Arkansas Business

4 Arkansas Companies Honored For Global Trade

May 22, 2013

Gov. Mike Beebe is honoring four Arkansas companies for their leadership in exporting goods and services throughout the world.

Beebe presented the Governor's Award for Excellence in Global Trade during an awards luncheon Wednesday in Little Rock. Springdale-based Tyson Foods Inc. was honored in the agribusiness category.

Conway Machine Inc. received the award for small manufacturers. The company was created in 1972 and produces after-market parts for die cutters.

Walmart Pledges $1M For Oklahoma Tornado Recovery

May 22, 2013

Walmart says it is pledging $1 million for the recovery from the tornado that devastated Moore. 

The Bentonville, Ark.-based company said Tuesday that it will make donations of cash and materials equal to $1 million.

Walmart is also sending truckloads of food, water and other basic items to serve as immediate aid.

The world's largest retailer says no customers or employees were injured in its two stores in Moore. But the company says some workers' homes were destroyed and that it is still checking on the needs of its employees.

Remington Plans $32 Million Expansion In Lonoke

May 21, 2013

Remington Arms Company LLC says it will spend $32 million to expand the company's ammunition plant in Lonoke. 

Remington says the expansion will include the construction of a new building. Work is expected to begin later this year and finish up by next spring.

Remington's Lonoke plant manager Jim Grahlmann says the expansion will help Remington meet a growing global demand for ammunition.

The Remington plant in Lonoke designs and makes ammunition products. It opened in 1969.

Union Pacific
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Railroads have long been a key industry for Arkansas, with North Little Rock today being the home to one of Union Pacific's largest rail yards. It also houses a large locomotive servicing facility. The sprawling grounds are busy 24 hours a day with arriving and departing freight trains. 

It’s a complicated process, sorting rail cars that arrive from all over the country, changing crews and servicing the equipment. Directing the action from the top of a tower in the center of the yard is General Yard Master Robby Robelot. He says the biggest challenge is coordination and timing.

Hope Rising In Helena-West Helena, Arkansas: Part Three

May 20, 2013
Malcolm Glover / KUAR

Communities throughout the Arkansas Delta often battle against a rising tide of economic woes. As factories close and labor-intensive jobs leave small towns, populations dwindle in many rural cities.

For decades, outside investments from banks and charitable organizations helped stimulate marginal growth, but most of the heavy lifting necessary to revitalize communities must be done by the people who live there.

In downtown Helena, a building that was once a post office is now a hub for various programs that provide important services to women and families.

Walmart Launches "Arkansas' Own" To Promote Products Made In The State

May 20, 2013
Kezia Nanda

The world's largest retailer, Walmart, is emphasizing products that are created, processed and produced in Arkansas.

Local companies and lawmakers joined in the launching Monday to highlight thousands of Arkansas-made items on the store's shelves.

The program called "Arkansas’ Own" will help customers easily find and buy things from the state.

Hope Rising In Helena-West Helena, Arkansas: Part Two

May 13, 2013
Malcolm Glover / KUAR

Helena-West Helena is part of Phillips County in the Arkansas Delta. According to U.S. Census data, the county’s population decreased over 17 percent in the last ten years, which means by some estimates the population is less than half of what it was in the 1950s. However, new community-led efforts in Helena-West Helena seek to make the area’s history and culture a catalyst for investment and growth.

Next Step Is Signatures For Arkansas Steel Plant

May 13, 2013

The $1.1 billion Big River Steel mill that's planned for Osceola could be under construction later this year, but a number of things have to happen before dirt can be turned for the superproject. 

The plant is awaiting rulings from two state regulators and it still must get signatures from financial backers and state officials before work can start.

Greg Hatcher, CEO of The Hatcher Agency, says health insurance reform measures are about to kick in a higher gear for state businesses, but none of his accounts are weighing absorbing penalties over providing coverage.

Malcolm Glover / KUAR

The City of Helena-West Helena in Phillips County, Arkansas is no stranger to the hardships that have plagued many communities across the country during the economic downturn.

High unemployment, a struggling education system, political upheaval, a crumbling infrastructure, and even unresolved racial inequalities were once the hallmarks of this unified city in the impoverished Arkansas Delta. However, new research findings show some positive demographic trends and community development projects have some residents saying Helen-West Helena is finally making a comeback.

Arkansas Tax Cut Package Includes Special Breaks For Some

Apr 29, 2013
Gov. Mike Beebe
Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

All taxpayers in Arkansas will see their rates reduced through a $140 million package adopted during this year's session, but the new laws also include special breaks for varied interests.

Volunteer firefighters, manufacturers, farmers and armed service members are among the groups to see additional breaks through the dozen tax cut bills that legislators approved and Gov. Mike Beebe signed into law before wrapping up the session last week. 

Peabody Hotel In Little Rock To Become Marriott Next Week

Apr 26, 2013

Officials say the Peabody Hotel in downtown Little Rock will switch over to the Marriott brand next week.

Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau CEO Gretchen Hall says the changeover will happen Wednesday.

Hall says the Peabody's signature ducks will take their last march in Little Rock within the next week.

In December, the Advertising and Promotion Commission signed an agreement to lease the Peabody to a Tennessee-based investment company, which settled on the Marriott brand. 

