University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Athletic Director Melvin Hines served as the keynote speaker at the third Wednesday luncheon held by the Pine Bluff Small Business Association.

PBSBA Vice President Bill Brumett opened the meeting with statements and questions regarding the small businesses around Pine Bluff. For Hines, this was the perfect platform for him to engage with the small businesses around the city of Pine Bluff, letting them know that their support is welcomed and needed.

"We're going to support this city, and we need you to support us as well," Hines said.

Hines opened his remarks by directly relating himself to small business work. He said he can remember working at his father's business as a youngster. With Hines being fairly new to the city of Pine Bluff and the community, as he was officially named UAPB AD on Sept. 5, getting to meet some of these business owners face-to-face is a welcomed opportunity.

When the question was raised about the promotion of small businesses at UAPB sporting events, Hines tackled it like a linebacker on the football team.

"It's plenty of room," Hines said for the promotion of small businesses. "I just texted my sports information director saying we have to figure something out for our small businesses. I picked up an idea when I was in Florida about three weeks ago. They brought a lot of the local restaurants and businesses to the football game. There are plenty of opportunities for local vendors to be a part of what we do, especially on game day. Our goals are to try to make sure we have a platform to help promote your businesses as well."

Involving local restaurants and businesses in the UAPB game day experiences and the athletics program, in general, is something Hines definitely has his sights set on, and he made that clear. Hines proposed the idea of having a Pine Bluff Small Business Day at a sporting event.

"Hey, our doors are open for you, and I'm glad you have your doors open for us," Hines said.