Editor’s note: As 2011 draws to a close, Seark Today has selected the top 10 regional stories of the year. The criteria used to select these stories were impact, widespread interest, and/or prominence of those involved.

Two major Southeast Arkansas manufacturers suspend operations

Citing sluggish market conditions, two Southeast Arkansas manufacturers announced that they would be suspending operations in 2011.

In early September, Georgia Pacific announced that it would be closing plywood and stud mills in Crossett, eliminating 700 jobs, most of which were at the plywood mill. The residual effect would be even greater due to the number of jobs tied to the mills.

That news came on the heels of a similar announcement by SeaArk Marine, a Monticello-based military and industrial boat manufacturer.

Due to very sporadic and extremely low new construction sales figures for nearly 24 straight months, SeaArk Marine, Inc. announced that it would begin an overhead reduction plan in an attempt to “ride out” the effects of the current market until substantial improvement in the government and industrial marine sector appeared more apparent.

The Georgia Pacific closure did not affect the company’s paper and resin factories in Crossett and the SeaArk Marine closure did not affect  its sister company SeaArk Boats, the recreational boat manufacturer.