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Four R Marketing Finds Success in Smackover

4 min read

Finding global success in a rural town can be a challenge, but Four R Marketing LLC of Smackover continues to exceed its own expectations.

Since its founding in 2006, Four R Marketing has maintained a consistent increase in revenue, with “at least a 10% increase every year,” said Amy Wilson, the company’s CEO.

Last year, the company entered Arkansas Business list of the top 75 private companies at No. 72, with 2021 revenue of $110 million. This year, it reported a 33.9% year-over-year increase, reaching $147.34 million in 2022 revenue, a number that put it at No. 68 on the list.

Amy Wilson and husband, Roger, president, started the company at their kitchen table and “had no idea [Four R Marketing] would ever end up this big,” Amy Wilson said. It started as a used transformer oil refinery, but quickly grew, adding base oils and process oils as well. Its niche continues to be compound blending.

“We do it all! That’s what gives us a leg up,” CFO Mary Beth Fain said. “Everybody likes Four R [Marketing] because we’re doing our own blending, our own manufacturing, our own shipping. We even go pick the product up sometimes.”

The company partners with Wiltran Logistics LLC, its personal transportation company.

In 2018, Four R Marketing added wax production and distribution to its offerings, which led to a major increase in revenue. The company’s addition of wax grew its customer base as well.

“Since then, now we’re probably buying from 15 different vendors on wax and selling [to] a whole lot of different industries than what we ever thought about when we started out,” Roger Wilson said. “It’s been a steep learning curve, but it’s been good to diversify our business.”

Four R Marketing’s wax is distributed for many uses, including candles and cardboard coating. The company’s biggest wax customers are those in the corrugated cardboard industry. “If you go get a burger at McDonald’s, a Big Mac, there’s a little bit of wax on that [cardboard container] to keep the juice from seeping through it. So we’re selling that kind of stuff, that kind of a coating,” Roger Wilson said.

Wax has grown to be roughly 20% of Four R Marketing’s total sales, only five years after production began.

Small Town, Big Outreach

Although headquartered in small-town Smackover (population 1,600) with 12,000 SF of workspace combined over two buildings, Four R Marketing has had no difficulty in broadening its sales reach. The company never had the intention of being a local business, considering itself, for the most part, to be a wholesaler rather than a reseller, said Hunter Wilson, supply distribution manager and son of Amy and Roger Wilson.

“It’s actually been a really good location. Geography is a big piece of it. Arkansas is right in the middle of the country, so it’s a good distribution spot,” Roger Wilson said. “Quite frankly, Arkansas is a very easy state to do business in.”

Four R Marketing has other brick-and-mortar locations around south Arkansas, including a 40,000-SF warehouse in Camden with its own rail spur. Salespeople travel nationally, with sales areas including Beaumont, Texas; Oklahoma City; Jackson, Mississippi; Dallas; Atlanta; and Orlando, Florida. The company most recently added international sales and operations to its growing catalog, with terminal agreements across the U.S. and South America and export locations in South America and West Africa.

Last year, Four R Marketing sold to more than 250 customers total and sold 30 million gallons of oil and wax, a figure the company expects to rise by 20% next year.

‘Two-year Plan’

Hunter Wilson calls Four R Marketing “the biggest company you’ve probably never heard of.” But Amy and Roger Wilson are content working behind the scenes; their primary focus is making sure employees provide strong customer service.

“If I had to sum it up, our company and salesforce is outworking the competition,” Roger Wilson said. “The only reason we’ve been successful is because we’ve got really good people.”

The company has 55 employees, many of whom have worked there for years. But it has had its fair share of issues finding new talent, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. It avoids layoffs unless absolutely necessary by finding areas for its employees to stay busy.

As Four R Marketing’s revenue continues to increase, Amy and Roger Wilson are finding ways for their company to grow with it, including a two-year plan toward an additional rail spur. They also expect growth in international business.

“As long as the demand is there, the sky’s the limit,” Amy Wilson said.

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