Women-Owned Restaurants Up 40-Percent in Arkansas in Recent Years

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Business is booming for female business owners.

According to the National Restaurant Association, the amount of restaurants, owned by women, is rapidly catching up to their male counterparts.

Indicating that the industry is changing with the times, and so have womens’ roles in society.

Restaurant owner Lycia Shrum owns Blackboard Grocery and Eatery along Dickson Street in Downtown Fayetteville.

“December 11th of 2014 is when we opened. We definitely hit the floor running and were well received by the community right off the bat,” Shrum said.

The glass ceiling by definition is an upper limit to professional advancement.

Women restaurant owners in Arkansas have been rapidly breaking through that glass ceiling.

Statewide, restaurant sales are projected to top four-billion dollars in Arkansas this year, and the industry accounts for 11-percent of jobs for the state.

In fact, women are the most rapidly growing segment for restaurant owners jumping by nearly 40 percent in recent years according to Kathy Deck with the Center For Business & Economic Research at the University of Arkansas.

 “One of the things we know from the economic census is that the pace of women owning restaurants is outpacing just all restaurants growing, that means women are becoming more and more of a percentage of the folks who own restaurants over time,” Deck said.

Shrum is proud to stand on the shoulders of women before her, who were not able to pursue their dream, simply because of who they were.

It’s definitely great to have an opportunity to do something we love despite our gender,” Shrum said.

Just a few decades ago, a woman may not have been able to own their own business.

Shrum thinks the women in her family before her would be proud of what she’s doing, and she hopes she can help other women open doors in the restaurant business.

We asked Shrum what she thought her Great Great Grandmother might think about her owning her own business and prospering..

“I think she [Shrum’s great grandmother] would be super proud, I have a Great Aunt that.. on International Women’s Day she was like, I’m so proud of you for what you are doing, so it’s rewarding,” Shrum said.

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