The Face of Local Development
Lou Schickel, Owner & Manager, Schickel Development
Lou Schickel, a Cornell University graduate in civil engineering, traveled the country and the world as a project engineer. Two of his most noted jobs were the Verrazano-Narrows bridge in New York City and the Salazar bridge in Portugal. In 1966, he moved to Little Rock to work on the Murray Lock and Dam. Today it supports the “Big Dam Bridge.” When the project was complete, the Schickel family had settled into life in Little Rock, and he had a strong desire to own his own business. In 1969, he bought a small dry cleaner in the southwest part of the city. Almost 50 years later, Schickel’s Cleaners has four locations and is the most successful cleaners in Arkansas.
In 1974 he started to acquire land along Highway 10 with a vision to create a beautiful shopping venue, the Pleasant Ridge Town Center. Anchored by The Fresh Market and a Belk Department Store, the center is known for its beautiful landscaping and pedestrian friendly environment. In all, there are 14 restaurants, 13 services, 10 national retailers, and 23 well established local shops. While the center’s management and leasing team consists of just five employees, the shopping district has generated hundreds of jobs and created countless opportunities for those in the West Little Rock community.