News in brief: Walmart Plus added to cellphone plans; Bank to open branch office in Fayetteville

This undated file photo shows Walmart's sign in front of its Bentonville headquarters.
This undated file photo shows Walmart's sign in front of its Bentonville headquarters.

Walmart Plus added

to cellphone plans

Straight Talk Wireless phone service now includes free Walmart Plus memberships with its higher-priced plans, the company said Friday.

Walmart Plus, which costs $12.95 a month, includes such perks as free deliveries and shipping, savings on fuel at more than 14,000 locations, mobile Scan and Go, video streaming with Paramount Plus, ad-free video streaming with Pluto TV and early access to events and promotions.

Straight Talk customers can keep their own phones, but the plans are available only at Walmart stores, at and at

"With Straight Talk's longstanding partnership with Walmart, adding Walmart Plus to our plans just made sense," said Angie Klein, president of Verizon Value.

The new arrangement with Straight Talk makes Walmart Plus available with the purchase of a Straight Talk Gold or Platinum plan. Both offer unlimited data, talk and text on a no-contract, 30-day plan.

The Gold plan includes 15 gigabytes of hot spot data and international calling to Canada and Mexico. But the Platinum plan comes with 20GB of hot spot data and broader international calling.

-- Serenah McKay

Bank to open branch

office in Fayetteville

First Community Bank, based in Batesville, said Friday that it will open a branch office in Fayetteville.

The 3,747-square-foot facility at 3150 W. Wedington Drive, which formerly housed The Bank of Fayetteville, will be remodeled, with construction set to start before the year's end.

Besides acquiring the property, First Community Bank has received the necessary regulatory approvals for the new branch.

Natalie Bartholomew, the bank's community president for Northwest Arkansas, said the bank's expansion into Fayetteville "aligns perfectly with our commitment to serving the financial needs of the region and fostering strong community connections."

"Our extensive knowledge of the Washington County market, driven by the fact that members of our dedicated team call this community home, position us to deliver personalized banking solutions that truly understand and cater to the unique needs of our neighbors," Bartholomew said.

The bank also has a branch at 5100 W. Park Ave., Suite 124, in Rogers.

Locally owned and managed, First Community Bank reported assets of $2.6 billion as of June 30.

-- Serenah McKay

Arkansas Index ends

day with gain of 1.33

The Arkansas Index, a price-weighted index that tracks the largest public companies based in the state, closed Friday at 835.14, up 1.33.

Shares of Uniti Group rose 2% to lead the index Friday. Murphy USA shares rose 1.7%. Walmart shares fell 1.7%, and Tyson Foods fell 1.5%.

The index was developed by Bloomberg News and the Democrat-Gazette with a base value of 100 as of Dec. 30, 1997.