State Focus – Arkansas: Expect the Unexpected

You’ll find the best of both worlds in Arkansas: a folksy place where people still say hello to strangers on the street, while cutting-edge technology is embraced on local plant floors.

By the BF Staff
From the March/April 2016 Issue

Whether you call it The Natural State or The Land of Opportunity, Arkansas has something for everyone. From mountains to forests to rivers, the state is as diverse in opportunity as it is in landscape. No wonder a number of businesses and industry have found their way to where “The People Rule.”

Siloam Springs Arkansas
With their international headquarters in Siloam Springs, Simmons Foods plans to expand their operation once more with the building of their 75,000-square-foot future Pet Food Ingredient facility. (Source: City of Siloam Springs)

Now, imagine a place where people still say hello to a strangers on the streets, take family walks with the dog at night and attend community events together, yet are making major advances in technology, agribusiness, education and more. You don’t have to imagine this place; it’s Siloam Springs, AR.

Siloam Springs sits along US Highway 412, one of the busiest entryways into the state and a main thoroughfare in Arkansas. Only about 30 minutes from Interstate 49 and an hour from Interstate 40, these two highways serve as major access points for transportation across the region and country.

The Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport (XNA) is a short 20 minute drive from Siloam Springs. Rail also runs through Siloam Springs and the city owns a municipal airport, which can accommodate a variety of jets as well as all sizes of piston engine aircraft.

Siloam Springs has two major partners who train the laborers of tomorrow: John Brown University (JBU) was named the top college in the South according to rankings published in the 2015 U.S. News Best Colleges Guide. The Career Academy of Siloam Springs (CASS) mission statement says it will equip students for future career success with personalized industry-based training and skills integral to local and regional businesses. CASS’ 10,000-square-foot building has equipment used in local plants and manufacturing. Students learn OSHA standards and certification, how to fill out work orders and record project times, utilizing supply chain, lean manufacturing, drive components, seals, pumps, bearings, piping, valves, pneumatics, welding, electricity, PLC and automated equipment maintenance, measurement, instrumentation, print reading (AutoCAD) machining, milling, metallurgy, workplace and employability skills.

Manufacturing, agribusiness, retail and food production are all firmly established in Siloam Springs. Companies such as La-Z-Boy, Del Monte, Simmons Foods, Cobb-Vantress, Gates Corporation and DaySpring (a subsidiary of Hallmark) all have locations or headquarters in Siloam Springs.

Years ago, Siloam Springs became a nationally registered Historic District. Today, the downtown area thrives with business—both retail and professional. Loft living in the downtown area has become quite popular for students, artists and local business owners. Restaurant choices have grown to accommodate every palate.

Siloam Springs ArkansasWith three parks, nearly eleven contiguous miles of bicycling/pedestrian trails, notable architecture and graceful Sager Creek meandering throughout the downtown area, Siloam Springs has become a premier outdoor tourism destination. The $1.7-million dollar Sager Creek Soccer Complex recently opened for children’s recreational and competitive tournament play. An unmatched stunning outdoor attraction is the Siloam Springs Kayak Park, 600 feet of engineered river with two sets of improved Class I rapids, a fully accessible trail and river access. This amazing resource is completely free for park visitors.

The City of Siloam Springs is unique, as it owns the Electric Department, the Water and Wastewater Department and the Sanitation Department. This means the City controls rates and is able to use deposits, rates and usage as negotiators with incoming businesses.

Siloam Springs Electric Department received national recognition for exceptional electric reliability in 2015. This recognition comes from the American Public Power Association (APPA). The City’s Average Service Availability Index (ASAI) was 99.9924 percent in 2015, meaning that power was only out of service .0076 percent of the time.

There are a number of ready to go sites and lands for development. Whether you’re looking for something industrial or commercial, Siloam Springs can accommodate your needs. Commercial growth is toward the northeast of the City. For industrial use there are a few hundred acres available with access to rail, and land also is available near the industrial park, some already with city utilities in place.

If you’re looking for commercial space, lots are available along US Highway 412, the main highway through Siloam Springs.