Jack Perry, who co-founded Springdale business J.V. Manufacturing in the late 1970s, died Sept. 2 at his Springdale home. He was 89.
J.V. Manufacturing makes solid waste compaction and recycling equipment for commercial and industrial customers throughout the world. The privately-owned company builds the Cram-A-Lot brand of garbage compactors and recycling balers.
A visitation at Sisco Funeral Chapel in Springdale is scheduled Wednesday (Sept. 8) from 4-6 p.m. Graveside services will be held Thursday at 11 a.m. at Friendship Cemetery in Springdale.
The family requested donations to the Arkansas Cattlemen’s Association’s Jack and Janet Perry Pre-Vet and Communications Scholarship instead of flowers.
“He was quite the character and certainly the last of a breed,” said J.V. Manufacturing Chairman Chris Weiser, Perry’s stepson.
Perry was a poultry farmer and lifelong cattleman before getting into the recycling business.
“He got into J.V. Manufacturing by accident,” Weiser said in an interview with the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal. “A friend of his built a baler to bail cardboard for Walmart, to their specifications. When they accepted it, he couldn’t set up a production line where he was working, so he needed an investor.”
The friend, Jim Ulrich, went to Perry for the funding, paving the way for the first J.V. Manufacturing company building at the corner of Butterfield Coach and Parsons roads. It remains today.
Ulrich and Perry went in as 50-50 partners with J.V. Manufacturing, and Walmart was the company’s initial customer.
“Legend has it that Sam Walton looked at the baler and asked how much cardboard it could recycle,” Weiser recalled. “Neither of them knew, and Sam said, ‘Well, it sure can cram a lot.’ And that’s where the name came from.”
In 1981, Ulrich retired, and Perry bought complete control of J.V. Manufacturing. Janet Perry, his wife, directed the businesses’ marketing efforts. J.V. Manufacturing has been supplying its balers and compactors to Walmart stores throughout the country ever since.
“She and Jack had a vision that J.V. could grow,” Weiser said. “They had the foresight of developing and expanding J.V. and the wisdom to hire the people who could make it happen.”
Weiser said one of Perry’s ambitions was to not only make and sell the equipment but to service it, too.
“As Walmart grew and our company grew, we developed a service network throughout the country,” he said. “We serve it through our people or third-party service providers from coast to coast. That was Jack’s idea. To keep Walmart, more or less, needing J.V. As long as we had good service and had a fair price.”
J.V. Manufacturing today has 250 employees spread throughout its Springdale headquarters, a Conway manufacturing plant and service centers in Dallas, San Antonio and Sacramento.
The company has more than 70 standard compactor models and 30 standard baler models. Weiser said J.V. Manufacturing has more than 100 major retail customers and thousands of smaller businesses as customers.
Weiser said Perry retired from J.V. Manufacturing in 1996. He was a past president of the Arkansas Cattlemen’s Association from 1986 to 1987, raised money to establish its headquarters in Little Rock and funded the Jack and Janet Perry Pre-Vet and Communications Scholarship.
Fish fries hosted annually by the Perrys at their 4J Ranch east of Springdale near Sonora were big ACA fundraisers and attended by local and state politicos and business leaders.
“Up to and including Bill Clinton when he was governor,” Weiser said.
Perry was also an ardent Springdale Public Schools supporter. The school district named one of its facilities the Jack and Janet Perry Professional Development Center in 2013.