FORT SMITH (KFSM) -- PRADCO, Inc. and Governor Asa Hutchinson celebrated the addition of 60 new local jobs at the fishing division in Fort Smith on Friday (Nov. 17).
The company also celebrated Walmart's commitment to buy an additional $250 billion in products supporting American jobs by 2023.
"Made in America is a commitment that we have as a company. We have committed to spend an additional $250 billion in buying U.S. made goods over the next seven remaining years. This was a 10 year commitment and this just attributes to that," said Kathryn Gaines, Walmart Associate Fishing Lure buyer.
PRADCO will add four soft plastics machines to produce YUM baits at the Fort Smith facility. PRADCO also announced that they will soon move the Thill Floats production line from Minnesota to Fort Smith.
"Business is booming right now - particularly at Walmart - and we are very blessed to be able to scale up our U.S. manufacturing operation," said Bruce Stanton, vice president and general manager for PRADCO. "This job expansion is a direct result of Walmart's $250 billion commitment to American jobs and local manufacturing. Additionally, EBSCO, our parent company, has supported us with a strong, seven-figure investment in our YUM manufacturing capabilities, and they continue to show long-term support to jobs in America."
PRADCO added 25 full-time jobs in 2016, and since January 2017, the company has added 64 jobs in the YUM production line.
"It's gratifying to see Arkansas companies come together in partnership," Governor Hutchinson said. "Walmart's initiative to support quality products made in America has had a tremendous impact on the bottom line for many Arkansas businesses and their communities, including PRADCO and Fort Smith. It's a boom to the entire state when we provide the atmosphere businesses need to grow and prosper, and we are proud to celebrate PRADCO's successes."
Thill Floats has the No. 1 market share position in the U.S. in fishing floats, according to Southwick & Associates' 2016 Annual Angler Survey. Thill also has a complete line of balsa floats, which will be manufactured completely in Fort Smith starting in December.