Cherokee Nation Businesses opens Legends storefront in Arkansas

BY D. SEAN ROWLEY
Senior Reporter
09/25/2019 09:00 AM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
The Legends Resort & Casino storefront in Russellville, Arkansas, maintains a rotating staff of two to four employees from other Cherokee Nation Entertainment venues. CNE officials are waiting to see if they can build a casino near Russellville. COURTESY
TAHLEQUAH – During his Sept. 19 report to the Tribal Council, Cherokee Nation Businesses CEO Chuck Garrett was asked for an update on a proposed casino near Russellville, Arkansas.

CNB officials are waiting to see if they receive the go-ahead from local officials and the Arkansas Racing Commission to build a resort and casino. And Garrett explained that the tribe had already established a presence in downtown Russellville with an office storefront.

“That’s an opportunity for people to come in and learn more about the project, learn more about the Cherokee Nation and Cherokee Nation Businesses, as well as express their interest in potential employment opportunities,” Garrett said. “It’s a big presence in the community and been very well received.”

Sited at 116 S. Commerce Ave., the Russellville office maintains a rotating staff of two to four CNB employees with whom locals can consult.

“The Legends Resort & Casino storefront was opened with the purpose of being a good community partner, and because of the value we see in having an employee presence in Russellville,” Molly Jarvis, CNB senior vice president, said. “People have a lot of questions about the project, and also about what it is like to work for a new company coming to their community. The office is established to help the community and the Pope County area get to know us.”

Jarvis said connecting with the community involved more than sitting in an office and waiting for the curious to drop by. CNB is doing business with local establishments and taking part in events.

“It’s anything from getting the office up and established to buying furniture, a vehicle, promotional items from businesses in Pope County,” she said. “There is also philanthropic activity. We were a sponsor in the River Valley United Way’s ‘Havana Nights’ event. We supported the Downtown Art Walk and participated in the Pope County Fair.”

Since the storefront opened its doors Sept. 5, a common inquiry from locals is the possibility of employment. Jarvis said hiring is not imminent, but the Legends Resort & Casino office is taking and keeping information provided by potential applicants.

“We have the Legends Arkansas website, where people can give their name, contact information and career interest,” Jarvis said. “We are collecting that information, and when the time comes to hire people for jobs, we will be able to check there and work toward making hires.”

Those wishing to provide information can visit legendsarkansas.com and click on “Careers.”

A CNB casino in Russellville is not yet a done deal. The application window remains open into November. The CNB application has the support of the Pope County Quorum Court, signed Aug. 13 after a special meeting was called. Before the meeting, the Choctaw Nation and Tri-Peaks/Hard Rock Cafe claimed they would not submit new casino proposals.

“We have received the exclusive endorsement of the county legislative body,” Garrett told the Tribal Council. “That’s a required endorsement to obtain the license. We are very proud of that. It was hard earned and I think well-earned…. We expect to continue lobbying the elected officials, learning in the community, talking to the community, understanding what their preferences are, and trying to translate that into an absolutely world-class venue there, and I am very confident that our team is focused and has the right approach.”
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