CLINTON, Ark. (KTHV) - The past five years have taken a toll on Clinton, Ark. Between the losses from the recession and natural disasters, the town seemed to be hit at every turn.
Wednesday brought a break, as Global Food Group announced it will move into a facility in Clinton and invest $4.7 million on the plant, bringing more than 200 jobs.
The frigid Arkansas frost couldn't compare to the warm sense of accomplishment in Clinton.
"Some of the people I talk to say this was the best year in six years," said Van Buren County Judge Roger Hooper.
Once dark clouds, filled with economic losses and natural disasters, hovered over the town.
"Where can I get food? Where can I get clothes? We just need the jobs," said Sandy Sherwood of the Clinton Chamber of Commerce, describing the community.
Then a year and a half ago, the storm gave way to the sun, melting away the bitter loss of hundreds of jobs.
"The number of jobs in five years is projected to be 224. It will start with about 70, and then they're planning on adding a second shift real soon after that," said Judge Hooper.
The company will make retail sandwiches, quesadillas, tortillas and burritos. Van Buren County Judge Roger Hooper said the company will supply a number of other businesses.
"Their biggest customer is Best Choice, Associated Grocers, Harps and Food Giant," said Judge Hooper.
Sherwood said she frequently receives calls for people asking for help, and she hopes now those calls will fade over the coming months.
"It's people can put food on the table again and feed their families," said Sherwood.
Ozark Health Medical partially occupies the facility, but plans to relocate. CEO of the medical center, David Deaton, said he's fine with the move and welcomes the new business.
"A lot of our folks at the hospital are married and have families and some of them are single mothers, trying to make a living and this just gives our community another chance," said Deaton.
Judge Hooper said relief spread across the community when word of new business circulated. He said the county has roughly 600 unemployed.
Hooper estimated after the ripple effect of the plant spreads an economic boost, that unemployment could get as low as five percent.