Ruger Finalizes Purchase Of NC Plant

Ruger announced yesterday that they had completed the purchase of the former Unifi plant in Mayodan, North Carolina.

September 03, 2013

Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc. (NYSE-RGR) announced today that it has finalized the purchase of a 220,000 square foot facility in Mayodan, North Carolina. This is the Company’s first major expansion in over 25 years, and production at the new facility is expected to begin during the first quarter of 2014.

In conjunction with Ruger’s announcement, the Rockingham County Board of Commissioners approved their package of incentives for Ruger and the Mayodan Town Council is expected to do the same next Monday.

As part of their deal, the town of Mayodan and Rockingham County officials had to offer incentives to the company.

Rockingham County Commissioners approved incentives in the amount of $942,000, Tuesday night.

Mayodan has scheduled a public meeting for September 9 on their incentives offer to Ruger. Town officials are offering $823,000.

The company won’t receive any incentives until 2015 and it will be over a 14 year period.

The manager of the new Ruger plant, Mickey Wilson, said at the commissioners’ meeting that Ruger wanted to be in Rockingham County.

“We sought Rockingham County,” Wilson said. “It was all based on available real estate at the beginning and through our diligence process we found that the workforce was equally as good as the available real estate.”

“Plus we’re big on Second-Amendment rights,” said Vice Chariman Craig Travis.

 There is no word yet on exactly what firearms will be made at the Mayodan plant. However, some production will be shifted from the Newport, NH plant to Mayodan according to the plant manager.

Mickey Wilson, the plant manager, said the company will shift two production lines from Ruger’s New Hampshire plant, with the other lines being dedicated to new products and designs. The initial hiring will include production workers, tool makers and engineers for manufacturing and product design.

“We are planning for a soft opening in the first quarter, but we would like to go full force as quickly after that as we can,” Wilson said.

Just last week, Ruger announced their new Ruger American Rimfire rifle. This was the first new firearm introduced by Ruger since January at the SHOT Show. I’m sure they have more designs ready to go and are only waiting for the production lines to be set up in Mayodan.

It’s More Than Official Now

While Ruger made their official announcement that they intended to open their third plant in Mayodan, North Carolina back in early July, it became really official yesterday with an announcement ceremony involving Gov. Pat McCrory (R-NC), numerous state and local officials, and Ruger CEO Mike Fifer.

From the Rockingham County’s local paper, the News-Advance:

The busy atmosphere outside Unifi’s former dye plant on Cardwell Road in Mayodan on Tuesday morning was only a small indication of things to come. More than 150 people gathered under a tent beside the 221,000-square-foot building to hear Gov. Pat McCrory make the official announcement that Sturm, Ruger & Co. would locate the company’s newest manufacturing facility in Rockingham County.

McCrory said the new plant would create more than 450 new jobs and invest more than $26 million in the Mayodan location by the end of 2017.

Video of the event from the Winston-Salem Journal can be seen here.

Included in the incentives to Ruger from the State of North Carolina is a Job Development Investment Grant that could be worth as much as $9.6 million according to the press release from the Governor’s Office.

The project was made possible in part by an award to Ruger from the state Job Development Investment Grant (JDIG) program, as voted by the state Economic Investment Committee. Receipt of the award is based on proof of job creation and other performance requirements. JDIGs are awarded only to new and expanding businesses and industrial projects whose benefits exceed the costs to the state, and which would not be undertaken in North Carolina without the grant.

Under the terms of the company’s JDIG award, Ruger is eligible to receive up to twelve annual grants equal to 75 percent of the state personal income tax withholdings from the eligible new jobs created since the date of the initial award. Receipt of each annual grant is based on state-certified proof that the company has fulfilled incremental job creation requirements. Over twelve years, the JDIG award could yield aggregate benefits to Ruger of up to $9.46 million upon creation of 473 new jobs.

This report from WFMY-TV2 in Greensboro discusses more about the grants. Rockingham Community College will receive $700,000 for workforce training with another $372,000 going to Ruger for employee training. In addition, people and businesses in the Town of Mayodan are quite excited about the possibilities that the new Ruger plant will bring to that town.

Other anecdotal evidence that the people of Mayodan and Rockingham County are on board with the Ruger expansion comes from Perry Hughes who is the chairman of the career and technology education department at Rockingham Community College. Registration for fall classes began yesterday at 10am. He had a student who arrived before 7:30am to be first in line for a slot in their machining program.

