Newport Economic Growth - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Will Carter Reports

Newport Economic Growth

NEWPORT (KAIT)-Newport is a city on the move, but it's taken years and a lot of hard work by the residents to make it happen.

"Of course when you add manufacturing jobs, and you get that payroll in the community, then you also have the opportunity to recruit retail, which is what we are starting to see now," said Jon Chadwell with the Newport Economic Development Commission.

In 2002 residents voted on a tax to help recruit industry and bring jobs back into the area. Now five years later, success.

"We've been creating about 100 to 150 jobs per year for five years, and that's created a sense of excitement," Chadwell.

That excitement is echoed by the number of new businesses coming to the area. In 2008 a new Sears and a Comfort Inn hotel are among things that are coming to town.

And construction trucks line the driveway of a new Walgreens that is set to open in just a couple of months.

But industry is just as important to the economy as retail, and is also taking off.

"I came here a year ago, and the growth we are going through, and we continue to go through, is amazing."

Ed Lossing of America's Choice Products is excited about being being in Newport. His company is now getting ready to add a 2.5 million dollar expansion onto their boot manufacturing facility.

"We could not have a better relationship. Newport in itself has been very supportive. Jackson County has been very supportive. We work very closely with the Newport Development Agency. It's been a great relationship and continues to grow," said Lossing.

The company currently makes more than 50 percent of Wal-Mart's supply of boots and will be adding a military contract to their expansion later this spring. He says Newport is a great place for business and attributes this to the quality workforce.

"The work force here, I couldn't ask for any better. Training-wise, there was very little of it because of the lack of industry. However, the people have been very receptive of the training we've put them through, and they've turned out a very good workforce," said Lossing.

And the workforce will continue to grow as more and more industry comes into the area.

We are also told the Medallion potato chips plant will also be adding a 1.5 million dollar robotic system to their manufacturing line, also showing their investment in the community.

In 2008 the Sears, Walgreens, and new ACP expansion are all expected to be complete.

Just last week ASU also broke ground on a new Transportation and Technology Center at their Newport campus.


Story ideas or comments?  Email Will at wcarter@kait8.com.

 

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