Commission unveils 2014 Fayetteville Insider’s Guide, local profile selections

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The Fayetteville Advertising and Promotion Commission unveiled the 2014 Fayetteville Insider’s Guide during a news conference held last week inside the Town Center on the downtown square.

The annual publication offers information for visitors and people looking to relocate to the area, and serves as a resource for local residents. The guide features a pull-out map, lists of attractions and dining options, a festival calendar and more.

2014 Insider’s Guide

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As usual, the book features profiles of five local people who help shape the community. This year’s list includes Matt Miller, a self-taught artist and owner of Matt Miller Studios on the downtown square; Ben Mills, owner of local craft brewery Fossil Cove Brewing Company; Rick Boone, owner of longtime Fayetteville business Rick’s Bakery; Mo Elliot, owner of Fayettechill clothing company; and Jessica Phelan, Fayetteville High School volleyball coach and assistant athletic director.

Also included is a page dedicated to the memory of John Logan Burrow and Bob Davis.

Burrow was a local lawyer and longtime Washington County Election Commission chair who provided legal services for the A&P Commission. He died in March at the age of 67.

Davis, 56, was a former Fayetteville alderman and longtime member of the A&P Commission. He died in February following a long bout with cancer.

The new guide will be distributed through state tourism information centers, and at several local attractions including the Arkansas Air & Military Museum, the Clinton House Museum, the Fayetteville Farmers’ Market and at the Fayetteville First Thursday events.

Included below are all five of this year’s profiles taken from the Fayetteville Insider’s Guide:

Locally Inspired Art

Matt Miller

When you visit Fayetteville’s Downtown Square, you will realize why the city has become such a hub for the arts. One of Fayetteville’s most prolific artists is Matt Miller. The self-taught artist and owner of Matt Miller Studios on the Square developed a passion for painting as a way to express himself through creativity and visual expression.

Miller describes his art as “abstract impressionism,” using imagery to create the impression of figures. “I really enjoy the abstract nature of balancing texture, color and line work,” Miller said. “I let the paint guide me and build a composition off of the first few marks on a white canvas. Finding the balance and making it flow and feel natural is my favorite part of the process.”

He said that one of the most crucial aspects of creating art is the location and environment in which it is created. “My art is inspired by Fayetteville, and is an expression
of what Fayetteville has to offer,” Miller said. “Art is an expression of community and it appeals to people because they can relate to it.” His favorite part of being an artist is the human interaction and the personal engagement of explaining a piece of his work.

Fossil Cove Brewing Co.

Ben Mills

Fayetteville is quickly becoming a town known for its local beer scene. In a little over a year, a couple of local breweries increased to seven. Ben Mills, a local of Northwest Arkansas, knew this was the place he wanted to open his brewery. After college, Mills traveled to Colorado to work at a brewery and learn the ropes. After gaining experience and attending brewing school in California, he returned to open Fossil Cove Brewing Company.

“Fayetteville was an untapped market,” Mills said. “It’s a great place for local brewing because of the young demographic and all of the interesting groups of people that call this place home.” Fossil Cove now has more than 50 accounts with bars and restaurants in Arkansas. Mills said they focus mainly on American-style beers and Belgian ales.

“It’s amazing what a tight-knit brewing community we have here,” Mills said. Even though all of the breweries are competitive, Mills said the competition has always been friendly. They support each other and often participate in events and promotions together. “You can’t find that in any other industry,” Mills said. Fossil Cove is also a partner in the Fayetteville Ale Trail with six other breweries.

Rick’s Bakery

Rick Boone

In 1980, a University of Arkansas college student named Rick Boone decided to open up a doughnut shop to pay for his tuition. Little did he know, baking would become his passion and true calling in life. Over the past 34 years, Rick’s Bakery has become a Fayetteville staple for both locals and visitors alike.

Perhaps the most unique aspect of the bakery is the viewing window where you can watch the bakers and decorators work. “I really wanted to make the bakery more of an experience for our customers,” Boone said. “Fayetteville has a unique personality, and I wanted my bakery to match the vibe of the city.”

The bakery is eclectic, with everything from cakes, pastries, pies and breads to gift merchandising, a full deli and a wedding department. It has also become a destination for decorating parties for kids and adults to get the full bakery experience. Another distinctive feature of the bakery is the fact that they are the only bakery licensed for making Razorback-branded foods, like cookies and cakes.

Whether you have a special occasion, a sweet tooth, or you are just looking for a bakery unlike any other, Rick’s Bakery is a must-see when you are in Fayetteville.


Mo Elliot

Fayetteville has a unique dichotomy that Mo Elliot has built a business around: it’s a bustling college town housed in the quiet Ozark Mountains. The two seemingly opposite locations create a busy-but-laid-back culture, in which Elliot’s outdoor apparel brand, Fayettechill, has thrived.

The idea for Fayettechill took shape during Elliot’s junior year at the University of Arkansas. “There was not a company that was doing what we are doing in the region, representing the outdoor culture on a national and regional scale,” he said. “There is an outdoor industry here and it wasn’t being shown in a clothing brand.”

Fayettechill runs the gamut in what it offers, from clothing to outdoor essentials to art. Elliot sells merchandise in the company’s retail home, Basecamp, located in Fayetteville’s entertainment district, and at outdoor events in an airstream- trailer-turned-store. Practically everything about Fayettechill is still growing. Its line of merchandise will soon encompass rain jackets, backpacks and button-up shirts, while the business itself is expanding beyond Arkansas’ borders. Perhaps what’s most impressive about the company is its staggering success. Fayettechill was an Arkansas Business of the Year winner in 2014, an incredible feat for a company whose founder is in his mid-20s.

Despite its expansion beyond Fayetteville, the name “Fayettechill” is sticking. “We’re inspired by a region,” Elliot said. “You don’t ask Patagonia or Colombia [sic] to change their name. We’re inspired by this area.”

Before exploring the outdoors in Fayetteville, stop by Basecamp at 329B N. West Ave. to see what Fayettechill and the region have to offer.

Fayetteville High Athletics

Jessica Phelan

Fayetteville has become a powerhouse in both high school and college athletics. Jessica Phelan, Fayetteville High School (FHS) volleyball coach and assistant athletic director, knows a lot about both. Phelan came to the University of Arkansas to play on the school’s recently added volleyball team.

Considering it was only the program’s second year, Phelan had the opportunity to be a part of a lot of “firsts.” She played for the first team to win the SEC Conference Title and became the first All-American on the team. “We had a lot of success early,” Phelan said. “I was blessed to be a part of a successful program, and I developed friendships that have lasted well beyond my college years.”

After she graduated, Phelan moved from being a player to a coach.

She has been coaching the FHS volleyball team for the last 10 years, building great success there. Under her direction, her team won the high school’s first volleyball State Championship in 2012 and was ranked nationally. That same year, Phelan was named the State of Arkansas Coach of the Year.

“One of the fun things about coaching is you get to meet girls at a young age and are able to see them transform into young women,” Phelan said. She and her husband, who is a tennis coach at FHS, live in Fayetteville with their three children and co-coach the Ozark Juniors Volleyball Club. Phelan said Fayetteville is “home” to her family and she feels fortunate to have the support of the community, from her days as a college athlete, to her coaching career and raising children.