JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - An international company will soon be making a home in Jonesboro.
On Friday, city and state leaders, along with company officials from China, broke ground on the site of what will be the Risever Manufacturing Plant.
The 125,000-square-foot facility, which will create 130 jobs, will be located at the intersection of C.W. Post and Barnhill Road.
The company also announced last year they will invest $20 million in the area in the next five years.
President of Jonesboro Unlimited Mark Young said Risever owners looked at a number of different locations before choosing to make Region 8 their home.
"They evaluated multiple states and multiple locations in each of those states," Young said. "We're very fortunate that because of all our economic development partners that they selected Jonesboro. And we're so excited to work with Risever and their general manager who has been fantastic and we're excited to see this day become a reality."
Chairman of Jonesboro Unlimited Chris Barber was just as excited as Young.
"This is significant," Barber said. "It's a big deal because they had over 70 sites to choose from and this is the first North American plant for Risever. So, it's significant that Jonesboro was able to develop a relationship and have this happen today. So, we're just thrilled and elated to see it come to pass."
Mike Preston, Executive Director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, said the development is good for the state as well.
"This is a great event not only for Jonesboro, but for Arkansas and China," Preston said. "To have a great company like Risever to break ground today. As you can see behind me, they're already behind me and getting to work and moving the heavy equipment in here. This has been six or seven months in the works to getting us here today. It's very exciting and what this means for the community to have another international company located here. The first Chinese company being in Jonesboro says a lot to what Jonesboro and the state of Arkansas means on the global stage."
Risever is a family-owned company that was established in 1999 in Hefei, China.
"Every time we see new jobs happen in our community, it's good news not just for the community but for the region as well," Young said. "This means great jobs for Jonesboro and the people who live here, families, and so we are so grateful the Risever selected Jonesboro."
"I think it's a testament of Jonesboro and this Region," Barber said. "We have so much to offer here and it's nice to see outsiders come in and see what we have to offer here. Not only land for a facility here, but also looking around at the folks who have prospered here in this region. And so, this is going to have a true economic impact. Not only from construction but employment of roughly 130 jobs. So, this is a significant day for us and we're excited to be here."
President of the Jonesboro Economic Development Cooperation Brad Edwards said groundbreaking events like this are what they are always striving for.
"These are the days we really look forward to," Edwards said. "When we can start new construction on a project that brings quality jobs to Jonesboro. And that's what we want to advocate for. We want to see those high paying jobs come to our citizens."
Preston said the fact they looked at so many areas and then picked Jonesboro says a lot about the people that live here.
"They wanted to get into the North American market," Preston said. "For them to look at all of North America and say the best place I'm going to go is Jonesboro, Arkansas. . .that says a lot about this community. It says a lot about this state and the vote of confidence that they have. And really, it's a testament to our workforce. That they believe so much in our workforce that they would want to come here and build this facility, their first venture into the United States. It's tremendous."
The first phase of the project will be completed in July 2019, officials said.