Mountain Home, AR

This article was first published in Suddenlink’s employee newsletter in August 2008. It has been modified for republication here, as one installment in an occasional series on communities served by Suddenlink.

 

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Mountain Home, Ark., has earned more than its fair share of national attention in the last 18 months.

In February 2007, American City BusinessJournals ranked Mountain Home eleventh on their list of the top 100 U.S. retirement locations . In January 2008, Field & Stream ranked the community second on its list of the 20 best “fishing towns in America.” Three months later, Outdoor Life ranked Mountain Home first on its list of the 200 “best places to live.”

These accolades are no surprise to the locals, who are well versed in the area’s natural wonders. Sitting twelve miles due south of the Arkansas-Missouri border, Mountain Home’s slogan is “Three Rivers, Two Lakes, One Beautiful Life.” The rivers include White, North Fork, and Buffalo National. The two lakes are Bull Shoals and Norfork. And that’s not all. Mountain Home is also within easy driving distance of two national forests: Mark Twain and Ozark.

These outdoor recreation opportunities – plus the community’s affordable cost of living – have contributed to its steady growth during the last forty years (from a population of roughly 2,000 in the late 1960’s to more than 12,000 today) – and to its popularity among retirees from Illinois, Wisconsin, California and the east coast.

All told, retirees account for nearly 40% of the local population – rivaling the count in other retirement hot spots served by Suddenlink, like Georgetown, Texas, and New Bern, N.C.

Ron Vincent, system manager for Mountain Home, said his team enjoys a good relationship with the retirees and they tend to be loyal customers, relying heavily on Suddenlink high-speed Internet service to stay in touch with their families, especially their grandchildren.

Maryce Cunningham, the community and government affairs manager for the Mid South Region, added: “Whenever the Mountain Home team hosts a customer appreciation day, the retail office and parking lot are packed with retirees, all of whom seem to be very fond of our local staff.”

According to the online Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture, Mountain Home grew up around a public school known as the “Male and Female Academy,” which was co-founded in the late 1850’s by Orrin Dodd and Professor John Howard, a minister and schoolmaster. When the Civil War started, a lack of students forced the academy to close, but it re-opened after the war, as new residents and businesses entered the area. Mountain Home was officially incorporated and recognized as the seat of Baxter County in 1888.

Today, Mountain Home hosts a branch campus for Arkansas State University (ASU), which serves approximately 1,200 students, and Baxter Regional Medical Center, the largest hospital in a 50- to 60-mile radius, with more than 100 doctors and 1,000 employees on staff.

The community and surrounding area are also home to branches of Eaton Corp. (a manufacturing conglomerate), Baxter Laboratories, and Ranger Boats – with the latter located in the nearby (and creatively named) Flippin, Ark. (In fact, there are many creative names for communities in the area, including Monkey Run and Buzzard Roost.)

Ron Vincent and his team – including Beverly Quick, customer care manager, and Joey Crawford, field systems manager, both of whom have lived in the area for 30-plus years – are excited about the prospects for Suddenlink as the community continues to grow.

In fact, growth is what has most impressed long-timers like Quick and Crawford. They recalled that Mountain Home was the site where Wal-Mart opened its eleventh store; the global retailer now has two stores in the area – and nearly 7,000 around the world.

Mountain Home’s growth also means opportunities for Suddenlink’s commercial business, with a steadily expanding universe of local apartment complexes, chain hardware stores, and banks.

Vincent, Quick, and Crawford are also proud of the constructive relationship Suddenlink has maintained with community and business leaders in the area.

“Suddenlink is there for us,” said Eddie Majeste, executive director of the Mountain Home Area Chamber of Commerce. “Not only do they offer high-speed internet and hundreds of cable channels, their community spirit is well known. Whether it’s a community-wide event or simply an effort to assist people less fortunate, we know Ron Vincent and his team are here to help.”

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