Downtown Bentonville Inc., (DBI), the nonprofit group that organizes various community events, including the Bentonville Farmers Market, First Fridays and the Bentonville Christmas Parade, announced the departure Tuesday (Nov. 8) of executive director Andrew Heath.
A DBI news release gave no reason for the leadership change. Dana Sargent Schlagenhaft, DBI’s communications director, will assume the job on an interim basis, effective immediately.
The DBI board of directors hired Heath in April 2018. Before that, he was the executive director of the Pennsylvania Growing Greener Coalition.
“Leading Downtown Bentonville Inc. has been an incredible honor, but with all good things, the time comes to move on,” Heath said in a news release. “This nonprofit has provided important services to our community, including providing opportunities for us all to gather, celebrate, and make memories. I have felt that profoundly since my first arrival in Bentonville almost five years ago.
“As I look toward the next chapter in life, I am confident that this community will continue to grow and succeed in being one of the best places in the nation to live.”
DBI touted various accomplishments under Heath’s leadership, including:
- Bentonville’s Saturday Farmers Market revenue has nearly doubled since 2019, from $835,000 to over $1.5 million dollars.
- Commissions from Bentonville’s First Friday events tripled in three years.
- Established under Heath’s guidance in 2020, Bentonville’s Art Market has increased revenue annually from $68,000 to over $188,000.
- DBI handed out more than $27,000 in Shop the Block / Market dollars to support downtown businesses. The Shop the Block program was created by Heath as a way to support small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- DBI launched new events such as the Market @ Record off-season market, Farm Dinners at Red Barn, and partnered with the City of Bentonville to host Bentonville Together: A Community Multicultural Celebration.
- Under Heath’s leadership, DBI launched an award-winning storytelling project that produces a weekly television show about the city’s downtown.
“Andrew led DBI through unprecedented times. His dedication to the organization and ability to repeatedly execute memorable events for our community speaks for itself,” DBI Executive Board President Kirk Gober said in a statement. “Our Board of Directors has full confidence that Dana possesses the skill set and drive to move the organization forward. She has done an outstanding job developing DWTN Media, our storytelling platform.
“Further, Dana has a strong rapport with our staff, sponsors, and community partners. While this is a new role for Dana, she’s no stranger to DBI, having served the organization in various roles and capacities over the last five years. We’re excited about the future!”