Regional Report Triad September 2013
Gun-makers target Rockingham County
Rockingham County used to be known for textiles and tobacco. Now it’s attracting a more explosive industry. In August, state and local officials put the final touches on an economic-incentive package to bring a Sturm, Ruger & Co. factory to Mayodan. The company plans to invest $26 million to turn a 220,000-square-foot former Unifi Inc. mill into a firearms plant, creating 473 jobs by 2017. Ruger, the nation’s fourth-largest gun-maker, is eligible for almost $10 million from the state. Rockingham County Partnership also got a $2 million grant from Golden LEAF to buy equipment to lease to the company.
Ruger had its sights set on a site in a right-to-work state that was close to large airports — but not too urban — and “comfortable” with the firearms industry, according to Graham Pervier, president of Rockingham County Partnership. It also needed a skilled workforce for precision manufacturing. Ruger’s factory will be less than 2 miles from the headquarters of Remington Arms Co., which moved to Madison from Wilmington, Del., in 1996. One of its products is the Bushmaster, the type of AR-15 rifle used in the Newtown, Conn., school shooting. Reporters flocked to Madison after the tragedy, but Remington typically keeps a low profile in the county. Fayetteville-based Cape Fear Arsenal Inc., which makes projectiles, casings and ammunition, recently announced plans to invest $15.2 million and hire 150 over the next three years to open a plant in Robeson County.
The industry used to be centered in the Northeast, but labor costs are high there, and some state legislatures are seen as less supportive of gun rights. Pervier said Remington’s presence didn’t help sell Ruger on Rockingham County, other than word gets around in this tightknit industry.
GREENSBORO — RF Micro Devices, which makes superconductors for cellphones, will lay off 120 at its plant here. The company is focusing on parts for cheaper phones, recently purchasing Los Gatos, Calif.-based Amalfi Semiconductor, which makes microchips for 2G and 3G frequencies. It did not give a reason for the layoffs.
WINSTON-SALEM — Hanesbrands will acquire Iselin, N.J.-based Maidenform Brands, which sells Playtex and Wonderbra apparel, for $575 million. The purchase should add $500 million of sales, bringing revenue to $5 billion.
GREENSBORO — Bell Partners purchased Fairway Knoll at Teravista Apartments — a 318-unit complex in Round Rock, Texas — for an undisclosed amount in August. The company, which invests in and manages apartments, has invested more than $221 million this year for properties.
GREENSBORO — Ronald Smith resigned as chief financial officer of Unifi in August to pursue other opportunities. Smith had worked for the company since 1994 and had been CFO since 2007. James Otterberg, chief accounting officer, will serve as interim CFO. Unifi also entered into its first manufacturing and distribution agreement for its Repreve recycled fiber. Kingstree, S.C.-based Palmetto Synthetics will turn it into staple fiber sold under the Repreve name.