By Frank Antosiewicz, Plastics News Correspondent
Pocahontas, Arkansas - US footwear components maker Atlantic Thermal Plastics is planning to expand its operations to Arkansas, with the opening of a manufacturing facility for polyurethane insoles.
The company, owned by Newgrange Group llc of North Smithfield, Rhode Island, expects to begin production by 1 June, according to a news release from the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, in Little Rock. At the start, it will employ 100, and expects to raise that to 200 by the end of 2009. The firm will move into an existing, 130 000-sq.ft (12100 sq.m) facility in Pocahontas.
The project's cost is listed at $3 million.
"We will actually be moving from Rhode Island in the next few months," said Ed Lossing, Atlantic Thermal vice president of operations, in a telephone interview.
Newgrange is moving machinery from ATP-USA Manufacturing llc in North Smithfield to Pocahontas. ATP employs about 80 in North Smithfield.
The companies did not provide further details about the move or its timetable.
Lossing said Newgrange picked the Arkansas site because it also operates America's Choice Products in Newport, Arkansas, and the relocation will provide many synergies for the two firms. ATP is a supplier for America's Choice, a maker of moulded footwear and products.
"The support we have received from Arkansas combined with the state's strategic central location and skilled hard workers allow us to compete in an intensively competitive global economy," said Newgrange chairman John Carroll in the news release.
The Pocahontas operation will make polyurethane insoles, as well as rubber boots, Lossing said. He said the company supplies customers such as Red Wing Shoes, Wolverine and the US Army.
"We're obviously very pleased to have ATP coming to our area," said Wayne Gearhart, executive director of the Randolph County Chamber of Commerce.
Locating the new facility in the county required joint efforts of the city, county, Arkansas Development Commission, the state and the chamber, he said.