Jones­boro’s Hytrol at Trump fete

White House show­cases Amer­i­can-made hats, wine, gui­tars

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - BUSINESS & FARM -

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,”

Bon­ham said.

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

Chick-fil-A.

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.

AP/PABLO MARTINEZ MONSIVAIS

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.

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