Although unveiling the enormous Hostess Brands signs at its new facility didn’t go as planned, the company’s chief executive officer delivered a message of hope and encouragement to the citizens of Clark County and southwestern Arkansas.
About 100 business executives and community leaders were in attendance Thursday morning to hear an announcement from Hostess Brands CEO Andy Callahan. Earlier this year the company pledged a $100 million investment into revamping the old Danfoss building into what will become a confectionery. The Arkadelphia bakery is said to add at least 150 jobs to the area within the next three years.
The company is in its 10th consecutive quarter of at least 9% growth, and the Gum Springs facility is a “tangible benefit of that growth,” Darryl Riley, the company’s chief sustainability officer, said in his introduction remarks.
In its negotiations with the Arkadelphia Regional Economic Development Alliance before making the decision to locate in Clark County, Hostess conducted an analysis to see if local resources met the company’s needs.
“We looked at the (Union Pacific) rail system, and it was good,” Callahan said. “We looked at the access to our customer base — Walmart and all of them in our distribution centers — and it was good. But what really made the difference was the people, the community, the support of Arkansas.” The Arkadelphia bakery is the company’s largest investment under Callahan’s leadership, and it’s “not a speculative investment,” he said. “We’re bringing our core business to Arkadelphia, and we’re counting on a high-quality workforce and the support around here to keep the standards of quality and safety that we’ve been known to develop along the way.”