Springdale Company Perfect Example of Region's Under-the-Radar Job Growth

A Springdale company has added 10 people to its workforce since March, increasing the number of jobs it provides in the city to 32 in all.

EcoTech Consumer Products, a subsidiary of Olivet International, shreds and then pelletizes plastic from six Walmart return centers across the U.S. The pellets, which are shipped to plastics facilities in California and Oklahoma, are heated and placed into molds where they become pet food bowls, plastic cooler lining and other plastic products that’ll be sold at Walmart stores.

The company, which is located on Springdale’s Monitor Road in a 130,000-square-foot building, is a perfect example of the kind of job growth that’s so common in Northwest Arkansas. While major, all-at-once jobs announcements draw wide attention and make headlines. Northwest Arkansas has historically been a steady, less flashy job growth place with hundreds of companies adding a few jobs every year. Economists say the vast majority of U.S. jobs are created a few at a time rather than hundreds all at once.

The annual Employer Retention and Expansion (ER&E) survey, which is conducted by the Northwest Arkansas Council in partnership with five chambers of commerce, confirms the pattern of steady growth across a large group of employers is what's most common in Northwest Arkansas. In 2014, nearly 500 companies participated in the survey and indicated they expected to hire more than 1,500 additional workers over the next three years.

EcoTech certainly fits the pattern.

The company this fall is scheduled to start using its plastic to produce Easter baskets for Walmart's customers. The pellets and then the final product will be made in Springdale.

EcoTech's relationship with Walmart, meanwhile, is keeping hundreds of tons of plastic from reaching U.S. landfills.

Olivet International, a 37-year-old company with a Walmart supplier office in Bentonville, has products in nine different categories, including luggage, soft-sided coolers, camping supplies, pet accessories, home storage, baby accessories, backpacks, lunch kits, and seasonal plastics.

The Springdale Chamber of Commerce on Thursday afternoon helped the company celebrate its job growth and expansion to the Springdale warehouse.