JOB GROWTH EXPECTED IN 2017
By JOHN LOVETT//TIMES RECORD
The Fort Smith area has had ongoing business growth in recent years, and 2017 will be no different. Several Fort Smith-based businesses plan expansions in 2017, including Mars Petcare and ArcBest, while York, Pa.-based Glatfelter is eyeing late 2017 or early 2018 for the opening of its new facility, with 83 new jobs making an average of $25 an hour.
ArcBest’s new facility at Chaffee Crossing is expected to open by summer 2017. The company announced in 2014 that it is expected to create 975 jobs as it expands. The new facility will house about 850 employees from ArcBest corporate, ABF Logistics and Panther Premium Logistics.
Glatfelter is a global manufacturer of specialty papers and is currently on the third of four phases to repurpose the building originally intended for windmill power generators. Glatfelter expects to have its new “air laid” paper materials operation up and running by late 2017 or early 2018.
The manufacturer purchased Mitsubishi Hitachi’s unused 200,000-square-foot facility at Chaffee Crossing.
Mars Petcare will invest $72 million in its plant over the course of several years to add 130 jobs. The plant, which opened in 2009, has seen more than $130 million invested to create about 250 jobs at the facility.
There is actually a “potential investment up to $110 million” over the next several years, according to the company.
The Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine will begin classes for its first batch of students in August 2017. The Arkansas Colleges of Health Education employs about 50, and there are plans to expand.Elite Comfort announced it would expand its manufacturing facility in Fort Smith with plans to add 100 jobs over the next three years. Elite, at 4921 State Line Road, is a newly formed branch of Hickory Spring Manufacturing.
Stainless Innovations, a custom restaurant and kitchen equipment fabricator at 3501 Tulsa St. in Fort Smith, expanded its operations in the former Southern Steel and Wire building in 2016 and has added 25 jobs to employ 65 with “room to grow.”
Zero Mountain Cold Storage and Gerber both recently expanded their operations in Fort Smith as well.