Lawton_Warm weather has arrived, and you may be planning your first cookout of the year. That hotdog you purchase may have been made right here in Lawton. Top-selling hotdog company "Bar-S" makes hundreds of thousands of franks in Lawton every day. On Tuesday, the factory celebrated ten years of making franks in Lawton, and drew the attention of other companies leading to an increase in business and employment in Lawton.
Through their Elk City distribution center, Bar-S sends products to all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and other countries. Some Lawton-made hotdogs have even been shipped all the way to Russia. "It just sent a message to the corporate world of the United States of America, 'Hey that place down there is okay, let's go try it, too.' And we've seen and experienced a lot of growth in the industry since this has happened," says former Lawton Mayor Cecil Powell. "I think that since they send their product out all over the United States, and some international product, what that says for Lawton, Oklahoma...I think it's great that we have them located here," says Lawton City Councilmember Janice Drewry.
The factory also helps the community through charitable donations. Lawton employees have given over $50,000 to the United Way since 2005, and the company donates food, also. "Roughly $25,000 worth of product last year went into the community, and we're in line to do more than that this year," says Bar-S Division Vice President of Lawton Ed Miller.
Miller estimates they'll donate 20 tons - 40,000 pounds - of food to schools, churches, shelters, Fort Sill, and events in the Lawton community in 2008. He's proud of the company's success. "300 employees, and the ability to not have layoffs, and produce a wholesome product, at a great value," he says. The company has had a 97% retention rate for employees who have worked there at least one year. Nearly half of his employees have been with Bar-S five years or more.
Bar-S also has factories in Altus and Clinton. The Altus plant produces five million pounds of corn dogs and baloney every week.
Visiting the Statue of Liberty deemed a non-essential service during government shutdown that splits the must-have and the can-waits.