Arkansas Businesses Show Fortitude in the Face of Pandemic

 April 16, 2020

Arkansans, like those around the world, continue to feel the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our state’s businesses are doing their best in an incredibly challenging environment, and thousands across Arkansas are dealing with the reality of unemployment. In the face of these trying days and weeks, our spirits are lifted through the examples of businesses and organizations that are finding ways to innovate and continue serving their customers while others are stepping up to help their fellow citizens.

Triumph Group in Hot Springs is reconfiguring its operations to help produce nonmedical fabric masks used to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The Hot Springs operation will provide this high-demand form of PPE for other Triumph sites as well as community partners.

Multiple alcoholic beverage producers in Arkansas have modified their manufacturing processes to make much-needed hand sanitizer for their communities, including Pernod Ricard in Ft. Smith, Rock Town Distillery in Little Rock and Postmaster Spirits in Newport.

J.B. HuntWalmart, and George’s Inc. have awarded their employees with additional compensation for continuing to serve customers in the face of the pandemic. These great Arkansas companies continue to deliver much-needed food, products and logistics services to their customers.

Tyson Foods has committed $13 million to support critical needs in local communities in the company’s operations footprint in response to the pandemic.

The Blue & You Foundation, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association,  has opened the Rapid-Response COVID Relief grant process that awards up to $1.7 million for Arkansas nonprofit organizations affected by COVID-19 and is donating $500K to fight food insecurity.

The Arkansas Community Foundation has created the COVID-19 Relief Fund to direct resources to Arkansas nonprofits disproportionately affected by the coronavirus and its economic fallout.

These are just a few examples, and there are many others. The Arkansas Economic Development Commission will be highlighting these and other companies that are innovating in order to maintain jobs, serve our communities and inspire us all. Look for the #ARBizStrong hashtag in our social media posts on LinkedInTwitter, and Facebook as we continue to share their stories.

Over the past month, AEDC has been able to grant nearly $5 million in bridge loans to more than 240 small businesses using funds from the Governor’s Quick Action Closing Fund and the Attorney General’s Consumer Education and Enforcement Fund. These zero-interest loans will help some of our state’s most vulnerable businesses to secure immediate cash and keep their staffs in place while also giving them time to secure additional funding if necessary.

Arkansans have a long history of hard work, innovation, and persistence. Our economy was strong heading into the pandemic, and we are well-positioned to bounce back. We have weathered many storms before, and I am confident that the hard work, collaboration, and entrepreneurial spirit in Arkansas will guide us through the rough seas and into a brighter future.

For more information and updates on resources available to businesses in Arkansas, visit arkansasedc.com/covid19.


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Blog post contributed by:

Clint O'Neal
Executive Vice President of Global Business
Arkansas Economic Development Commission
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