Employee, recent UA grad buys Fayetteville retail biz

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 10,346 views 

Justin Macedo, a recent University of Arkansas graduate, is the new owner of Uncle Sam's Safari Outdoors in Fayetteville.

It may be difficult for some recent college graduates to find full-time work. That’s not the case for Justin Macedo.

Macedo, 23, closed a deal on Nov. 23 to buy Uncle Sam’s Safari Outfitters, the outdoor gear and clothing store at 1494 N. College Avenue in Fayetteville’s Evelyn Hills Shopping Center.

Macedo graduated on Dec. 17 with a small business management degree from the University of Arkansas. He also worked part-time for Uncle Sam’s and the previous owner, Ryland Arnold, since May 2018.

Macedo said a small business class project during the spring semester of 2022 set off the idea of buying the business.

“It was Mark Zweig’s class,” he explained. Zweig is the entrepreneur-in-residence in the UA’s Sam M. Walton College of Business. “I did a consulting project on Uncle Sam’s, and he asked if I’d ever be interested in buying it if it was ever up for sale.”

Macedo said that when he asked Arnold about his long-term plans, he learned that the owner was interested in selling the business — and a deal he’d been working on to do that had recently fallen through.

“[Arnold] said, ‘If you want it, it’s yours.’ We started working on it then,” Macedo said.

Macedo grew up in Texas but moved to Northwest Arkansas before his sophomore year of high school after his father accepted a job as IT director for the city of Fayetteville. He graduated from Farmington High School.

Terms of the sale were not disclosed. Arnold bought the store in 2020 from his father, J.R. Arnold. Arnold acquired the business in July 2011 from Robert Ginsburg, who opened the store in 1982 in the back room of the old Second Time Around clothing store on Dickson Street in Fayetteville. The business relocated to Evelyn Hills in 1985.

Uncle Sam’s has six employees.