It’s hard to keep a good company down. With Medlock Forest Products of Charleston a disaster only made them better and stronger.

On Tuesday night, April 9, the plant was heavily damaged by a fire. The blaze destroyed the main assembly building, machinery, tools and about 4,000 wooden pallets before firefighters from four area departments got it under control.

"Our immediate goal is to get back up to full production," Matt White, vice president of sales for the facility, said at the time. "We’ve had people who have worked here for years and they are counting on us for a job."

The company, a division of General Pallets, Inc. has manufactured wooden pallets in Charleston, since 1962, focusing on high volume production of block pallets. Their commitment is to deliver a quality product on time.

The company was back into production almost immediately by salvaging what was left and with the use of portable buildings. Three-fourths of their employees were back at work within a week, some at Charleston and some at their plant in Fort Smith, and they were building and shipping pallets within 3 weeks. In approximately 3 months since the fire they have built a new 16,000 square foot building and have increased their employees from 22 at the time of the fire to 27 today.

The new building makes the operation much more efficient and productive, owner, Phil White said. The old building was a combination of five additions over the years with walls that interrupted the flow of production, he added.

They currently receive 11 semi trucks full of lumber each week and are shipping out 15-18 semi loads of pallets each week. They have even added a new state of the art Auto Nailing Machine capable of building an extra semi load of pallets per day with 2 additional jobs added.

General Pallets, Inc. started over 25 years ago as a manufacturer of wood pallets. The company’s original manufacturing facility is in Fort Smith, but the company has grown to include Medlock Forest Products in Charleston, Ozark Wood Products in Goodman, Missouri and the pallet brokerage firm William’s Wood Products in Van Buren. Combined, General Pallets has a history of over 90 years of pallet manufacturing and sales.

The combined resources of all four companies gives customers a broad choice of pallets and other shipping products offering exceptional service.

General Pallets focuses on a quality product and quality service, at a fair price, Phil White said. General Pallets feels that taking the time to develop personal relationships with buyers, and our service, sets us apart from others, he added.

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