Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson is shown Little Rock on Oct. 11. Hutchinson on Tuesday praised Fort Smith leadership and Elite Comfort Solutions following an announcement that Elite would add 100 jobs in Fort Smith. Arkansas News Bureau file photo

Elite Comfort Solutions, a newly formed carve-out of the Hickory Spring Manufacturing at 4921 State Line Road, is expanding its manufacturing facility in Fort Smith with plans to add 100 jobs.

The newly formed platform company of Arsenal Capital Partners is a foam manufacturing entity focused on serving the bedding, furniture and home furnishings markets.

The expansion will bring total employment to about 185 employees and will increase hiring opportunities in all facets of the plant’s daily operations, according to the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.

Rick Ralston, vice president of operations for ECS-East, said the Fort Smith facility is a “critical piece” to the manufacturing and distribution model of the company’s market expansion.

The Fort Smith Board of Directors in August approved a resolution to certify endorsement of Elite Comfort Solutions to participate in the AEDC Tax Back program. According to a city memo, Elite Comfort Solutions had invested more than $3.4 million in new equipment and renovations. At the time, only about 40 new jobs were expected to be added with an average wage of $13.46 an hour, the city memo stated.

The AEDC Tax Back program provides sales and use tax refunds on the purchase of building materials and taxable machinery and equipment to qualified businesses.

“Fort Smith has developed a reputation as a hub for manufacturing, and today that reputation grows thanks to the announcement of ECS’ expansion,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said through the AEDC. “Fort Smith’s leadership should be commended for making job creation a priority and understanding the importance of supporting local employers. We appreciate ECS’ decision to continue to invest in Arkansas and our workforce.”

Tim Allen, president of the Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce, noted Elite’s decision to expand its manufacturing operation in Fort Smith was “great news for our entire region.”

“It’s not only a testament to our quality workforce, but it also validates the importance of logistics to our manufacturers,” Allen said. “Logistics is a key component for manufacturing companies and Fort Smith has it. Fort Smith’s location in the middle of the U.S. allows companies to ship to anywhere in the world by air, rail, river or highway in an efficient manner.”

Arsenal Capital Partners announced in March it had made a majority investment in the Newnan, Ga.-based Elite Foam Inc. and agreed to buy the foam production assets of Hickory Springs Manufacturing Co. Financial terms weren’t announced. Hickory Springs Manufacturing is based in Conover, N.C. Arsenal also invested in Pacific Urethanes in March and combined Elite Foam, HSM Foam and Pacific Urethanes to form Elite Comfort Solutions, a specialty foam platform with a network of 10 production facilities.

Those interested in employment at ECS’ Fort Smith facility may apply in person at the visitor check-in lobby or can email their resume to mgvargas@elite-cs.com.