UACES Facebook Arkansas APEX Accelerator Success Story: GRO Restaurant Group, Inc.
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Arkansas APEX Accelerator Success Story: GRO Restaurant Group, Inc.

by Kimberly Randle and Kim Magee - May 3, 2023

Two women sitting at a table smiling at cameraImagine being thrust into the complicated world of government contracting at the age of 23 overnight by the tragic and sudden death of your supervisor. That is exactly what happened to Mariah Johnson, now the catering director for GRO Restaurant Group Inc. in Fort Smith, almost exactly one year ago.

Johnson, a five-year Golden Corral employee, had worked her way up by learning various aspects of the business. Then she found herself faced with an active catering schedule throughout the community, including numerous catering commitments related to regular drills at Fort Chaffee Joint Maneuver Training Center. Johnson had no choice but to get up to speed quickly.

The company had been an Arkansas APEX Accelerator client since 2012, so she turned to Procurement Counselor Kimberly Randle in Bentonville to help her access and navigate the System for Award Management (SAM). The system is fundamental to contracting with, and getting paid, by the Army National Guard,for meals over the course of the year.

In recent months, Randle worked with Johnson to renew the company’s SAM registration so Johnson can tap into expanded opportunities available through the government marketplace. Randle also helped Johnson develop other helpful tools to grow government business by creating a capability statement and enhancing their SBA Dynamic Small Business Search profile.

“Without Kimberly to answer my questions and guide me through keeping our SAM registration active and current, there could have easily been a lapse in our capability to meet the needs at Fort Chaffee” Johnson said.. “With everything else going on, it was overwhelming to try and sort through all of this by myself, and Kimberly has made it so that I am excited to learn and implement more contracting tools to help us expand this business so vital to those that protect and serve us, and to our community at large.”

In just one weekend alone this past February, GRO Restaurant Group Inc. provided meals for over 800 soldiers at Fort Chaffee.

To utilize the no-fee services offered by the Arkansas APEX Accelerator or to learn more about our services, please reach out to us at