Four companies in Helena-West Helena today announced they are opening or expanding operations in the area, creating a total of 87 new jobs and investing several million dollars. Leaders from Enviro Tech Chemical Services, Inc., Delta American Fuel LLC, Quapaw Products LLC and Southern Hardware Co., Inc. joined Governor Mike Beebe, Congressman Rick Crawford and local officials at the announcement in Helena-West Helena.
"It takes community-wide effort to improve a town's future, and that's what we're witnessing today in Helena-West Helena," Beebe said. "To see four companies locating or expanding here at the same time is a tremendous show of faith in the skills and dedication of the people in Phillips County."
Enviro Tech Chemical Services, Inc., a chemical company based in Modesto, Calif., focuses on the food safety and water treatment industries. The new Helena-West Helena facility will produce peroxyacetic acid to be used in sanitizing meat and poultry to reduce or eliminate pathogenic organisms such as E. coli and salmonella. The company will invest $1.5 million and create 30 new jobs.
"We took considerable time in evaluating several states in the south to be the home for our new location, which would focus on supplying poultry processors with new and innovative products to make poultry safer and more wholesome for the consumer," said Enviro Tech President and CEO Michael Harvey. "After discussing our needs with the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, it became clear that Arkansas clearly had the business advantages that we were looking for. Because the attitude and perspectives of everyone we met were so business-friendly, it made our choice very easy to make. We are quite happy to call Arkansas our new southern home."
Delta American Fuel, a biodiesel production facility producing fuel from soybean oil, currently has 10 existing employees and plans to create 30 new jobs in an expansion. The company is co-located and co-owned by Planters, a fertilizer distribution company.
Quapaw Products, a manufacturer of specialty chemicals for industrial users, plans to add 18 new jobs and invest $1 million. The company, which currently employs three people in Helena-West Helena, is a subsidiary of Harcros Chemicals, a major distributor and producer of industrial chemicals.
"We look forward to continuing to build our business over the next several years in Helena-West Helena," said John Miles, president of Quapaw Products. "There is a lot of opportunity for growth that really excites us."
Southern Hardware Co., a subsidiary of the Bostwick-Braun Company, of Toledo, Ohio, a wholesale distributor of hardware, plumbing, electrical and industrial supplies, has been in operation in Helena-West Helena since 1914 and plans to invest $2.14 million in an expansion, including nine new employees. The company, which is 100-percent employee-owned, plans to expand and modernize its warehouse facility to support planned increases in its customer base and product catalog. The existing facility serves a trade radius of 400 miles and has an active customer base of more than 500. It currently has 60 employees including 48 in Helena-West Helena.
"We appreciate the commitment of these four companies to doing business here and are committed to doing whatever we can to support their growth," said Helena-West Helena Mayor Arnell Willis. "I believe today is the first of many great days to come. Helena-West Helena and Phillips County are truly open for business!"