It is a study in contrasts.
On the one hand you have Horry County, South Carolina and on the other is the state of Connecticut. The former offers a warm welcome, tax incentives, a nice climate, great beaches nearby, and a political community including Gov. Nikki Haley (R-SC) who not only are pro-gun but actually want you and your products in their state.
The latter has passed laws that has outlawed the sale of your only product in that state, has cold and dreary winters, a higher cost of living, and has a governor in Daniel Molloy (D-CT) who considers you the devil incarnate.
Given this, it is isn’t surprising that PTR Industries has chosen Horry County over Connecticut. It was announced yesterday at a meeting of the Horry County Council that they would be moving to the town of Aynor.
The company — which said two months ago that it would be relocating once it found a suitable location “friendly to the industry” — will move to Aynor, S.C., near Myrtle Beach, said John McNamara, vice president of sales at PTR.
The gun manufacturer, with about 45 employees, was the first firm to announce its exit from the state following recent gun control legislation. Many of PTR’s employees agreed to the move and even held an informal vote choosing South Carolina over other states.
PTR currently has 45 employees at its plant in Bristol, Connecticut. They estimate that 24 of those employees will make the move to South Carolina. According to the Myrtle Beach Sun News, PTR has committed to increase their workforce to 80 by the end of the first year and to 145 employees by the end of 2016. This means the majority of the company’s employees will come from the local Horry County workforce.
According to my conversations with PTR representatives at the NRA Annual Meeting, they have been growing rapidly. Their current workforce is double what is was a year ago.
Some details of the agreement between Horry County and PTR Industries still remain undecided, including the amount of a fee in lieu of taxes the county will agree to and the millage rate at which the company’s equipment and other personal property will be taxed.
Those details will be included in actions Horry County Council must now take to solidify the agreement. The council will have to take three votes on the agreement, one of which will include a public hearing.
The county, state and Horry Electric Cooperative will fund upgrades to the shell building where the company will move, but those costs will be repaid by the company during the first two years of its lease of the building. It will pay the county $300,000 annually for the next nine years to lease the building, after which the county will deed it to PTR.
Lofton said the company wants a building that can be expanded. The shell building now has 58,000 square feet but can be expanded to 100,000 square feet, he said.
The company will invest $3 million in the building and has committed to an additional $5 million investment, including the cost of equipment, according to the agreement in the resolution.
If PTR doesn’t meet the benchmarks in the agreement, it will be responsible for the full amount of taxes, including that from state tax credits for job creation, that it would have paid without the agreement.
And it looks like PTR is not the only Connecticut firearms manufacturer looking at Horry County. Both the Hartford Courant and the Myrtle Beach Sun News are reporting that Stag Arms is also being courted by the county. Mark Malkowski, CEO of Stag Arms, is scheduled to visit the area next week.
This report by FoxCT details some of the effort by South Carolina officials to persuade Connecticut companies to relocate.