Vikon Farms announced Monday the opening of its new processing facility in Arkadelphia.
The facility will be housed in the former Petit Jean Poultry building which was closed in April 2011.
Vikon Farms will employ more than 170 people within four years. The company will invest $5.4 million in the facility.
In addition to the jobs created directly by the new processing facility, Vikon will also contract with a significant number of growers from El Dorado and Union County along with a Vikon supported hatchery in Prescott.
Vikon produces a specialty breed of chicken that serves numerous Asian markets.
Shawnie Carrier, president and CEO of the Arkadelphia Regional Economic Development Alliance, introduced Quan Phu, chief executive officer with Vikon Farms, during Monday's event.
According to Carrier, Vikon Farms is one of the largest unique chicken groups that caters to the Asian community and the western area of the United States.
Phu said he has locations in Chicago, Houston, and is looking to have a location in Arkansas.
"I feel this is a perfect place for Vikon Chicken," said Phu.
Vikon Farms raises chickens that are free-range and naturally grown. The poultry maintains an all grain diet with no hormones or antibiotics added.
"We want Vikon Farms to be known in the whole United States; including the east coast," Phu said.
Although he wanted to open immediately, Phu said he hopes to have the Arkadelphia facility open in approximately six months.
"We have to put in the equipment, we have to plan a little bit, and we have to work with the hatchery and the grower in El Dorado," Phu explained.
Dr. Lewis Shepherd, chair of the EDCCC, said Monday was a lot better than the day Petit Jean Poultry closed in 2011.
Shepherd expressed his appreciation to Phu for selecting Arkadelphia as a site for Vikon Farms.
He also expressed his appreciation to the citizens of Clark County for their patience and resilience.
Vikon Farms will be the first company to locate in Arkadelphia and Clark County since the passage of the Economic Development Tax.
"Because of that tax, we are standing here today. We would not celebrate this moment with Vikon Farms without the Clark County Economic Development Tax," Shepherd said.
Echoing Shepherd's comment about resilience, Gov. Mike Beebe Monday's announcement is an example of how people can get knocked down but get back up again.
Carrier said the opening of Vikon Farms in Arkadelphia is truly a regional project.
In addition to the 172 jobs created and $5.4 million in investment, Carrier also noted a $6.4 million in payroll and a 6.25 percent ROI per dollar for the state.
Page 2 of 2 - Other speakers were State Senator Bruce Maloch, Henry Florsheim of El Dorado, and Mary Godwin of Prescott.