From Venue to Menu

How one man took his years of small business experience to turn his home into a profitable post-retirement job and mission.

Jim Rose carried his love for business throughout his life and now channels this love and his many skills into The River House, a bed-and-breakfast in Searcy, Arkansas.

When he was around 10 years old, Rose had his first experience with small business, hanging around a produce stand near his home in Dayton, Ohio. He befriended the owner of the stand and volunteered his time to help in whatever way possible, even going to Cincinnati with the owner to learn about supply chain and wholesale. Not long after, he began working as a paperboy.

“My first desire for business started when I was about 11 years old,” Rose said. “I wanted to be a paper boy. I wanted my own money.”

From this young age, Rose had a desire to be financially independent. This pushed him to make his own money, whether it was at a grocery store, delivering papers, or at the local carwash. 

Though his parents never pressured him to do so, he wanted to be able to pay his own way through college. As a college student, he worked at Kroger and was able to pay for over half his college expenses with that job. Rose paid for his final year of undergrad in full by working full time in addition to completing his school work. 

After moving to Delaware with his wife Eva, Rose began working part time for her family’s business, Three Little Baker’s Dinner Theater and Bakery. He became a full-time employee of the business in 1975, when the family acquired a country club.

In the mid 1980s, the family’s dinner theater business took off, and Rose became the general manager, overseeing staffing and the bakery. He liked working in the small family business because he enjoyed having a part in every aspect of the business. He said he wasn’t just an employee. He was a part of the process and the business and had vested interest in its success.  

In 2007, the Roses left the family business. Shortly after, it closed for good. After about seven years working in school food services in Franklin, Tennessee, Rose retired, and he and Eva moved to Searcy, Arkansas, to be near their daughter and her family. 

The couple bought property on the Little Red River, just down the street from their daughter. After tearing down the previous house on the property, the Roses realized they had an opportunity as they rebuilt. They wanted more than anything for their passions and talents for entertaining and hosting to be used by God in some way. From this dream, the vision of the River House Bed and Breakfast was born. 

River House

Their original vision was to reach out to families visiting town for Harding’s various events like Homecoming, Spring Sing, and graduation, but their connection to Dr. David Kee, assistant professor of business administration, his entrepreneurship students and the Waldron Center brought them a bigger and better idea. The students encouraged them to develop their brand and get it listed on Airbnb, which grew their business even more. After having guests from all over the country, the Roses said they have loved the opportunity to do something they feel is a calling and ministry as much as a business.