Arkansas Business

Fiocchi
Fiocchi of America

A 225-year old Italian company with a large North American presence is expanding manufacturing operations in Central Arkansas.

Fiocchi of America, the U.S. subsidiary of Italy-based Fiocchi Group, announced plans Wednesday to establish a new manufacturing facility in Little Rock. It will invest $15 million in a new facility and hire 85 skilled employees with plans to further increase its workforce as the facility reaches its full potential.

SCA Pharma says it will expand its operations in Little Rock by moving to a facility at Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport.
SCA Pharma

SCA Pharma, an FDA-registered outsourcing facility, announced Tuesday that it will expand its operations in Little Rock.

SCA will invest more than $10 million and potentially double its current workforce of 180 people, the company said. Additionally, the investment will allow SCA Pharma to renovate an existing 42,000-square-foot facility at the Clinton National Airport and construct an additional 20,000-square-foot facility adjacent to the existing facility.

SCA announced last week that it also plans a 40% expansion of its Windsor, Conn., facility.

walmart
Walmart

Arkansas-based Walmart announced Tuesday its third cash bonus for workers in stores, clubs, distribution centers and fulfillment centers for their work with the public during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Full-time hourly workers will receive $300 cash payouts while part-time and temporary workers will get $150. Drivers, managers and assistant managers in retail stores and supply chain and health and wellness will also receive bonuses for a total of $428 million.

Walmart made the announcement through an internal memo to employees from Walmart U.S. CEO John Furner.

Updated at 5 p.m. ET

Walmart says shoppers must wear masks inside its stores starting Monday — the largest retailer to join a growing list of companies making face covering mandatory across the nation.

Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Little Rock Port Authority announced Monday $11 million in investments to support transportation infrastructure improvements in the port’s footprint. As many as 1,500 new jobs may be added, according to a release from the port. The port is the largest industrial hub in central Arkansas with over 40 businesses employing more than 4,000 people. It features rail, river and interstate highway access.

Murphy Oil Corporation's headquarters in El Dorado, which was built in 2015. The company announced Wednesday it is moving corporate operations to Houston.
www.clarkcontractors.net

El Dorado-based Murphy Oil Corp. announced Wednesday it will close its corporate headquartersin south Arkansas and relocate to its existing offices in Houston. The El Dorado office has 80 employees, according to a corporate news release. The company is also relocating 110 employees from its Canadian office in Calgary to Houston.

Union Pacific
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A company representative says Union Pacific Corp. is furloughing most of the staff at its facility in North Little Rock that repairs the railroad’s locomotives after seeing a substantial drop in business volume because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Kristen South is the Nebraska-based railroad's senior director for corporate communications and media relations. She declined to specify how many people were laid off but said employees on Thursday started receiving notifications regarding the Jenks Locomotive Facility’s temporary closure.

Alleviant Health Centers will expand its headquarters in Little Rock, the company said on Tuesday.

An operator of mental health clinics across the U.S., Alleviant provides a combination of traditional therapies and innovative, holistic methods for its patients. In addition to maintaining their corporate operations of 20 employees, the company will add 115 corporate jobs, described as “high-paying,” that includes 22 telebehavioral professionals. The corporate jobs include functions in finance, accounting, marketing, business development, human resources and legal.

Tyson
Tyson Foods

Tyson Foods Chairman John Tyson warns “millions of pounds of meat” will disappear from the supply chain as the COVID-19 pandemic closes packing plants and backs up the animal supply.

“The food supply chain is breaking,” Tyson, grandson of the company founder, wrote in a full-page ad published by several major U.S. newspapers on Sunday. ”There will be a limited supply of our products available in grocery stores until we are able to reopen our facilities that are currently closed.”

Abbott
Governor's Office / YouTube

Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Saturday announced the creation of the Arkansas Economic Recovery Task Force, which is charged with making recommendations on how best to return the state’s economy to normal following the COVID-19 outbreak. 

