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New business moves into Franklin Electric Building

by Marc Hayot | April 28, 2021 at 5:29 a.m.
Marc Hayot/Herald-Leader TUGG Logistics purchased the old Franklin Electric building two weeks ago. They are a fulfillment center that handles merchandise for Amazon and Walmart.

The old Franklin Electric building had new life breathed into it as a Gravette company opened a new location in the facility two weeks ago.

TUGG Logistics -- a fulfillment service company that receives and ships merchandise for its clients, which include Amazon and Walmart -- decided to open the Siloam Springs location because it outgrew its current building in Gravette, which only had 50,000 square feet to work with, according to TUGG President Joe Isabell. The Franklin Electric building has 240,141 square feet, said Don Clark, city community development director.

Presently the Siloam Springs location has 15 employees, said Matt Isabell, the owner of TUGG logistics and Joe Isabell's father. The company could have a full staff of up to 60 employees in a few years, he said.

Joe Isabell said the company chose the Siloam Springs facility because it is one of the few industrial buildings that can be used as warehouse space. Matt Isabell declined to give the purchase price.

"We love to take something that exists and make it better," Joe Isabell said of the Franklin Electric building.

TUGG Logistics began moving things into the building in March and closed on purchasing the property two weeks ago, Joe Isabell said.

Franklin Electric manufactured water and fuel pumps, according to an article in the Herald-Leader on April 7, 2010. In April of 2001, the company had 850 employees. In 2009 the Siloam Springs location only had 50 employees.

The Bluffton, Ind.-based company had been outsourcing jobs from the plant to one in Mexico for a large part of the decade, the article states. When the last 50 employees were laid off, their jobs were not moved to Mexico and just eliminated, the article states.

Franklin Electric's Siloam Springs plant officially closed on April 13, 2010, the article states.

Arthur Hulbert, the president of the Siloam Springs Chamber of Commerce, said it has been the goal of the city and the chamber to see new business in the old Franklin Electric building and for it to bring new jobs for many years.

"It's a great piece of property and in a great location," Hulbert said. "We are excited about TUGG Logistics being in Siloam Springs and the increase in economic development opportunities."

TUGG Logistics is business-to-business (B2B) and a business-to-consumer (B2C) fulfillment company that warehouses inventory for their clients and ships out that inventory when orders come in, Joe Isabell said.

Remodeling the building, including the offices, will take about a year to complete, Isabell said. Since TUGG does not manufacture products they will use the space for storage, Joe Isabell said.

TUGG is using half of the property and remodeling the other half, Joe Isabell said. When the first half is remodeled the company will move to the remodeled portion so they can remodel the other half of the building, Isabell said.

Joe Isabell said he eventually wants to expand TUGG Logistics to the east and west coasts and have a network of warehouses across the country. When asked where they were looking at Joe Isabell said the Pennsylvania area and somewhere in Utah. Matt Isabell expounded further on this saying the company was looking at the Philadelphia and Salt Lake City areas.

Marc Hayot/Herald-Leader Floor Lead Melvin Sharp shares a connection with Franklin Electric: his mother Beverly Sharp worked at Franklin Electric for almost 35 years. She worked on the floor for several years before moving to the parts room.
Marc Hayot/Herald-Leader Floor Lead Melvin Sharp shares a connection with Franklin Electric: his mother Beverly Sharp worked at Franklin Electric for almost 35 years. She worked on the floor for several years before moving to the parts room.
Marc Hayot/Herald-Leader The old Franklin Electric building has been empty since the company closed the Siloam Springs location in 2010. Two weeks earlier TUGG Logistics purchased the building and began receiving and shipping merchandise for clients like Amazon and Walmart. The Siloam Springs location presently has 15 employees but will have around 60 at full capacity according to TUGG President Joe Isabell.
Marc Hayot/Herald-Leader The old Franklin Electric building has been empty since the company closed the Siloam Springs location in 2010. Two weeks earlier TUGG Logistics purchased the building and began receiving and shipping merchandise for clients like Amazon and Walmart. The Siloam Springs location presently has 15 employees but will have around 60 at full capacity according to TUGG President Joe Isabell.
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