In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, U.S. Senator John Boozman of Arkansas says lawmakers must take a closer look at the nation’s visa system. He says his colleagues also have to make sure intelligence and security agencies are sharing important information that could stop future attacks.

The Little Rock Board of Directors is deciding whether or not to challenge Mayor Mark Stodola’s veto of its approval for the recent zoning proposal.

The zoning request would allow an RV and boat storage facility on residential property near Pinnacle Mountain. At-Large Director Joan Adcock, says the development would have benefited park visitors, by providing storage for their boats and RVs. 

Mayor Stodola felt overriding the decision was necessary to protect the natural beauty of the area. "Highway 300 out by Pinnacle Mountain is a very scenic area" said Stodola. 

Tyson Foods Makes Major Food Donation To Arkansas Pantry

Apr 18, 2013
Tyson
Tyson Foods

Tyson Foods has donated more than 27,000 pounds of chicken to the Arkansas Rice Depot. 

The donation to the statewide food bank arrived Wednesday. Arkansas Rice Depot President and CEO Laura Rhea says the donation is essential to help the food bank support dozens of pantries and thousands of people in every Arkansas county. She says the group distributes 9 million pounds of food each year.

Tyson Foods officials say meat is one of the most-requested and least-available foods in food banks. The company says it has donated tens of millions of pounds of meat since 2000.  

The U.S. Postal Service has dropped plans to end Saturday mail delivery this summer, due to a measure passed by Congress last month that barred U.S.P.S. officials from making such a move.

U.S. Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas says efforts to curb mail delivery from six days a week to five would have hurt rural communities in the state.

Stock Photo

Officials with the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services reported Friday that the unemployment rate in the state remained unchanged during the month of February. 

Agency Spokeswoman Kimberly Friedman says labor statistics show unemployment held steady at 7.2 percent , while the national jobless rate dropped from 7.9 percent in January to 7.7 percent in February.

Arvest Bank Completes Acquisition Of 29 Branches

Mar 27, 2013

Arvest Bank says it's completed its acquisition of 29 Bank of America locations in four states. The Fayetteville-based bank announced that the deal closed last week for the new locations. 

Terms of the deal weren't disclosed, but it included 15 branches in Missouri, nine in Arkansas, four in Oklahoma and one in Kansas. Arkansas Business reports that Arvest received regulatory approval for the purchase on Feb. 18.

A new online technology is helping Arkansans fund community projects and local business efforts.

The technology is called crowdsourcing, and it’s a method in which funds for local projects are raised through a large online network of people who want the projects to be successful. Small contributions by many people end up translating into lots of money.

Photo by: Tim Garlington, Portraits Plus

An Arkansas woman will be featured on the ABC reality TV show Shark Tank this weekend.

Jessica Haynes pitched an idea for a shoe with interchangeable heels, which will be featured on the program Friday at 8 p.m.

Haynes says although people have tried this before, her idea is different because it can change from a stiletto to a wedge.

JesKa Shoes also have magnetic components for attaching accessories on the shoe.  She says the idea came after she broke a heel of her favorite pair of shoe.

New Survey: Arkansans Divided On Concealed Weapons Bill

Feb 22, 2013

A survey released Friday by Talk Business and Hendrix College finds by a slight margin that most respondents support a bill that would allow weapons to be carried on college campuses by licensed faculty and staff. 

49% are in favor of the proposal, while 43-percent are against it.  Roby Brock with Talk Business Arkansas says it shows that gun rights issues remain a divisive topic.  

New Survey: Arkansans Divided On Concealed Weapons Bill

Feb 22, 2013

A survey released Friday by Talk Business and Hendrix College finds by a slight margin that most respondents support a bill that would allow weapons to be carried on college campuses by licensed faculty and staff. 

49% are in favor of the proposal, while 43-percent are against it.  Roby Brock with Talk Business Arkansas says it shows that gun rights issues remain a divisive topic.  

Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

  The Little Rock Tech Park Authority Board is still looking at three potential tech park sites as relatively equal rivals following their meeting Wednesday afternoon.

The Tech Park Authority Board’s meeting yielded no clear favorites from three sites in its afternoon meeting.  Board Chair Mary Good attributed part of the indecision to an engineer’s report that didn’t find any site particularly stronger than the others.

Aircraft cabinets
customaircraftcabinets.com

A Sherwood-based company that makes furnishings for airplanes on Wednesday opened a new facility.

It is also expanding its workforce, creating 150 additional jobs.

KUAR’s Kezia Nanda was at the grand opening. You can listen to her report above.

A large crowd was on hand as Custom Aircraft Cabinets opened the new facility on Landers Road, the building which had previously housed a National Home Center.

Mike Gueringer co-founded the company, which makes cabinetry and upholstery for aircraft, 24 years ago in North Little Rock.

Dillard's factory
Malcolm Glover

Arkansas economic development officials say what was once the vacant Target Distribution Center in Maumelle is now bustling with activity for another retailer.

Dillard’s Incorporated is using the facility in Maumelle to ship merchandise from online orders all over the country. The department store chain completely renovated the 850,000 square foot center and it has space for extra growth. Julie Bull with Dillard’s says the company wanted to honor its Arkansas roots and Maumelle proved to be the perfect site for what has been dubbed the “Internet Fulfillment Center.”

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