BY MELANIE BUCK –
The Mena Lions Club took a tour of local manufacturing plant, Repops, Inc., on Friday, May 5th, and learned about a booming business that reaches international clients and how it all began with a dream and a few glove boxes. Owner Jeff Montgomery explained to the group about the first time he and son, Clint Montgomery, also owner in the venture, made five glove boxes in one day in their garage, and really thought they were something. Now, the company makes dozens and dozens of glove boxes per day, along with hundreds of other parts made for restoring much of the world’s old cars.
The company recently expanded their operations by 15,000 sq. ft., bringing the facility total to more than 50,000 sq. ft. They employ around 35 people in the plant and also help employ several clients at the Polk County Developmental Center. The employees inside the plant do everything from punching holes to shaping, molding, and cutting parts, before being assembled. PCDC’s clients count small parts such as screws and staples that go into kits. Once counted, they package the kits and prepare them to ship. “We’ve got some pretty good people here with a lot of local talent,” said Montgomery. Their payroll impact is more than $1 million per year, with much of it being poured into the local economy.
He stated that one way the company is able to continue expanding is because their parts aren’t “trendy.” “They are original parts. No matter what the trend is, you have to have our parts to fix the car. We are positioned to keep going,” he smiled.
The newest wing of the business houses a rolling operation that makes ‘sticks’ used for trim work. As Montgomery pointed out, they make them “the old fashion way,” making them essential to car restoration.
With their new line and the vast amount of products they offer, Repops has grown from a small hobby in 1991 to having more than 450 distributors worldwide and is continually looking for more ways to expand.
They are located in the old Pine Bowl, just south of Mena on Hwy. 71. You can learn more by visiting their website, http://www.repops.com/.