by Stan Morris
LORADO, Ark. – A family store has become a tribute to a loved one and helped a surviving sister, her husband, and many others adjust to life without their dear Stacy.
Just hours before Christmas celebrations were to begin Dec. 23, 2015, Stacy Quintana worked like she always did at Lorado Grocery, at the intersection of Arkansas 141 and 168 just past Lake Frierson State Park. Stacy managed the store and as the owners Randy and Angela Pugsley described, she did everything.
Tragic events unfolded that day. Stacy was murdered in the parking lot and the suspect, Stacy Keplinger, 31, of Paragould, was arrested. Darrell Swan, 53, of Paragould, was arrested as the suspected getaway driver. In the days that followed, other arrests came to pass, including Stacy’s estranged husband, Charles Quintana, 58, of Paragould, who Greene County Sheriff David Carter said orchestrated the murder for hire plot. All three face charges of capital murder, kidnapping, aggravated robbery and first-degree battery, all felonies.
While the court proceedings are ongoing, and with Randy in court as recently as last week facing the three accused of killing Stacy, the family decided to make the store their outlet and a spot for healing. One of the biggest reasons was because Stacy was there so often and had made the store her own. She learned how to do all of the necessities in the store, even though when she first started, she barely could boil a pot of water, Randy laughing recalled.
“We were talking to her and she had never been known to cook,” Randy said. “As a matter of fact, one of the family members couldn’t believe she was going to do it and said she couldn’t boil water. She come so far, and these girls in here would tell you, there’s nobody who could do it at all. She created the process.”
Since the loss of Stacy, Angela has taken over more of the paperwork and billing while Randy has taken an active role in managing the store. When the tragedy first struck, the family wasn’t sure if they would continue with the store but the outreach and support from the community gave the family new hope. The other staff at the store also made great efforts to help adjust, the family said.
“That’s what we strive for and that was one of the things Stacy was always good at,” Randy said. “Most of our business is people living around here working in Jonesboro or Paragould. They’re leaving Jonesboro, passing all of those placing, and coming out here, and spend their money out here.”
Several memorials adorn the store in honor of Stacy, from T shirts with her well-known phrase “I got this,” on the sleeve to a wall tribute in her honor.
However, the biggest element honoring Stacy is the garden in front of the store, called “Stacy’s Flower Garden.”
“We all talked about it and all come together and worked on it,” Angela said. “Randy made the bed. I put in most of the flowers but some of the community brought flowers, too.”
Just like when the family needed them the most, the community has helped with Stacy’s garden, too. It is symbolic of why the family remained in business.
“We’ve got people coming out here and weeding it and customers taking care of it,” Randy said.
Although the family and others planted different types of flowers, for some reason, the purple flowers seem to have taken prominence in the flower bed. Fitting, Angela said, because purple was Stacy’s favorite color.