The business sector is right on the money these days in Fort Smith, AR, with many companies benefitting from the city having a lower-than-average cost of living. That’s an advantage for both employees and employers.
Here are some key reasons why Fort Smith is a good place to do business:
Good Transportation Access
Logistics, distribution and warehousing companies are drawn to Fort Smith thanks to several transportation advantages in place. Geographic assets include access to the Arkansas River that surrounds the city on three sides and provides a valuable shipping option for local manufacturers. The trucking industry also has the convenience of Interstates 40 and 49 that both run through the region, where more than more than 500,000 live within a 50-mile radius of Fort Smith. Also serving the community is Fort Smith Regional Airport that offers commercial airlines flights to Dallas/Fort Worth and Atlanta, while companies that ship by rail can move their goods via Kansas City Southern Railway and the Arkansas and Missouri Railroad.
Diversity of Companies
The diverse economy of Fort Smith includes key industry sectors in agriculture, food processing, manufacturing, retail, tourism and transportation. The region has been successful in business investment and expansion, such as 2016's announcement that Glatfelter had selected Fort Smith for an $80 million manufacturing facility that will create 83 new jobs. The plant is expected to begin operations in late 2017, with Glatfelter producing specialty papers and fiber-based engineered materials. Its array of products include tea bags, single-serve coffee filters, wipes applications, feminine hygiene products, non-woven wall coverings, greeting cards and high-quality book publishing paper.
Fort Smith enjoys a good reputation for welcoming and accommodating businesses in the city, whether those businesses are large or small. One of the region’s advantages is a helpful Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce that is eager to assist established companies expand, as well as help new companies move into the region. The chamber also oversees an economic development department that assists corporations, small businesses and entrepreneurs with valuable knowledge and tools regarding subjects such as taxation, insurance, business plans, funding resources and more.
For most shoppers in Western Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma, Fort Smith is their main shopping destination. The largest indoor mall in Arkansas is Central Mall in Fort Smith, with retailers including Best Buy, Dillard’s, Kohl’s, Lowe’s, Sears, Target, The Home Depot and Walmart. Other notable retail locations in the city include Fort Smith Pavilion, GreenPointe Shopping Center, Massard Crossing, Phoenix Center, Stonewall Village and Williamsburg Square.