Forrest City, Arkansas, is a buzz with excitement after word spread that the small city, population of 15,500, will be home to a new cotton spinning mill.
The self-proclaimed “Jewel of the Delta,” Forrest City stands to gain 800 new jobs as a result of a $410 million investment by Shandong Ruyi Technology Group headquartered in Shandong Province, China.
Ruyi Group is China’s largest textile manufacturer and is in the midst of a global expansion. The Arkansas location is Ruyi’s first North American facility. The company plans to start renovations in late 2017 of Forrest City’s former Sanyo building, which has been vacant for 10 years. Production should begin at Ruyi’s Forrest City facility by mid-2018.
Ruyi plans to process more than 200,000 tons of Arkansas cotton annually at the Forrest City facility. Arkansas is the 5th largest cotton producing state with 840,000 bales ginned in 2016.
“This project is tremendously important to Forrest City and St. Francis County not just for the great jobs it brings to our region, but also for the value to the cash crop on which the Arkansas Delta economy has been based for more than 100 years,” said Kay Brockwell, economic development consultant for Forrest City.