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AADA Article EZMartJim Yates, natural entrepreneur and innovator of his time, is largely responsible for shaping the convenience store industry as it is today. Inspired by the national interstate signage of the time “E-Z On” & “E-Z Off”, Yates worked to deliver a business that would focus on exactly what convenience should be: easy. Through years of dedicated work, and careful leadership, Yates and his wife owned 34 stores by 1975. Following in 1979 to 65 stores, in 1980 80 stores, and by 1981 Yates had acquired over 100 stores to the E-Z Mart chain. To date E-Z Mart boasts over 300 stores in five southern states.

It’s “E-Z” to see how convenience plays such key roles in the aerospace industry, but what drew E-Z Mart to joining and supporting the Arkansas Aerospace and Defense Alliance (AADA)? Sonja Hubbard, Chief Executive Officer of E-Z Mart (and Yates’ daughter) discussed that her father “loved flying, and with our geographically spread operations we have relied on aviation to improve our efficiency.  I became involved with the AADA some years ago, inspired by not just the benefits to myself and company but the broad economic benefits to the state from having a strong aerospace industry.”

Job opportunities are abounding in Arkansas’ aerospace and aviation industries, and the potential for growth and expansion is certainly drawing the eyes of those who wish to invest in businesses and assets within the state. As Arkansas’ appeal grows, this attraction to even more industries allow for increased state productivity and financial stability. Hubbard remarked, “this is an area in which Arkansas already excels in, yet can do even more.”

E-Z Mart’s membership in the AADA is an investment in the future.  By supporting growth within the state, E-Z Mart simultaneously supports growth within their own business.  “Growth at this level doesn’t just divide the pie up into different slices but instead grows and expands it.  We all benefit from the same,” Hubbard explained.

It is through the AADA’s focus on strategic growth, improvement and awareness for the state that E-Z Mart organization (or any other member) benefits from this alliance. This coordinated effort of public, private, governmental, and educational institutions that are working together to grow the aviation/aerospace/defense infrastructure in the state; along with that training a qualified workforce that both grows jobs and serves these businesses. 

In waiting for the future, Hubbard is keen to take advantage of each and every opportunity that arises.In general, as the industry grows, so does the state’s health. By creating specialized industries and jobs, we carve out a niche for ourselves.  Growth creates more growth and stability.  We all serve to benefit from the same,” said Hubbard.

Through refined practice does convenience arise, and with the AADA’s continued efforts, we might just make aerospace and aviation a bit more “E-Z” for everyone.