Foodservice packaging manufacturer Anchor Packaging LLC broke ground Tuesday on the $21.5 million, 90,000-SF expansion of its plant in Paragould that will create 45 new jobs over the next two-and-a-half years.
Anchor employs more than 1,000 people and operates 2 million SF of production and distribution space across six facilities in Paragould, Marmaduke and Jonesboro.
The company expects to complete the expansion by the end of the year.
"Anchor Packaging has a rich 58-year history protecting food, including moving its manufacturing operations to northeast Arkansas communities over 35 years ago," CEO and President Jeff Wolff said in a news release. "I am proud to say we have never had a layoff. Re-investing in the region comes naturally as we have outstanding employees, many second and third generation, coupled with an ever growing business focused on sustainable food packaging solutions."
Along with square footage and employees, the company plans to add new products in its Crisp Food Technologies(TM) Containers line, Spokesman Richard Daniels told Arkansas Businss by email. The project will increase the plant's capacity by 30%, he said.
Daniels also confirmed that the increase in off-premise dining — takeout and drive-ins, curbside pickup and home delivery — amid the pandemic has accelerated Anchor Packaging's growth.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson said most Americans probably don’t know they take their take-out restaurant food home in a container made in Arkansas.
"Since 1987, when Anchor opened its first facility in Marmaduke, the company has been a world-class member of our business community," he said. "Anchor’s decision to expand in Paragould gives us another opportunity to spread the news that Arkansas’s workforce is first-rate, our business climate is second to none, and Arkansas businesses make life better for millions of people."
According to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, the company is eligible for three incentives: the Advantage Arkansas program, which provides a state income tax credit of 1% of total payroll; the Tax Back program, which provides sales tax refunds on building materials, taxable machinery and equipment; and $300,000 in Community Development Block Grant money.
Mayor Josh Agee called the company "an excellent partner" since it expanded its operations to Paragould in the 1990s, and he touted the quality of the city’s workforce.
"The city of Paragould has long been a proponent of partnering with our local industries for job retention and expansion," the mayor said in the release "The Anchor Packaging expansion is a proud product of those efforts."