BATESVILLE, Ark. — Intimidator Inc., the Batesville, Ark., manufacturer of utility vehicles and Spartan zero-turn mowers, will add more than 400 employees over the next four years as part of a $12 million expansion, according to a story posted on Arkansas Online. The investment will include a second manufacturing plant to be build in the Independence County Industrial Park.
Becky and Robert Foster, company owners, made the announcement at an event attended by Gov. Asa Hutchinson and several local and state economic development officials. The Fosters said continued growth in the utility vehicle market and stronger engines made the expansion possible. "We're so thankful, too, for all the hard work of our employees," Becky Foster said.
The Fosters also own Bad Dog Accessories, which provides after-market accessories for utility vehicles, and Gourmet Guru Grill, a combination of a grill, smoker and ceramic oven. Intimidator Inc. is the umbrella company for all three and has 180 employees. Foster said Intimidator had 38 employees when it opened in November 2013.
Intimidator will be eligible for state incentives, including a cash rebate equal to 4.25% of annual payroll for the new jobs for five years, sales tax refunds on building materials, machinery and equipment associated with the expansion, and community development block grants of $1.5 million, according to state economic development officials.
Robert Foster and Spartan Mowers were sued earlier this month in U.S. District Court in Batesville by Bad Boy Mowers, also in Batesville. The lawsuit contends that Foster, a co-founder of Bad Boy and former shareholder, has infringed on patents now owned by Bad Boy. Foster was a shareholder of Bad Boy until 2013, when he sold the stock, and incorporated Spartan Mowers in 2015, according to the lawsuit.
"I can't say much about that, but it is competitive," Becky Foster said of Batesville having two lawnmower manufacturers.
Bad Boy opened in 2002 in Batesville with 25 employees. In 2008, the company received a $750,000 community development block grant to build a road, and a $1.5 million grant in 2012. Last December, the company announced a $7.8 million expansion that would create 160 jobs. Bad Boy's total employment, after the 160, would be 750, according to the story.
Spartan's second facility will be just down the road from the Bad Boy operations.
Becky Foster said Spartan has begun foundation work on a smaller plant that will produce many of the company's 2017 models. Another plant on about 17 acres in the park will open in about 18 months.