Everyone knows Mr. Peanut, the symbol of Planters Peanuts, but who knew that the company is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year? This was brought to my attention when a reporter for the Fort Smith, Arkansas Times Record called to talk about manufacturing and the advantages a community has when a brand name facility is located there.
The Fort Smith plant of Planters Peanuts celebrates its 30th anniversary on Saturday, June 10. Mr. Peanut will be there and so will the Nutmobile. It’s a good reason for Fort Smith to celebrate because manufacturing facilities bring many economic benefits with them wherever they locate.
The reporter from the Times Record, Mary Crider, asked a lot of good questions. If you read her article, (just click on the newspaper link in the first paragraph), you’ll read about the higher wages, the “mulitiplier effect” which means more business for service companies and other manufacturers and an economic development magnet. In addition, manufacturers do a good job of employee training, so the standards for the local workforce are always raised with a large manufacturer in town.
About 350 people work in that Planters facility. The company (owned by Kraft Foods) has made some significant investments in the Fort Smith plant in recent years. The food industry is one of the largest manufacturing sectors, if not the largest, in the state of Arkansas and Planters is part of this success story. Congratulations to Planters and the folks in Fort Smith in particular!