Marshalltown Tools in Fayetteville to add more than 100 jobs 

by Kim Souza ([email protected]) 1,806 views 

John Reynolds, vice president of sales at Marshalltown, Fayetteville, demonstrates using a Wal-Board hopper gun during a training session as Jack Murders, vice president of Arkansas facilities, watches. 

Marshalltown is adding more than 100 jobs to its Fayetteville locations with the acquisition of Long Beach, Calif.-based Wal-Board Tools. Financial terms were not disclosed. Marshalltown said nearly 200 total jobs will be added with this deal, with the majority in Fayetteville.

Jack Murders, vice president of Marshalltown’s Arkansas facilities, said Wal-Board Tools has been a competitor for more than 75 years. He said the acquisition will provide Marshalltown the ability to provide customers with the broadest assortment of drywall tools in the world. The deal adds nearly 300 products to the Marshalltown product catalog. Marshalltown will integrate the Wal-Board manufacturing and distribution operations into its Fayetteville and Marshalltown, Iowa locations.

Murders said the Fayetteville facility employs around 500 people at its two locations in the city’s industrial commerce district. He said Marshalltown has already hired more than two dozen employees to prep for the acquisition that closed Sept. 30. He said the company recognizes the tight labor force issues around the country but has had no issues with hiring.

“Our starting pay is $20 per hour and we have hired several new folks who recently moved to the area. We recruit with hiring events and also use temporary workers, many who become full-time. We have not really struggled to keep our hourly positions filled. We are backfilling some other positions in the company from open positions relating to Great Resignation,” Murders said.

He said none of Wal-Board management is expected to stay on but the brand will coexist with Marshalltown.

“We will be adding somewhere between 10 and 15 production lines with this acquisition and adding jobs in several areas such as line production, shipping, distribution, management, engineering and maintenance. We acquired some inventory from Wal-Board and are already doing some local manufacturing and will begin shipping those products in a few days,” Murders said.

He said it will take time to ramp up production but Wal-Board’s customers will be served. Murders said both of the Fayetteville plants are running at capacity which is why the company is breaking ground in October on a 50,000 square-foot expansion at the Armstrong Street facility. He said the Industrial Street plant will get an addition in 2023.

Wal-Board is the largest deal in the history of the Marshalltown, Iowa-based company and is expected to open new business lines in the construction and drywall business. Murders said Marshalltown’s business has remained strong despite ongoing supply chain challenges and rising inflation.

“We serve the commercial and residential construction industries and there continues to be pent-up demand there. We are well aware of the economic slowdown and have tended to perform quite well in past recessionary periods. We have a small business that is served out of Asia, China included, and that continues to be a challenge but U.S. supply chain issues have been just as problematic,” he said.

He said there has been a slight slowdown in residential building demand but remodel demand remains high. Murders said the rising cost of materials has put some projects on pause and no one knows how the economy will fare into 2023.

“We are excited to grow our business and bring on the strong brand recognition of Wal-Board Tools. We will manage through any downturn in the economy and continue to serve our customers with the tools they need,” Murders said.