POCAHONTAS, AR (KAIT) -- Atlantic Thermal Plastics, a footwear components manufacturer has decided to expand to a facility in Pocahontas, their second in Arkansas. The company will move into the former Northern Technologies building and plans to employ 100 people immediately and add 100 more employees by the end of 2009.
"We lost a major industry last year so it couldn't come at a better time for Pocahontas and Randolph County. 200 jobs is very important to us," said Wayne Gearhart of the Randolph Chamber of Commerce.
The city expects to see a 3% increase in its workforce with the addition of Atlantic Thermal Plastics. The factory will create a polyurethane insole product for Red Wing Shoes, Wolverine and the U.S. Military. In addition, ATP will also manufacture rubber boots.
"We had a shoe factory close here and we have a tremendous amount of people who have that experience and then also the company that was in the building before them were in injection molding and we still have a lot of those people who want to live and work here and they have that experience already, so it's a tailor made work force for them, it couldn't be any better," said Pocahontas Mayor Gary Crocker.
Atlantic Thermal Plastics plans to hit the ground running when they open their facility in Pocahontas. Loading docks could have trucks leaving as soon as next week taking out their products.
"The first 15 people will be here next week and we'll go from there," said Ed Lossing, VP of Operations, "We have an operation south of here in Newport, Arkansas and we've actually outgrown ourselves. Our business has grown tremendously, we've had such luck there that our corporation started looking at somewhere to relocate the business in Rhode Island and Arkansas was a natural since we've had the luck here."
Over flowing banks of the Black River initially kept a crane from bringing a piece of equipment in, forcing officials to get it in by hand.
"It took us a little bit of time to get them scheduled to come up here, but once we got them up here and they took a look around it seemed that all the pieces fell into place and they liked the community and it seemed like a win-win for everyone," said Mayor Crocker.