MAYODAN, N.C. -- Rockingham County could soon be home to hundreds of new jobs. Sturm Ruger & Company is considering a site in Mayodan for expanding its firearms manufacturing operations.
Graham Pervier, President of Economic Development and Tourism for the Rockingham County Partnership, explained if Ruger picks Rockingham County, we could see a $30 million investment and 500 jobs over the next four to five years.
"They’ll probably officially announce maybe 325 jobs, but we fully expect this could be more than 500 jobs after 5 years," he added. "Recently we're seeing a lot of companies invest money but not necessarily hire a lot of additional new workers. So that persistent unemployment remains. This would be a real shot in the arm."
Unemployment last month in Rockingham County sat at 10%.
Ruger already has manufacturing sites in New Hampshire and Arizona. Business has been so successful, they now want to open a third plant. Pervier says they are also considering sites in Texas, South Carolina and Florida, but he's not sure in which cities.
"I don't think there's been this much excitement about a project in Rockingham County in a long, long time," Pervier pointed out.
Barry Carter owns Old Leaksville Gun Shop in Eden. He's always been a fan of Ruger guns, but believes any reputable company investing in their county would be incredible.
"I think it would just be a tremendous kick-start to the economy in this county," he explained. "Unemployment is pretty bad here. We were largely dependent on textiles and that stuff has phased out."
Ruger is considering is a former Unifi textile plant site off Cardwell Road in Mayodan. Pervier said the building is in excellent condition but has been empty since at least 2007.
He also said the state and county both put together "substantial" incentives packages for Ruger.
"But it's really not about the building, not about the incentives for them," Pervier insisted. "They want to know there is a solid qualified workforce here."
Ruger was part of a job fair last Wednesday in Madison, scoping out potential employees.
"The job fair last week really convinced them that what they thought they knew about our workforce was correct. That they're going to be able to find mechanical engineers, skilled machinists and entry-level production workers," said Pervier.
Rockingham County Community College tells FOX8 they offer a Computer Integrated Machining Degree which would align perfectly with some of the jobs Ruger would be offering.
Guilford Technical Community College offers the same training for technical students.
Pervier hopes for a decision in a matter of weeks.
"It can't happen fast enough," Carter concluded.
Firearms manufacturer considers Mayodan for plant, could create up to 500 jobs