Southern Bancorp and RP Auto Detail

Arkadelphia, Arkansas

Roger Perry is the owner of RP Detail, a small professional auto detailing company in Arkadelphia. For over a decade, Roger conducted his business in a small abandoned gas station, polishing and refurbishing his customers' cars beneath a rusted awning. "The weather was the biggest challenge," he said, citing how the sizzling heat and icy cold would regularly interfere with his work.

A couple years ago, Bill Wright of Southern Bancorp was driving by. He spotted Roger's business and pulled in, got out of the car, and introduced himself to Roger. "I told him I was with Southern Bancorp, and that part of our mission was that we try to help folks that really try to help themselves," said Bill. He and Roger began to brainstorm a viable expansion site. Roger described how a vacant lot across the street had caught his eye some time ago. The property was for sale.

Bill put together a loan package for Roger and enlisted the partnership of Henderson State University, a local liberal arts college. With the loan, Roger transferred his business across the street, refurbished the building on the vacant lot, and set up a beauty shop for his wife inside it. RP Detail has been booming year-round since the transition.

"As I look across the street over that the old shop, I would never have dreamed in a million years that God would have me where I'm at now." said Roger. "To anybody out there who wants to be an entrepreneur or who wants to be in a business for himself, go for it!"

"By being a small businessman who is successful, he's able to encourage other small business owners to take a step," said Bill. "A step to either expand our business or start a new business. And that is our mission, too."