“We’re starting to look at ways to expand our machining program capacity and Ruger hasn’t even arrived yet,” Hughes said.

The final day registration for courses at RCC opened, Hughes said he arrived at his office at 7:30 a.m. to prepare for the 10 a.m. registration. One young man was already sitting outside the door when Hughes arrived.

“He said he had already been there for a while, but wanted to make sure he was first in line,” Hughes said.

It was fortunate the young man made that decision. Hughes said he only had two slots left in the machining program.

“Education is a supply and demand industry and right now our demand is much greater than the supply,” Hughes said. “With industries like Ruger coming to the area, we’re going to have to find ways to work with these companies and expand our programs to meet the demand. We’ve even considered the possibility of having day and night classes to allow for more students.”

RCC has an associate’s degree program in computer-integrated machining which I’m sure will be sending a number of graduates to Ruger over the coming years.

UPDATE: More on the official announcement as well on how the RCC computer-integrated machining program will tie into Ruger’s plans from WGHP-Fox8 in High Point.

Some Interesting History

I stumbled across some interesting history this morning. It turns out that the planned Ruger firearms factory in Mayodan will not be the first arms factory in Rockingham County. That honor goes to a factory owned by Alexander Searcy and Dr. J. S. Moore which made rifles for the Confederate Army in 1862-63.

Hogan’s Creek is located in western Rockingham County south of the towns of Madison and Mayodan.

According to a book on the Confederate Army in North Carolina and Tennessee, the rifles made at the Searcy & Moore plant were called “N.C. Rifles”. Only about 100 rifles were made at the Searcy & Moore factory.

The Searcy & Moore factory and all its equipment was purchased by the State of North Carolina in 1863 and transferred to the North Carolina Armory at Florence. This armory was started at the beginning of the war in the village of Florence which is just north of present day Jamestown. From the newsletter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans,  Frazier Camp:

The armory was still operating after the various contractors had gone out of business and assembled many guns from parts from these and other sources. One example of this was in July1863 when the State purchased all of the materials of Searcy & Moore (located at Rocky Springs in Rockingham County) and sent them to the Florence Armory. Henry Clay Briggs wrote that his father worked in the government gun shop at Florence for six months and that he made springs and triggers. This was the only military arms manufactory still operating in this area in April 1865 and was burned by Yankee raiders.

I’m sure when the Ruger plant is up and running it will make more firearms in one day than the Searcy & Moore factory did in a year. Still, I find the history of this small arms maker interesting.

Mayodan Expects A Multiplier Effect On Jobs With Ruger

Officials with the Town of Mayodan and Rockingham County expect that the manufacturing jobs brought there with Ruger’s new manufacturing plant will only be the beginning. They expect a 2:1 ratio of jobs created as a result of Ruger’s expansion. These new jobs will come from both suppliers and service businesses such as restaurants and coffee shops.

WFMY News 2 in Greensboro reports on this expected multiplier effect. They also report on the site selection process that Ruger and its advisor Greyhill Advisors used to decide on Mayodan. I found it interesting that went so far as to attend the local churches to get a feel for the area.

It’s Official! Ruger Opening Plant In North Carolina

Move over Texas and South Carolina, Ruger has decided that their third plant will be in NORTH Carolina.

Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc. Announces Pending Purchase of Third Manufacturing Facility In Mayodan, North Carolina

July 08, 2013

Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc. (NYSE: RGR) announced today that it plans to open its third manufacturing plant, a 220,000 square foot facility in Mayodan, North Carolina. This will be the Company’s first major expansion in over 25 years and it is expected to be finalized in August.

The Company currently employs over 2,000 people in its two plants in Newport, New Hampshire and Prescott, Arizona.

 In mid-June, Ruger officials said they expected to make an announcement by August. They must have really liked what they saw in Mayodan and the Piedmont Triad.

UPDATE: While it hasn’t been confirmed, I believe the building that Ruger will use for its NC manufacturing plants is the old Unifi 15 plant. According to the NC Department of Commerce website listing available industrial sites, the building was built in 1989 and has a total of 221,600 usable square feet of space. It is located at the intersection of Cardwell Road and, I kid you not, Cupcake Trail in Mayodan. Looking at the location from Google maps, it appears to have plenty of room for expansion.

