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Bird feeder offers help for Nashville industry

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Darren Ryan, quality control manager at the Mission Plastics manufacturing plant in Nashville, shows some of the hummingbird feeders made, assembled and shipped by the plant.

By Louie Graves

News-Leader staff

A tiny bird may have helped keep an industry’s doors open here.

The tiny bird is the hummingbird, which apparently just loves the red plastic hummingbird feeders made at the Mission Plastics of Arkansas plant in Nashville.

Several different models of the feeders are made and shipped from here, and reach hummingbird lovers through Walmart, Amazon, hardware stores and other outlets.

The feeders are important to Mission Plastics because they were among several products the plant began making when Mission’s principal customer, Husqvarna, began doing some of its own plastic work in 2019.

Mission still does some plastic molding work for Husqvarna, Darren Ryan emphasizes, adding that the family-owned Mission Plastics already was searching for additional clients for its Mission Plastics North plant near Kansas City. Ryan should know; he’s the quality control manager at the plant.

The customer search crew found hummingbird feeders for the company’s south manufacturing plant.

Right now, he says, Mission Plastics has found about a half-dozen other clients for products made here. The new clients and products combine to make Mission Plastics a more solid workplace.

The plant works three shifts and has about 90 employees.

Most of the birdfeeders are made for Daisy, a northwest Arkansas company better known for its Red Ryder BB rifles.

Among the feeders is an orange-colored one which attracts Orioles.

Year-to-date the Mission Plastic plant has made more than one million hummingbird feeders.

Ryan was already with Mission Plastics when he came to Nashville from Missouri in 1989. The plant manager here is Jeff Shanks who came a few years later. Shanks and Ryan were high school buddies in Missouri.

They like hummingbirds.

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