipping point for downtown after many years of effort.

We’re always looking for the lessons that can be learned in any situation, including tragic ones like the Covid-19 crisis. Are there any lessons you’ve learned that you can share?
What I took away from Covid was a strong reminder to not take anything for granted, especially a promise of tomorrow. It renewed my efforts to be kinder, more giving, and to keep in touch with people.

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  1. Rich Wheeler

    August 18, 2021 at 11:50 pm

    Fayetteville has been blessed with you two, more than most people know. Your support for down town has gone alone ways. Thank you for choosing Fayetteville.

  2. Edward Morley

    August 19, 2021 at 12:14 am

    congratulations, well deserved.

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