UPDATE II: According to WGHP Fox 8 in High Point, the plant shown above is the building that Ruger will be buying for their 3rd manufacturing plant. Gov. Pat McCrory (R-NC) is scheduled to make a major announcement today about an economic development and I anticipate it will be this plant. I’ll have more on that as it becomes available. (It was regarding a GE Aviation expansion – not Ruger).

As the report below makes clear, this is big news for the Piedmont Triad and especially for Mayodan and Rockingham County. They have an unemployment rate of greater than 10% so quality new jobs will be greatly welcomed.

Ruger Is The “Industry Leading Firearms Manufacturer” In Question

A little over a week ago I had a post regarding news that an “industry leading firearms manufacturer” was considering the town of Mayodan in Rockingham County, North Carolina for a plant expansion. Officials at the time would not name the company in question but did rule out Remington Arms which is headquartered in nearby Madison.

I speculated at the time that it would be Ruger because of remarks CEO Michael Fifer had made at the annual meeting. It turns out I was correct.

The News and Advance of Rockingham County confirmed that it was Ruger holding the interviews with potential new hires.

Darrell Freeman of Madison, Brad Young of Reidsville and Steven Sherwood from Davidson County heard about the manufacturer’s request for interview applications from different sources. Freeman said his wife saw an announcement on Facebook, while Sherwood heard a television news report and Young saw it on a news media’s website.

The three new friends confirmed the company considering a Mayodan location was Sturm Ruger & Co. – a Connecticut-based corporation with manufacturing facilities in New Hampshire and Arizona. They also said Mayodan was one of three potential locations for a new manufacturing plant.

Interviews with Ruger’s consultants, Greyhill Advisors, by the Greensboro News-Record also confirmed that it would be Ruger. Locations in South Carolina and Texas are also under consideration. Daniel Kah, a spokesman for Greyhill said they were very pleased with the turnout in Mayodan especially given the short notice. As to how many employees would eventually be hired, he had this to say:

How many people will be hired is still unknown. Kah said it would be a “meaningful number of employees,” somewhere in the hundreds.

However, more jobs could develop.

“Depending upon what lines were located (at the plant ) and how the growth went, it could be somewhere between 300 and 500 people,” Kah said.

Kah went on to say that Ruger expects to make a decision in about two months.

Graham Pervier of the Rockingham County Partnership for Economic and Tourism Development told WFMY-TV News 2 that they were encouraged but realized the other sites were still under consideration.

“Industry Leading Firearms Manufacturing Company” Is Considering Rockingham County, NC

The Town of Mayodan and the Rockingham County Partnership for Economic and Tourism Development have announced that an industry-leading firearms company” is considered locating a major facility in Mayodan. The unnamed company will be hosting an open house on June 18th for potential employees. They are trying to find out if there are enough qualified employees to staff the plant.

As I posted in mid-May, Ruger had announced at their Annual Meeting that they had narrowed their search for their third manufacturing plant down to North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas. One of their major requirements was an existing manufacturing facility of approximately 250,000 square feet. Rockingham County has approximately six available facilities that would meet this qualification according to a list from
Rockingham County Partnership for Economic and Tourism Development. Mayodan has two facilities on this list that were former Unifi Textile plants. 


Rockingham County is also home to the headquarters of Remington Arms/Freedom Group which has about 200 employees in Madison. However, as WGHP MyFox8 reports, the company considering Mayodan is not Remington.

Officials have not disclosed what the company is, but Graham Pervier, president of the RCPETD, said it is not Remington Arms.

Pervier could not say how many jobs would be created as a result of the possible expansion, but he said it is “a substantial number.”

The company is now working to decide whether the region has enough qualified candidates to support the expansion, Pervier said.

Town officials in Mayodan are quite excited about this possible new company and are strongly urging potential candidates to send their resumes.

“We’re pretty excited about what this could mean for our community,” Mayodan Town Manager Michael Brandt said. “This offers the potential to reuse one of our existing buildings and provide hundreds of much needed jobs for the area.”

Brandt said the amount of support demonstrated in this early candidate screening process would be a major determining factor in the company’s decision on location.

“So we really need people with the right skills and experience to apply as soon as possible,” Brandt said. “There’s a short timeframe here and we want to show the workforce is here and ready.”

The latest unemployment reports show that Rockingham County has a 10% unemployment rate. Mayodan, which is located in western Rockingham County, is located equidistant (or about 30 miles) from both Greensboro and Winston-Salem.