“My father, William Spencer, started Alliance Rubber Company in Alliance, Ohio in 1943, and opened this second location in Hot Springs in 1944,” relates Bonnie Swayze, the president of Alliance Rubber Company and Spencer’s daughter. “We had both plants until 1991, when we streamlined and moved all operations to Hot Springs. Today, we have 150,000 square feet of workfloor in Hot Springs and a 15,000 square foot operation in Salinas, California.”
The Hot Springs operation employs 175 workers – 170 of them at the Hot Springs plant. Sixty percent of those workers have been with Alliance for five years or longer.
Alliance Rubber Company makes 2200 different products, and as mentioned in the company’s website video, “anything you need to organize your world, we have a product that will suit your needs.” Those products range from gigantic pallet bands to tiny loom bands for kids crafts, from four-way book bands to the little printed rubber UPC bands on your broccoli in the grocery store.
“We make 15 million pounds of rubber bands each year – and with a thousand rubber bands in each pound, that’s 15 billion rubber bands produced each year,” Swayze shares.
Alliance Rubber Company may have the corner on the rubber band market, but it also offers some products you can’t get anywhere else. “We created FotoFlex™ wristbands, the world’s first stretchable wristband that uses four-color digital graphics imprinting,” says Swayze. “We have three digital band printers, and our process is patented.” The wristbands crack when stretched, but the image returns to normal when the band is relaxed.
Demand for this unusual product is significant. “We make 10 million imprinted wristbands and another five million printed products such as book bands and resistor bands – which are used by health organizations, insurance companies, yoga studios and exercise places. People use them to stretch out their muscles, and we can print directly onto them,” Swayze adds. “We like to point out that Arkansas companies can really innovate.”
While the rubber used to make those products comes from tropical regions, such as Thailand and Malaysia, the raw rubber is processed when it comes to the Hot Springs plant and every bit of the manufacturing happens right there. The synthetic rubber used in the company’s latex-free items comes from Dallas. “We offer products that are 100 percent American made, and that’s something to be proud of,” Swayze says.
Alliance Rubber Company products can be found at Office Depot and Walmart here in Arkansas. The company’s website, www.RubberBand.com, offers information on all Alliance Rubber products as well as a locator that shows where distributors are located and a size chart for the bands it offers. It’s also where you can find job opportunities with the company. For more information, check out the website or call (800) 626-5940.
Here are Instagrams taken during our tour of Alliance Rubber earlier this month.