Ruger completes purchase of Mayodan plant site

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MAYODAN, N.C. — Sturm, Ruger & Co. Inc. completed Tuesday the purchase of a 220,000-square-foot plant in Mayodan, taking its next step toward expanding domestic firearms production in the first quarter.

On Aug. 13, the company announced its plans to operate in the former Unifi Inc. plant, creating at least 473 jobs and spending at least $25.75 million on capital investments over five years. The investment would be $4.25 million to renovate the plant and $21.5 million on new machinery and equipment.

In return, the company has been made eligible for up to $9.46 million in performance-based incentives from the state’s Job Development Grant. There also could be about another $4 million in state incentives related to employee training and infrastructure construction.

Also on Tuesday, Rockingham County board of commissioners, as expected, voted to approve its share of local economic incentives for Ruger. The board approved providing $942,942 in performance-based incentives over 14 years, an average of $67,353 a year.

The Mayodan Town Council will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. Monday at the town hall to discuss providing $853,524 in performance-based incentives over 14 years, an average of $60,966 a year.

Given Ruger’s strong commitment to the project, it is probable that the Mayodan board also will approve its incentive packages. Both incentive packages could begin being paid in February 2015.

If Ruger’s investment and job targets are not met each year, the amount of the scheduled incentive payments will be reduced proportionately. The incentives will be funded from the net new taxable value of Ruger’s investment.

Michael Fifer, the company’s chief executive, has said the company’s goal is to hire 120 employees within a year and an additional 90 employees each year as it adds one to two product lines.

The average wage will be about $45,000 plus benefits. By comparison, the average wage in Rockingham is $33,007.

The Golden Leaf Foundation is providing $2 million to the Rockingham partnership to buy machining equipment that Ruger will lease from the agency.

Although the company kept the applications and contact information from the people attending two job fairs in June, it also will work with local N.C. Division of Economic Security offices in the hiring process. Job seekers also can go to, click on the corporate link and then click on contact to find the listing of employment postings.

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.

It is the first manufacturing expansion for Ruger since 1988. Ruger has about 2,200 employees companywide. Fifer said the company needed the new production space because it had “tapped out space and the local workforce” at its other plants.

Credit: The Winston-Salem Journal

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