Courtesy of the Harding Bison.

Bryce Corporation announced last Wednesday that the company would invest $80 million into expanding its operations in Searcy. With First Security Bank’s new tech center expected to be completed in 2023 as well, over 250 new jobs are predicted to enter Searcy within five years.

According to a statement Bryce released last week, the company plans to build a new manufacturing facility, as well as a distribution center in Searcy. Executive vice president over operations John Hite said Bryce’s announcement to expand in Searcy shows a commitment to the community.

“For me, it means, generationally, we will have a solid footing in Searcy,” Hite said. “That’s important to me because we’ve got lots of families who have kids and grandkids who need jobs. I like that it’s a long-term commitment to this community.”

Bryce Corporation stated in their press release that this expansion is part of the company’s five-year growth plan and is expected to create 142 jobs in Searcy. Hite said he is glad to have Bryce Corporation so close to Harding.

“It’s just nice to be neighbors,” Hite said. “It means a lot to me that we’re here and able to take advantage of some of the students that Harding is training and teaching. It’s just good for Searcy, good for Harding and good for the community.”

According to a statement by Kristi Thurmon, vice president of marketing at Searcy First Security Bank, the bank’s new facility will support its other locations across the state.

“With the construction of their new 57,000-square-foot technology center, Searcy-based First Security Bank is committed to Searcy and the surrounding area,” Thurmon said. “The new facility will house approximately 120 employees and support current operations of the bank’s 78 locations across Arkansas, while also providing space for future growth.”

First Security Bank president Nathan Rutledge said he is excited to see the new technology center project come to fruition in downtown Searcy.

“We are proud to call Searcy home and are looking forward to the future of our community and our company,” Rutledge said.

Searcy Mayor Kyle Osborne said it is good to have economic growth in any community, and the plans of the two companies will help the Searcy community a lot.

“The owners of both businesses had the option to choose other communities for these expansions, but they chose Searcy,” Osborne said. “These projects will help our community tremendously with economic and job growth.”

Osborne said part of his campaign was based on economic growth, and with these two projects building on that goal, he said the growth can only have a positive impact on the Harding community.

“For the last two years, COVID-19 has made it difficult to start new projects,” Osborne said. “Now, as COVID-19 loses its grip on our community and with citizens of Searcy voting to renew the penny tax, we are moving full steam on completing projects and starting new ones all around the city.”