Axios Northwest Arkansas

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Welcome to Friday eve.

⛈️ T-storms today with highs near 70.

☔️ Situational awareness: Due to forecast inclement weather, Downtown Springdale will postpone its Art Walk events and cancel this week's LIVE! at Turnbow concert.

Today's newsletter is 776 words — a 3-minute read.

1 big thing: Cooks Venture files Chapter 7

This building is at the address listed as Cooks Venture's place of business in its bankruptcy filing. Photo: Worth Sparkman/Axios

Six months after shutting its doors, poultry startup Cooks Venture declared bankruptcy.

  • Its Chapter 7 designation filed Friday means proceeds from the sale of any assets will go to its creditors.

Why it matters: Questions remain about how Cooks Venture spent an estimated $150 million of venture capital and if the Pioneer chicken breed — its intellectual property — will sell to another company.

State of play: The company claimed between $1 million and $10 million in assets, but $50 million to $100 million in liabilities, according to the filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. Cooks' creditors number between 100 and 199.

  • An estimated 90,000 live chickens — with immediate needs of feed, payroll, rent and utilities — were noted in the filing.
  • Blake Evans, who managed the company after it shuttered, signed the documents and served as the designated representative through the bankruptcy process.

Between the lines: The largest equity interest holders listed include Cooks CA (32.9%), and investment firms Tasseo (32.6%) and Cultivian Sandbox (22.8%).

  • Cooks founder and initial CEO Matthew Wadiak held 0.0444% equity and Evans just 0.0024%.

The fine print: Three Cooks Ventures entities — the parent company, plus Cooks Venture Poultry and Cooks Venture Poultry Jay [Oklahoma] — filed bankruptcy paperwork.

  • The Jay entity estimated its assets' value at $500,000 to $1 million.
  • Wadiak still owned 85% of the Jay company, but the parent company had a proxy agreement to control his interest, according to the filing.

Keep reading for what we're watching

2. 🛒 Walmart country, Walmart shoppers

Data: Chain Store Guide; Note: Stores under the same brand name have been combined, e.g. Walmart and Walmart Supercenter; Chart: Axios Visuals

Walmart continued to dominate the grocery market in its home base in 2023, with nearly 80% of the market share going to Walmart stores (including Neighborhood Markets, Supercenters, etc.) and Sam's Clubs.

Yes, but: It's slightly down from the year before. Walmart's share went from 68.4% in 2022 to 67% in 2023, while Sam's Club dropped from 11.5% to 11.1%.

Meanwhile, Aldi's share increased from 1.4% to 1.8%, and Dollar General jumped from 2.8% to 3.9%.

💭 Alex's thought bubble: I love an Aldi run. The cheese selection is stupid good for a discount grocery store, and Aldi's brands are awesome. Example A: this pasta sauce I use often on top of my homemade turkey meatballs topped with this mozzarella.

  • But I always end up splitting my grocery runs with Walmart and hit up Sam's Club every few months to stock up on things I like to buy in bulk like toiletries and spices. Oh, and better nut bars.

💭 Worth's thought bubble: Walmart for staples, yes. Also, Whole Foods for cheeses and funsies, but you can't out-do Richard's Country Meat Market for quality, IMO.

3. Kitchen Sink: News on tap

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

🥩 The new Walmart campus being built in Bentonville will include a Wright's BBQ restaurant that will be open to the public. (Northwest Arkansas Business Journal)

🚧 The city of Fayetteville may allow a full block to be leveled and replaced with a new housing complex. The 2.9 acres at Hill Avenue and Treadwell Street includes the 40-unit Summit Terrace complex, a six-unit apartment building, a duplex and a single-family home. (Fayetteville Flyer)

👩‍🎓 A student at Fort Smith Southside High School student won a $25,000 scholarship from the Taco Bell Foundation. Tzideny Romero works at the company's store on U.S. 71 and plans to attend Yale University. (KNWA)

4. 6 bars to visit when you want to class it up

Lady in Orange at Tower Bar. Photo: Alex Golden/Axios

We love a good pub or dive bar, but NWA is also home to some elevated spots where you can treat yourself. Here are our favorite local bars for grabbing a specialty cocktail or perhaps taking a date.

  • And, of course, most upscale restaurants in the area have their own bars that also make for a nice night out.


The vibe: Speakeasy. It's in the basement of a downtown Bentonville favorite, The Preacher's Son, and you'd only know it by the subtle "Bar" sign on the side of the building.

The intrigue: Watch for themes, like a complete holiday transformation, Miracle on 2nd Street.

Lambeth Lounge

The vibe: Set inside the Inn at Carnall Hall on the University of Arkansas campus, it's a calm spot to end an evening out.

The intrigue: The large porch makes for a lovely place to sit and talk. You definitely feel like you're visiting a Southern college campus — but less like a college kid and more like a parent who drinks cocktails from proper glassware.

Tower Bar

The vibe: It's a loungey space on the sixth floor of The Momentary, where you can take in views of Bentonville from up top.

The intrigue: Tower Bar regularly has live music, and you can always accompany it with a visit to the museum or an arts event at The Momentary.

Keep reading

Thanks to Fadel Allassan for editing and James Gilzow for copy editing this newsletter.

🥗 Alex has some salads to try. Thanks for the recommendations.

📺 Worth is tripping back in time with "The Young Ones."