Detergent Maker To Expand In East Arkansas

MARKED TREE, Ark. (AP) -- Detergent maker Awesome Products said Friday it will invest $44 million and add 240 employees as it expands its east Arkansas operation.

The company, which is based in Buena Park, Ca., already employs 80 people at its West Memphis facilities, which will be upgraded. The company will build a new plant in Marked Tree. The company will hire 120 people in each city.

Awesome Products makes laundry detergent, fabric softener, bleach and household chemicals. Dollar Tree, Family Dollar and Fred's are among the discount retailers that carry the company's products.

"We are fortunate to have the resources in place here in Arkansas in which to continue to grow our business," Awesome Products owner and president L.D. Hardas said. "This region is perfect - an available skilled workforce, proximity to key distribution points, quality infrastructure and collaboration among private and public entities. We look forward to continued growth in Arkansas."

Awesome Products began detergent production in 2004 in West Memphis, where it has two facilities. The company will make sodium hypochloride at the Marked Tree plant. The chemical is used to make household bleach.

Gov. Mike Beebe visited Marked Tree and West Memphis for separate ceremonies Friday. He said the expansion indicates the health of the Arkansas economy. The state unemployment rate has been about 2 percentage points lower than the national rate for much of the recession.

"I'm proud of the leadership shown in Marked Tree and West Memphis that has made this day possible. Awesome Products' expansion in east Arkansas helps this region prove its continued economic viability," Beebe said.
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