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    Sherwood company Custom Aircraft Cabinets expanding, moving

    9:56 PM, Aug 31, 2012   |    comments
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    SHERWOOD, Ark. -- In Sherwood, a city aggressively trying to attract new businesses where old ones have fallen away, the future just got a lot brighter.

    "It's a breath of fresh air," said Mayor Virginia Hillman, on Friday.

    Mayor Hillman is ecstatic.

    The huge, vacant, former National Home Center on 67/167 in Sherwood was just chosen to be the new site of a company founded 23 years ago in North Little Rock called Custom Aircraft Cabinets.

    And by the end of the year, Custom Aircraft Cabinets will have spent nearly $6 Million renovating the Sherwood site, and 200 employees will be working there, with possibly 150 more within two years.

    "This will be great economically, but also it's just good for our community," she said. "It's encouraging."

    It turns out that the corporate aircraft market is expanding, according to the co-founder of Custom Aircraft Cabinets, Paul Reesnes. As a result, Reesnes said, his company, which creates custom interiors for the corporate jets, is expanding, as well.

    "We're shoulder to shoulder here," Reesnes said of the company's current factory, a 40,000 square foot complex in a remote and mostly residential area of North Little Rock.

    The demand for the company's products and services have long out-grown the space.

    "We started in the garage over here in 1989," Reesnes said as he pointed to the small house a few steps away that was once the home of his co-founder's parents. "The good Lord has brought us to this point. We've expanded seven times here."

    The new space in Sherwood is 146,000 square feet.

    Reesnes and sales and marketing vice president Mike Hammers are looking for at least 150 additional experienced cabinet makers and upholsterers and seamstresses.

    The job application is on their website.

    The pay -- $15 to $20 an hour.

    "We are looking for experienced people that are in the aircraft business," Reesnes said. There are not a lot of those to go around. So we've got a training program, as well, for people who have furniture building experience, and upholstery experience."

    They could have expanded to new facilities at other locations anywhere in the country.

    But they quickly decided they had to stay home.

    "Well, we're an Arkansas-based company." Reesnes said. "And we love this state. We love this place. And we want to grow right here at home, and be able to put more people here at home to work."

    A breath of fresh air for everyone here.

    The company's expansion project qualified for the state's incentives package.

    According to Joe Holmes, director of marketing and communications for the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, the incentive package includes benefits from "Advantage Arkansas," which provides an income tax credit of 1 percent of payroll for new jobs for five years, and "Tax Back," which provides sales tax refunds on eligible building materials and machinery associated with the expansion project.

    The company also qualified to receive $634,463 from the Governor's Quick Action Closing Fund to go toward the building renovation, including upgrades to electrical, HVAC, plumbing, etc.

    "This is another success story for a homegrown company that is now ready to double its workforce and continue to thrive," Governor Mike Beebe said in a statement released Friday by the AEDC. "Aerospace has consistently been one of our state's top exports, and CAC has found its niche for prosperity in this important Arkansas industry."

    For more information:  Custom Aircraft Cabinets

    (Article written by WXIA's Jon Shirek. Twitter: @JonShirek)

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