LEBANON, Mo -- More jobs are coming to the Ozarks. With sales booming, Bass Pro Shops Tracker Marine is expanding its operations in Lebanon.
If you've ever driven down Highway 44 East near Lebanon, you've seen all the boats parked outside the Tracker Marine plant. There are about to be even more boats, and it's welcomed news to the community who relies so much on manufacturing.
"We are extremely excited as a company to see our company continue to strengthen and grow," said Tracker Plastics plant manager Derek Fritz. "We're expanding the facility 50,000 square feet in order to support primarily kayak production."
Bass Pro Shops Tracker Marine is expanding two of its facilities in LaClede County--the price tag is $15 million.
"We've had a lot of history of manufacturing in this community," said President of Lebanon Regional Economic Development Mark Stombaugh. "[Bass Pro Shops Tracker Marine] has been successful over the long haul."
With the expansion comes new jobs--14 at the Tracker Plastics plant nd 62 at the plant across town.
"I think it's an excellent deal for the community. I think everybody here should be excited to see jobs growing in a shrinking market across the nation," said Fritz.
Lebanon bases nearly a quarter of its economy on manufacturing which is higher than the state and national average. It's been a bumpy couple of years in the sector. In the U.S., more than 3.2 million have disappeared since the start of 2000.
"You get maybe in that mind set that things aren't going well," said Stombaugh.
In Lebanon there is hope things are turning around.
"There is still a little bit of uncertainty there, and nobody is jumping up and down because we are at the end of everything. But for the most part, when we talk to folks they are excited about where things can go from here," said Stombaugh.