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Rolling on the river.

Barfield Harbor Service Grows Along With Mississippi County's Steel Industry

David Stone has spent a large part of his life on the Mississippi River.

As president of Barfield Harbor Service Inc. at Armorel in Mississippi County, Stone operates a full-service marine operation. The service does everything from loading and unloading barges to providing barge maintenance and transporting cargo from a loading dock.

Stone's profession provides few days off.

The business, eight miles from Blytheville, was named after its location on the river, Barfield Landing, and a small town that was once close to the landing.

"Barfield just dried up, and everybody moved away," Stone says.

He says the name was chosen to give the business a local feel.

"It seemed like a pretty natural thing," Stone says.

The business was established in 1966 under the watchful eyes of Stone's father, Elmer. A machinist's mate in the Navy during World War II, Elmer Stone named his first tugboat the Susan D in honor of his daughter, Susan; his wife, Dot; and his son.

With the elder Stone and a three-man crew, Barfield Harbor Service operated seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

The Steel Boom

Without the luxury of additional employees or improved equipment, Elmer Stone saw his business grow and prosper, taking on major clients such as Agrico Chemical Co., now Agricultural Minerals Corp. The company has a plant at Armorel.

Barfield landed its biggest client, the Nucor-Yamato Steel Co. mill at Blytheville, in 1988. The mill is a joint operation of the Nucor Corp. of Charlotte, N.C., and the Yamato Corp. of Japan.

Since the steel mill was completed in 1989, Barfield has been responsible for unloading between 50 and 60 percent of the scrap steel that is brought in from ports at New Orleans, Houston and elsewhere.

Stone, who succeeded his father as the company's president in 1986, says a family atmosphere is a key component of Barfield's success. Since the elder Stone's death in 1989, Barfield has expanded its operations to include two tugboats and four docking areas.

The company soon will begin serving a second Nucor steel mill that is under construction at Hickman, just north of Armorel.

Stone's mother, wife, brother-in-law and sister-in-law all work for the company.

"Some of the employees I grew up with," says Stone, 39. "They're a close-knit bunch, all real honest and hardworking. You don't have to worry about the caliber of their work because they give their best every day."

The association with Nucor-Yamato has been especially rewarding.

"Their |Nucor-Yamato's~ success is just unbelievable," Stone says. "Being a part of it has put us on the map."
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Title Annotation:Arkansas Business of the Year: Category II; Barfield Harbor Service Inc., full-service marine operation
Author:Taylor, Tim
Publication:Arkansas Business
Article Type:Company Profile
Date:Jan 13, 1992
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