County Road 11: Chesney's Store in Little Rock

Published: Mar. 19, 2020 at 12:05 PM CDT
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This store in Newton County has been around since at least the early 1960s and has been owned by the Chesney family since 1982. Brothers Ricky and Jay Chesney are the long time owners, but it was their Mom, Nelda, who made it famous among locals.

"Four years ago our mother passed away and she was the driving force behind all of it. To this day everybody around here refers to this place as Miss Nelda's, instead of Chesney Grocery," said Ricky Chesney. "Today we still get checks. They write it out Miss Nelda's, so she was the driving force."

Chesney's is not your run-of-the-mill business.. It's part convenience store. Part general store. Part bait and tackle shop, gas station and restaurant.

"We try to carry anything. PVC. We've got crickets once the truck starts running. Not quite yet but we'll have crickets and worms,' said Chesney. "We sell a lot of food here, and gas, so we try and carry everything for whatever you might need."

Chesney's recently received national acclaim in Golf Digest Magazine as it featured hometown hero, Andy Ogletree, who put Union and Little Rock on the map after winning the U.S. Open Amateur Championship last August. In fact, Andy has been a regular diner at Chesney's for a long time.

"The kids have kind of moved on to different career paths but we keep telling them for one of them it might be something you want to consider because you can make a decent living here," Ricky said. "You meet a lot of good people and you're close to home so we're just going to have to wait and see."

As far as the future of Chesney's is concerned, Ricky is hoping that the store stays in the family.

Chesney's Store in Little Rock, or Nelda's, whichever you prefer, is O.K. It has been serving folks in these parts for as long as anyone can remember.