Jonesboro’s Hytrol at Trump fete
White House showcases American-made hats, wine, guitars
FRANK E. LOCKWOOD
WASHINGTON — When White House officials were looking for American-made success stories, they called up Jonesboro-based Hytrol.
The company, which makes conveyor systems, represented Arkansas on Monday at President Donald Trump’s Made in America product showcase.
Among the products on display: Marucci baseball bats made in Louisiana, Beehler Corp. door hinges manufactured in Missouri, Gibson guitars crafted in Tennessee and Stetson hats produced in Texas.
Trump toured the exhibition, which took up much of the White House’s main floor and spilled onto the South Lawn.
Vice President Mike Pence and members of the Cabinet were also on hand.
It wasn’t possible to set up a conveyor system at the White House. But Hytrol’s president, David Peacock, and its chief engineer, Boyce Bonham, set up a small display in the State Dining Room.
As guests mingled, the Hytrol executives touted their products, passed out business cards and bragged about the residents of northeast Arkansas.
“Jonesboro has absolutely the best people of anyplace I’ve ever lived,” said Peacock, who has lived in 13 different states. “They’re just good people. They want to help you. They embrace you and make you feel like you’re part of the family from the first day you get there.”
The 1,300 Hytrol employees in Jonesboro are also topnotch, he said. “They’re the
● best in the world at what they do,” he said.
The company makes its products in the United States, and its revenue continues to grow, Peacock said.
“Last year, we were a $172 million company and this year we’ll be over $200 million,” he said.
Bonham said the company’s
client list is impressive. “We work with a lot of different companies, from Amazon to Dick’s Sporting Goods to Office Depot.”
Car companies, appliance manufacturers and wine and spirits bottlers have all turned to Hytrol for help.
Founded in Milwaukee in 1947, Hytrol moved to Arkansas in 1962, and it’s been there ever since.
“It’s a true American company all the way around,”
There were 50 companies invited to the Made in America showcase by the White House, including makers of water bottles, wheelbarrows and beer. The smell of Cider Belly Doughnuts, a New Hampshire company, wafted far and wide.
Some of the companies at the showcase are already widely known, including piano-maker Steinway, soupmaker Campbell’s and sandwich-maker
In the Entrance Hall, visitors were offered lemonade, iced tea or water. But there were other beverage options nearby: California wine and North Carolina Cheerwine, a soda beverage.
A few items were too big to display inside.
Illinois-based Caterpillar exhibited a piece of yellow farm equipment and parked it on the South Lawn. It sat beside a red firetruck produced
by Pierce Manufacturing of Wisconsin.
The presidential helicopter, made by a Connecticut manufacturer, Sikorsky, was also on display.
Trump declared Monday to be Made in America Day.
Critics noted that many of the products the Trump family sells are made overseas, posting pictures of the items’ Made in China labels.
At a press briefing, White House press secretary Sean
Spicer was asked whether the Trump organization would commit to making its own products in the United States.
Spicer said it would be “inappropriate” to discuss individual businesses.
“I’m not going to comment on specific products, but I will tell you that the overall-arching goal, of course, though, is to grow manufacturing — to grow and invest here in the United States and to grow U.S. workers here,” he said.
Vice President Mike Pence (left) and President Donald Trump walk past a Caterpillar front-end loader parked Monday on the South Lawn of the White House. Trump’s Made in America event showcased products made in each of the 50 states. Caterpillar is manufactured in Illinois.