The recommendations must be consistent with public health requirements, Hutchinson said, while creating confidence among state residents. The announcement came one day after the governor announced a May 4 target date to begin “Phase 1” reopening of the state's economy. 

Arkansas Highway Commission Chairman Tom Schueck, seen here at the dedication of the Big Rock Interchange on July 8, 2015, died Tuesday.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Highway Commission chairman, steel manufacturing businessman, and Arkansas Business Hall of Fame member Tom Schueck died Tuesday, according to a statement from the family. He was 78.

Schueck was the founder and former chairman of Lexicon Fabricators and Constructors, a major player in the steel manufacturing industry.

His son, Patrick Suhueck, issued a statement on behalf of the family.

Structurlam Mass Timber Corp., a company selected to help build Walmart’s expansive new corporate campus in Bentonville, will expand into the United States with a $90 million investment in an existing building in Conway that will open in 2021.

Little Rock Regional Chamber
Arkansas Business

While Black Friday draws in shoppers as early as Thursday night, the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce hopes shoppers save some of their dollars for some local businesses later in the weekend.

Small Business Saturday, happening this weekend, began in 2010. According to Brandon Campbell, director of small business and inclusion for the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, the chamber aims to promote local shopping throughout the Little Rock area in order to support local business owners.

Walter Hussman
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette is nearing the day when it will no longer deliver a daily printed paper. The newspaper has been transitioning its weekday service to an app-only format and plans to print only a Sunday edition of the paper by the beginning of next year.

Express RX CEO Galen Perkins speaking at Monday's announcement at the Little Rock Regional Chamber.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Expansion-minded drug store operator Express Rx announced plans Monday to consolidate its varied office locations in several states into a new headquarters location in Little Rock, adding some 24 new white-collar positions to the state’s tight labor pool.

During a press event at the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce, Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott and other top city, county and state officials rolled out the red carpet to Express Rx CEO Galen Perkins whose fast-growing chain now has 18 retail locations across eight states.

Hefei Risever Machinery (Risever), a Chinese-based heavy equipment parts manufacturer is on the verge of starting operations at its $20 million facility in Jonesboro. The company held a grand opening Wednesday and it should be fully operational by January, newly hired plant manager Chris Taylor told Talk Business & Politics.

"We plan to start production at the start of 2020," he said. "The building is complete and we’re installing equipment."

Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaking at Tuesday's announcement that DXC Technology is adding 1,200 jobs in Conway.
Governor's Office

Fortune 150 technology giant DXC Technology will expand its Conway operations by adding 1,200 new jobs to its current workforce of roughly 400. Gov. Asa Hutchinson and company officials made the formal announcement on Tuesday at press conference in Conway.

The U.S. Government is the world’s largest purchaser as it contracts out for all types of products and services – both large and small. It is also required by law to set aside opportunities for small businesses.

Between October 2017-September 2018, there was approximately $895 million available in federal government contracts for work to be done in the state of Arkansas.

To bid for a government contract, small businesses must complete an intricate registration process and wade through lengthy solicitations.

Domtar Corporation announced Thursday that it will permanently shut down two of its paper machines with one of the closures being in Ashdown, Arkansas. The other closure will be in Port Huron, Michigan.

The company said these measures will reduce its annual uncoated freesheet paper capacity by approximately 204,000 short tons and will result in a workforce reduction of approximately 100 employees.

The closure of the Ashdown paper machine will be effective immediately and the closure of the Port Huron machine by mid-November.

walmart
Walmart

Walmart says it will discontinue the sale of handgun ammunition and also publicly request that customers refrain from openly carrying firearms in stores even where state laws allow it.

The announcement comes just days after a mass shooting claimed seven lives in Odessa, Texas and follows two other back-to-back shootings last month, one of them at a Walmart store.

