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Stepping Up to Give Back
By Cody Moore, photography by Melissa Donner

When Chris Gamble, owner of Gamble Home Furnishings, saw the immense need for an outdoor venue in Northeast Arkansas, he decided to do something about it. Gamble’s latest venture, Shop Local Park, was opened with the hope of providing an event space unlike any other in Jonesboro that could also double as a retail space for local businesses.

Gamble Home Furnishings, formerly known as Gamble and Sons Discount Furniture, was founded by Gamble’s parents, Dan and Wanda, in downtown Manila in 1990. Since then, the family-owned company has opened several locations throughout Northeast Arkansas, including the two Jonesboro locations – one at 5036 Highway 49 and another inside The Mall at Turtle Creek.

Though Gamble Home Furnishings has seen many changes throughout the years, its mission has always remained the same.

“Our mission is, ‘Furnishing lives by looking forward and giving back,’” said Gamble. “It basically means that we are looking forward for new styles and trends to bring to our customers, while giving back to the community that has supported us along the way.”

Gamble Home Furnishings is no stranger to giving back to the Northeast Arkansas community. Through its “Buy A Bed, Give A Bed” initiative, for every mattress that is sold, Gamble Home Furnishings provides a mattress to organizations and foster families in the area.

“Giving back is included in our mission statement for a significant reason,” said Gamble. “I just want to do what I can to help this community. After all, Gamble Home could never have come as far as it has without our customers, and our customers are this community.”

Along with giving back to Jonesboro however it can, Gamble Home Furnishings also works to provide an exceptional experience to each customer who visits any of its locations. Gamble Home’s Shop Local Park was originally created to amplify the customer experience at its Highway 49 location but quickly evolved into much more.

“We strive to give our customers an uncompromising shopping experience, so I wanted to create a space for not only our product to expand and grow, but for our customers to enjoy,” said Gamble. “Say you’re shopping for furniture and your kids start getting restless and need something to do while you finish up your purchase. We have games and toys on the lawn for kids to play without our customers having to worry about where they are or what they’re doing. It’s about going the extra mile for our customers.”

Located directly beside Gamble Home Furnishings’ Highway 49 location lies Gamble Home’s Shop Local Park, a large industrial space that includes an outdoor lawn area, amphitheater, several retail spaces and the Gonzo Event Center.

Though the outdoor park was finished in July 2018, final construction on the overall project was finished in March of this year.

“Lots of time, research, planning, designing, redesigning and discussion with community members about what Jonesboro needed went in to the Shop Local Park project,” said Gamble. “There isn’t another venue like Shop Local Park anywhere around here. We wanted to provide a free and beautiful space for people to just hang out and have a good time.”

Along with being an open space for customers and the public to enjoy, Gamble Home’s Shop Local Park also serves as an event space alternative. Local Fest, a two-day local music festival, was held in June at Shop Local Park’s amphitheater. Shop Local Park’s 12,000-square-foot Gonzo Event Center has seen an array of local events, as well.

“We’ve hosted nonprofit galas, fundraisers, concerts, shopping events, parties, weddings, receptions, just about anything you can throw at it,” said Gamble.

Along with various booked events, Gamble Home’s Shop Local Park also hosts its own events each month.

“Gamble Home’s Shop Local Park hosts movie nights every Thursday night that are free to the community,” said Gamble. “We also host several events where we invite local craftsman and artisans to set up a booth and sell their products.”

Among Shop Local Park’s upcoming events are the Cornhole Classic and Food Truck Fest, co-hosted with East Arkansas Broadcasters on Oct. 12, and Gamble Home’s Fall Festival, co-hosted with Brookland School District on Oct. 29. Both of these events are free to the public.

“Jonesboro needs a space like this, because it’s so versatile,” said Gamble Home Furnishings Director of Marketing Sarah Hunt. “We have the capabilities to host such a wide range of events suiting everyone’s needs.

“We love giving back to the community, so being able to offer this space and host family-oriented, safe and free public events is why we are so passionate about Shop Local Park.”

Though Gamble Home’s Shop Local Park is the perfect space for any event, either indoor or outdoor, several local businesses also call the park home.

Businesses such as Stressless, SWANK, Rest + Revive, Bassett Furniture and CrewFit Gym, the latter owned by Gamble’s wife, Sarah, are all located on the park grounds, as well.

Despite only being open for a short period of time, Gamble Home’s Shop Local Park has already received an abundance of support from the Jonesboro community.

“The response to Shop Local Park has been great,” said Gamble. “We have seen such an outpouring of support and encouragement about everything we have put on and hosted so far. We hope that the community continues to show its love and support for us and the park so that we can continue to give back in ways that we haven’t been able to tap into just yet.”

Gamble Home’s Shop Local Park is located at 5036 Highway 49 and is open to the public. For more information on booking Gamble Home’s Shop Local Park or to stay updated on all announcements, contact Sarah Hunt at sarahh@shopgambles.com or find Gamble Home’s Shop Local Park on Facebook.