SIG Sauer Inc. of Newington, New Hampshire announced Wednesday the finalization of plans to move its Elite Performance Ammunition manufacturing operation from Eubank, Kentucky, to its first permanent site in Jacksonville.
The company, which makes pistols, rifles and ammunition, says the existing building at 1809 Swift Drive will be renovated and the plant will be up and running by the end of the year.
“It’s a multi-million dollar investment to establish a highly competitive ammunition business in Arkansas. We aren’t releasing specific numbers,” spokeswoman Shannon Jackson said.
Bud Fini, executive vice president of ammunition and special projects, said SIG Sauer had leased the previous space of around 40,000 SF for two and a half years because producing ammunition was a new undertaking for the company then.
The leasing was done to prove SIG Sauer’s system that included new ways of loading and better quality control than existed in the industry worked, he said.
The Jacksonville building is 75,000 SF, and the site offers 40 acres to expand on, Fini said. He also said there is additional property surrounding the facility and operations there could be expanded in the next five years.
“They’re renaming the street to SIG Sauer Boulevard … We’re thrilled,” he said. “We’re beyond ecstatic. It’s so much better to have your own location, to operate obviously. It just makes decision-making easy. You don’t have to get permission or anything. You just do what you need to do to continue to grow your business, and we were running out of space.”
SIG Sauer will be receiving three incentives: $800,000 from the Governor’s Quick Action Closing Fund, the Advantage Arkansas income tax credit that is based on the payroll of new jobs and the Tax Back incentive, according to Arkansas Economic Development Commission spokesman Scott Hardin.
The $800,000 will go toward infrastructure and equipment needed to get the building ready. Hardin said the income tax credit will be 1 percent of the payroll, and the Tax Back program reimburses companies for sales taxes it pays on building materials, machinery and equipment associated with the project.
The Tax Back incentive needs to be approved by the Jacksonville City Council as it involves refunding both state and local sales taxes, he said.
Mayor Gary Fletcher said he expected the council to approve the incentive because he believes officials understand that it would be the city’s contribution to SIG Sauer’s investment.
“We’re excited about the jobs that are coming and the future expansions as well,” he said, adding that the company would be coming to a supportive and welcoming “gun-friendly” community.
“I think they’re going to like Arkansas, and they’re going to love Jacksonville,” Fletcher said.
SIG Sauer will have 50 full-time employees in the initial relocation phase and plans to add more jobs in the future. Jackson said the company does not release salary information.
SIG Sauer currently employs about 1,200, according to a news release.
“We have been searching for a permanent relocation site for our ammunition division for several years and now, coupled with an excellent physical location and exceptional economic incentives provided by the state of Arkansas, we have found the ideal site,” Dan Powers, president of the SIG Sauer Ammunition Division, said in the release. “The new location in Jacksonville gives us the room we need to expand as we continue to grow and is also beneficial from a shipping and logistical standpoint.”
Fini said Jacksonville is centrally located and the company uses trucks to transport products.
According to the release, SIG Sauer is also growing in the silencers, optics, airguns and accessories sectors and is committed to becoming a major player in the global market.
The new plant will offer enough room to use more state-of-the-art equipment and have a larger ballistics test lab for manufacturing, research and development.
“The fact that a world-class company like SIG Sauer is choosing to do business in the state adds to our momentum in manufacturing, and we appreciate this significant commitment they are making to locate in Arkansas,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in the release.
He first announced the move in January at the annual Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show in Las Vegas. Hutchinson said then that the company was among six prospective businesses he called on his first day in office.
SIG Sauer is the largest member of a worldwide business group of firearms manufacturers that includes SIG Sauer GmbH & Co. KG in Germany and Swiss Arms AG in Switzerland.