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Local company moving in to former Regal-Beloit plant; other new business coming to West Plains

Favorite Fishing USA will manufacture its fishing products in West Plains
Published: Sep. 10, 2020 at 10:27 PM CDT
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WEST PLAINS, Mo. (KY3) - Even during this pandemic there is some encouraging economic news that will bring business and jobs to town.

The Regal-Beloit plant closed at the end of May, forcing 200 people out of work. But now, the plant has a new occupant that will begin to bring manufacturing jobs back to this area.

Favorite Fishing USA, which makes rods, reels and other fishing gear, will keep its current fulfillment center in Thayer, Mo. while expanding into a new plant in West Plains.

“Their products all come from China. That product will no longer come from China, it will be manufactured here in West Plains," Economic Development Corporation Director Dave Bossemeyer told KY3.

Creating immediate jobs with the possibility of more.

“That should bring in about 40 to 50 jobs to start out with and they hope to go into a retail front as well and that will add some more," Bossemeyer added.

Work has started on a new Tractor Supply store along Highway 160 on the southern end of town.

It will go in area that includes Southern Hills Shopping Center, which is undergoing its own renovation.

“Hoping to do a soft opening by mid-February and hopefully that will also spur that entire area to grow more," Bossemeyer explained.

Last August, the Economic Development Corporation hired Lighthouse 360 to partner in finding the right type of companies for West Plains and the surrounding area.

Since then, more than 80,000 emails have gone out to contacts and companies looking to relocate, expand or start up.

“Working with them again this year to make that much more finite, so the target is much smaller," Bossemeyer stated.

A year into the partnership and the city’s economic development director says West Plains is becoming a more familiar name.

The goal is to find primary jobs that will bring revenue directly to West Plains.

“I have about 128, what I call active prospects or at least suspects, that we continue to have conversation with and continue to open our email blasts. We have people who are at least learning that West Plains is here," Bossemeyer said.

According to the Economic Development Corporation - annual wages have increased 12.5 percent in Howell County since 2017, to just under $36,000 per year.

Over that same time, the sales and use tax receipts have also increased in West Plains by 14 percent.

Copyright 2020 KY3. All rights reserved.

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