Budding Industry in Randolph County

August 3, 2006--Posted at 3:30 p.m. CDT

POCAHONTAS, AR--Tool boxes, candles, picture frames, nails, power tools and this list goes on. Just a few of the well known products produced in Randolph County.

"This is the best kept secret in northeast Arkansas, here in Randolph County," said Alan Crawford of Paslode.

Wal Mart, Target, Michaels, Bed Bath and Beyond, Barton's and Lowes are just a few of the places that carry products produced in Randolph County.

"We make about 100 to 150,000 frames a day that are sold. You'll see in all the major stores in the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada," said Bill Covert of Pinnacle Frames & Accents.

"We did 53 million pounds of nails out of our facility last year," said Crawford.

Some companies, like Paslode, that employ over 100 people have called Randolph County home for less than ten years. Others like Pinnacle Frames & Accent that employ between 400 and 500 people are parts of the county's history.

"We have been here for 50 years. Our company started at the McGee Corporation in 1956 and it has evolved into the major industry it is now," said Covert.

In 1997 the Brown Shoe Company closed costing the county over 700 jobs. Now, since that time, the county has looked to attract businesses with one to 100 employees and their workforce is stronger than ever.

"The diversity of our economy helps us keep a level of employment in this county," said Covert.

The county is always looking to attract new businesses and feel their sales pitch is as good as any.

"One of our greatest assets in Randolph County is Black River Technical College. They have been helpful in getting people back to work and educated in different areas," said Wayne Gearhart, Executive Director of Randolph County Chamber of Commerce.

However, everyone we talked to believe the strength of the economy in Randolph County was dependent on one thing.

"I think the number one thing is our people. We have a dedicated workforce," said Crawford.