An expansion at the largest employer in Manila will provide a lift economically and in the products the company develops, a Mississippi County economic development official said Tuesday (Jan. 5).
State and county economic development officials will be at Southworth Products in Manila at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday (Jan. 6) to announce an expansion at the company. Clif Chitwood, executive director of the Great River Economic Development group, said the expansion, which will include expanding a line in one of the company’s buildings, will add 35 jobs to the company’s Manila location.
With the expansion, the company will have nearly 150 employees, Chitwood said.
According to the company’s website, Southworth Products makes ergonomic materials handling equipment for vertical lifting and work positioning for companies.
Mississippi County will provide $350,000 in existing economic development money for the expansion, which will pay employees about $17 to $20 per hour, Chitwood said.
The county has had a half-cent sales tax dedicated to economic development for at least a decade. The tax can be used for expansions or new industries locating in Mississippi County. Mississippi County Judge Randy Carney said the tax brought in $3.32 million in 2015, up $105,089 from 2014.
Chitwood said the expansion is a good thing, with a company and industry that is growing. Another part of the company’s development is an elevator system that is used.
The system allows anyone who is 5’2” to 6’6” to work on equipment without having to lean down or stretch to build a lift, Chitwood said.
Chitwood said company officials, as well as Arkansas Economic Development Commission Executive Director Mike Preston will speak at the event.