Union Pacific Chairman, President and CEO Lance Fritz
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Union Pacific Chairman and CEO Lance Fritz told a luncheon crowd in Little Rock on Monday that open trade is central to the continued growth of the Arkansas and U.S. economy, citing risks that President Donald Trump is taking with ongoing trade wars between China and U.S. neighbors in Canada and Mexico.

David Monteith / KUAR News

Martial artists from around the world began gathering in Little Rock Monday for the annual ATA World Expo. Little Rock’s largest annual convention is expected to draw roughly 20,000 visitors per day over the next week for a variety of Taekwondo events.

The convention includes two days of training and seminars followed by four days of competitions, which are open to the public.

Lockheed Martin Camden patriot missile
Lockheed Martin

Only days after Gov. Asa Hutchinson returned from a European trade mission where Lockheed Martin announced a multimillion-dollar deal to expand its operations in Camden, the Pentagon awarded the defense giant another blockbuster contract to manufacture warheads at its South Arkansas military industrial complex.

Georgia Pacific Crossett
Sarah Whites-Koditschek / Arkansas Public Media

Georgia-Pacific announced Tuesday it is permanently shutting down the equipment and processes supporting the bleached board operations at its Crossett facility in south Arkansas as of October 2019. About 555 jobs will be impacted by the closure. Also, the timber and paper giant will close a particleboard facility in Hope, laying off 100 workers.

The Crossett decision was based on an assessment of the mill’s ability to compete effectively in the bleached board market, the company said.

Southland Gaming and Racing
Wikipedia

Los Angeles-based specialty construction giant Tutor Perini Corp. announced last week that one of its subsidiary companies, Gulfport Miss.-based Roy Anderson Corp. (RAC), has been awarded a $200 million contract to build Delaware North’s new Southland Gaming Casino and Hotel Project in West Memphis.

CZ-USA gun maker
Talk Business & Politics

Cold beer, good food, and bike trails may have sealed the deal for Arkansas’ newest foreign investment.

On Tuesday, Gov. Asa Hutchinson and local economic leaders announced in a state capitol press conference that CZ-USA, a Czech Republic-based gun manufacturer would locate its North American headquarters in the Little Rock Port Authority. The $90 million facility will manufacture, warehouse and distribute the company’s high-end, precision firearms, while employing up to 565 workers over the next six years.

Sig Sauer

Ammunitions manufacturer SIG Sauer cut the ribbon on its expanded Jacksonville, Ark. facility on Tuesday. Gov. Asa Hutchinson, U.S. Rep. French Hill, R-Little Rock, and local government and economic development officials participated in the ceremony for the state-of-the-art facility.

Financial terms of the expansion were not disclosed.

Rock Region Metro
Rock Region Metro

Central Arkansas public transit could benefit from national bipartisan support for infrastructure spending. Charles Frazier, the CEO of Rock Region Metro, traveled to Washington D.C. as part of a national delegation of transit officials requesting federal funding.

"There are backlogged 'state of good repair' projects – upwards of $90 billion – and without the appropriate support from the federal government that work gets kicked down the road," Frazier said.

Frazier was one of several members of the American Public Transportation Association to present data from a report generated by the APTA to members of the U.S. Congress. In addition to repair projects, federal dollars could also help pay for new projects, like an expansion of the transit hub in Arkansas's capital city.

David Monteith / KUAR News

Arkansas could join 10 other states with refundable bottle deposits as the result of legislation filed Monday in the state legislature. Rep. Vivian Flowers (D-Pine Bluff) is sponsoring the bill to introduce a Container Deposit Law.

The proposal would increase the cost of certain bottles by 6 cents. A refund of 5 cents would be available at certified drop-off locations. Flowers said the program could reduce litter on Arkansas roads, bring recycling to many rural communities that currently have no access, and generate revenue for a variety of state and local organizations.

Windstream Holdings Inc. said Monday that it plans to enter Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection immediately as the Little Rock-based rural telecom provider deals with the fallout of an adverse federal court ruling on Feb. 15.

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