When Hytrol was founded by Tom Loberg in 1947, the company was a small operation doing work in a 40×60-square-foot building in West Allis, Wisconsin. As business continued to grow, expansions were made. When the company hit a boom in the 1950s, Tom realized his company needed to relocate – a new home where the company could grow and expand while establishing roots.
The decision to move to Jonesboro, Arkansas was made in 1962. During this time, some states offered businesses help if they would consider moving to their state. Arkansas had the Industrial Development Commission and Jonesboro, a small town of 18,000, located in the state’s Northeast part. Tom saw this town and knew it was a perfect place to grow.
The workforce in Jonesboro was what our founder was looking for – hardworking, dedicated people who will advance the company while supporting their families. The area shared the same values that Tom had, the values of community, commitment, and hard work, and he knew that Hytrol would fit in.
When looking to expand our company, we wanted to find a place that exhibited those same aspects that Tom looked for in 1962. Fort Smith, Arkansas did just that. Fort Smith offered key things we were looking for, availability of an existing facility, low-cost factors, and a strong relationship with local and state governments.
We chose a 300,000-square-foot facility south of town. This facility fits the growth that is ahead for our company. We were able to secure a long-term lease with another local group. This is a space that fits our equipment, was relatively easy to remodel, and is adaptable for change. Along with providing everything we needed, it also offered us room to grow and spread out.
We did have to factor in cost. We needed a place that offered low lease rates and utility costs. Arkansas offers these at a high quality. The project satisfies all of our expectations without going over budget.
Why Arkansas? We wanted to stay dedicated to a state that has been beneficial to our success. Though we looked at 13 different states, we decided to stay in a state that we have for so long called home. The Arkansas Economic Development Commission has been continuously supportive throughout our years in Arkansas. This helped us develop a relationship with the local government in Fort Smith, and already having a relationship with the state government eased the transition forward.
Being located in Northwest Arkansas, Fort Smith has similar values that are shown in Jonesboro. Hardworking, skilled, and hospitable, the people of Fort Smith showed us that their town would be a perfect match for our expansion. There is an opportunity for us to get involved in local schools, charities, and councils.
Expanding to the northwest offers us a chance to diversify our workforce while remaining true to our roots. We are excited to see what this expansion will do for Hytrol and Fort Smith.