Manufacturing A Hidden Gem in Hot Springs Metro Among Recreation & History

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Mar. 26, 2012 12:00 am  

The Hot Springs Metro Partnership has adopted a major, strategic plan that focuses on four goals to maximize the area’s growth.

It’s a vibrant and strong business and industry sector for which residents are thankful for and vacationers don’t always notice.

Together, the five counties that make up the Greater Hot Springs region create one of the most diverse economies in Arkansas. Included in their regional Gross Domestic Product:

• One of the few remaining American shoe manufacturers, Munro Footwear, with headquarters in Hot Springs and plants in Hot Springs and Mt. Ida.

• Reynolds Continuous Rolling Mill in Magnet Cove, which produces the majority of the sheet aluminum from which aluminum foil is made.

• Sport boats from Alumacraft, in Arkadelphia and Hot Springs, that ply the waters of the Diamond Lakes.

• A long time Southern favorite soft drink, Grapette, from Grapette International in Malvern.

• The rubber bands that wrap your mail at the Post Office and your fresh produce at the grocery, from Alliance Rubber in Hot Springs.

The region has a strong education component, with Henderson State University, Ouachita Baptist University, College of the Ouachitas and National Park Community College; a major healthcare presence, with Mercy Medical Center, National Park Medical Center, Hot Spring County Medical Center and Baptist Health Medical Center, as well as a strong back office/business services presence with Sykes Enterprises, Xerox Corp., Weyerhauser and Accent Marketing.

But the Greater Hot Springs region’s hidden business segment is manufacturing, which goes unnoticed by the many who come to the region for vacations and entertainment.

Health services comprise the single largest economic sector of the region, with 17.4 percent in the private workforce, followed by retail trade with 15 percent. Almost 10 percent of the region’s 73,000-member private labor force is employed in manufacturing operations. Significant manufacturing clusters include forest products, aviation/aerospace, metal fabrications and plastics.

Hot Springs and Arkadelphia serve as the natural centers of the region as the two largest population and business clusters. Hot Springs serves as the shopping, entertainment and residential hub, with Arkadelphia and its two universities providing the education anchor for the five counties.

Trade and commuting patterns show how the five counties are critically interrelated through housing, employment, shopping and healthcare.



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