MARKED TREE, AR (KAIT) – Marked Tree Mayor Dixon Chandler addressed the Rotary Club Wednesday afternoon on a number of city issues. Among the most important regarded the addition of a new company. Chandler said Awesome Products Incorporated has purchased the old Mid-South building located near the airport. According to L.D. Hardas, owner of Awesome Products, the company will invest a total of approximately $7-million for expanding operations.
"They have found a prospect for the old mid south building and I applaud their work on that because they've been working on that for quite some time trying to find somebody," said Charles Nix, Poinsett County Judge.
Nix said Wednesday he was excited for the future of Marked Tree and surrounding communities, mentioning the importance of city successes.
"That's just good news for the county and when you hear about what's happening across the country about the unemployment rate and what's happening in jobs, we're very fortunate in the county for that to happen," said Nix. "It's my understanding that in that building they would be making bottled bleach I think, but they do make an array of cleaning products that are sold in dollar stores like Fred's and Wal-Mart and Dollar General."
"That could be a manufacturing plant here. That could be a warehouse here. There will be something put in that building," said Chandler.
Chandler said the city of Marked Tree has offered up to $200,000 in incentives to help pay for a railroad spur, which is necessary for the plant to manufacture products.
"The city themselves, there's around 400,000 dollars that we're committing for this factory," said Chandler. "The big deal is getting the rail to the factory. The factory is coming, but to get the rail, we have to have a rail to move the product that they will produce."
Chandler said he was working with several other state representatives, including the Governor's Office, in finding funding for the project. Chandler said the plant would still hire employees if the facility is used for storage.
"They have outgrown that factory and they're hoping to expand here to marked tree and we're hoping that we can get that factory," said Chandler. "You're looking at a year and you could possibly have a factory in production if all the pieces fall together and we're just waiting for the pieces to fall and we've really worked hard on that."
"You're production jobs mean so much more because if it would have been a warehouse facility, first of all you would have been limited on the number of jobs," said Nix. "It's going to have a significant impact on the employment rate. It can help stabilize your communities."
Chandler said the city voted in favor of a 1/8th sales tax, which is to be used for attracting industry. He said Awesome Products has a contract with Dollar General in 30,000 locations. He said Wal-Mart was working on a contract with the company.
"They will definitely expand. They're talking about a bottling plant also with the bleach. They will make the bottles and the bleach," said Chandler.
Chandler said it's been difficult to attract industry to the plant. He said there have been at least 15 interested company's interested in using the building. He said replacing 300 jobs when Mid-South Incorporated moved out of town was a challenge from day one.
Chandler said he expects to know more about Awesome's plans later this month or early next month.
"We are a proud community and we want to keep it that way and we want these jobs in northeast Arkansas," said Chandler.