Pine Bluff native Hosea Jackson is gearing up to open 1911 Construction Materials LLC this spring.
He bought a former Barton’s lumber store property at 901 Commerce Road at the intersection with Martha Mitchell Expressway. Barton’s closed its Pine Bluff location earlier this year. In addition to the planned store, Jackson runs another business in Pine Bluff and believes his hometown is the ideal location in which to thrive.
“I chose Pine Bluff because I reside here and I want to be close to look at the daily activities of the business,” he said. “Eventually it will turn around and the population will rise again. We are there to be a service to the community, provide their construction material needs. We are not going to specialize in any particular kind. A friend of mine told me I cannot specialize in ‘I don’t have.”
He added: “We bought this property because I see an opportunity and I will make it work.”
Jackson said he intends to hire a total of four to six employees to work on the sales floor and in the lumberyard.
“We are going to convert it back into a building materials yard,” Jackson said. “We are working on it every day. In two weeks we will start stocking it. We should open by the first or second week of May. We will be open to everyone. We will do the same thing Barton’s did when Barton’s was there.”
The 1911 number carries great significance for Jackson. When he was a student at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Jackson pledged the fraternity Kappa Alpha Psi, which was founded in 1911.
“That is the year my favorite great-aunt Ruthie Lee Jackson was born,” Jackson said. “I figured it would be something different that no one else would do. I chose that year also because our company motto is we do business the old-fashioned way: by handshake.”
The added jobs come as good news to many locally, as the most recent unemployment numbers showed an uptick.
Pine Bluff recorded the third highest unemployment rate in January 2017 among 18 cities measured by the state labor department: 6.1 percent. Blytheville came in at 6.7 percent and El Dorado at 6.6 percent. February’s job numbers are expected to be released in early April.