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A manufacturing firm will add 123 jobs by expanding its Garland County facility, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission said Wednesday.

Morfe Manufacturing Co., which is owned by Hot Springs-based window supplier WinChoice, is reportedly investing about $3.8 million in its Mountain Pine facility by purchasing the now-closed Weyerhaeuser plywood mill.

The mill closed in 2006, and the area lost nearly 700 jobs, according to a news release. Morfe Manufacturing CEO Morgan Wiles called the expansion "a dream come true."

"I’ve driven past this site for the last 10 years praying that someone would purchase and provide jobs for this community," he said.

Wiles and the company's co-owner started the business almost six years ago. He said they looked at several other sites in Saline and Garland counties.

"It all boiled down to feeling good about the long-term effects it could have on our business and local economy," Wiles said in the release.

Wiles said he envisions bringing up to 200 jobs to Mountain Pine in the next five years. The expansion will allow the company to fully support sales and manufacturing for WinChoice's other franchises, according to the release.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson and local leaders applauded the expansion.

"It's always a great day when we see our homegrown businesses expand, especially in areas where we need jobs most," Hutchinson said.

James Montgomery, Hot Springs Metro Partnership Board chairman, said he hopes it will help the local economy rebound.

"I was raised in the Mountain Pine community and remember how much the community depended on the old Weyerhaeuser plant in the '70s and '80s," Montgomery said in the release.

Read Thursday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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