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Gun manufacturer Looking Into Rockingham County Facility

11:03 PM, Jun 21, 2013   |    comments
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Mayodan, NC - A well-known gun manufacturer is eying Rockingham County to locate its newest firearm manufacturing facility.

The county has been courting Sturm, Ruger and Company for the past couple months, and leaders say they're encouraged by the company's interest. 

"They're doing things here that most cases would make you think they have decided to come here and be very encouraged, but we know they are doing the very same things in all of the other locations they are looking at," explained Graham Pervier, President, Rockingham County Partnership for Economic and Tourism Development. 

Pervier said the company is conducting extensive surveys on the community, work force, community and former Unifi Textile plant. That's the building the company is interested in turning into a gun manufacturing facility. 

If the company chooses the Mayodan location, Pervier says it could bring as many as 500 jobs and an investment of $30 million. 

"The trick in this kind of competition is to do your best to show that your community and building and everything about the situation meet their requirements as you understand them and show that they meet those requirements as closely as you can," said Pervier. 

The state has been working with the county to help lure this company. Pervier says they're preparing a "substantial" incentives package but wouldn't give any details.

He told WFMY News 2's Morgan Hightower the company requested for the county to host a job fair  this week so they "could see what the response would be and kind of validate their assessment of the area workforce and it seemed to have turned out very well." 

Pervier said nearly 1,000 people showed up for the event. He says the company would hire entry-level production workers, machinists, and mechanical engineers. 

Pervier said a qualified workforce is often what helps a county land a deal like this. 

"That's always the first thing that a company cares about. If they can't find the people with the skills that they need, nothing else matters," said Pervier.

Sites in Texas, South Carolina, and Florida are also being considered.  Ruger already has plants in New Hampshire and Arizona.

The decision could be made as early as the end of the month, but Pervier says there is no definite timeline. 

Pervier said Ruger is the 4th largest gun manufacturer in the country and became the first company to produce more than one million guns in one year.

Pervier says a chemical company is also considering a move to Rockingham County. He says Catalon Chemical Company is interested in the former Hanesbrand building in Eden. The company would create ceramic insulators for the electric power industry. It would bring nearly 200 jobs and an investment of $40 million.

"We're really pleased with the level of activity in Rockingham County. In addition to these two projects, we've had five other companies in here in the last three weeks looking at buildings. Obviously there are a lot of buildings out and around but we are excited about an increasing level of activity," explained Pervier. 

He added, "Spirits would really rise I think if we scored a couple of big hits like this."

WFMY News 2

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