Friday, January 29, 2016

EDITORIAL >> SIG Sauer's new home

The area’s economy got a needed boost last week when Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced that SIG Sauer will open an ammunitions plant in Jacksonville and Remington Arms will expand its Lonoke factory.

SIG Sauer USA is based in Exeter, N.H., a bucolic New England town that is best known for the elite preparatory school Phillips Exeter Academy that’s educated many of the country’s most successful people since 1781.

The gun company is owned by a private investment group called L & O Holding in Emsdetten, Germany, and has an Israeli chief executive officer who was educated at Technion in Haifa, Israel, one of the world’s best engineering universities.

So it’s no surprise SIG Sauer, favored by military members and police officers around the world, chose Jacksonville — a proud military community — to expand its operations.

SIG Sauer will create 75 jobs to manufacture ammunition in the old Meador’s Lighting building on Swift Drive off Marshall Road. It plans to build a new manufacturing facility as it continues to grow.

Meanwhile, Remington said it will add 80 jobs to its already 1,200-strong workforce with a $12 million investment.

Gov. Hutchinson, a staunch supporter of gun rights and a former National Rifle Association lobbyist, made the announcements during a firearms convention in Las Vegas.

“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,” he said.

During the governor’s speech Tuesday at the Cabot Chamber of Commerce banquet, he emphasized that people from all over the area will benefit from the new job opportunities.

“I have full confidence that folks from Cabot will be employed in all those arenas,” he said.

“(SIG Sauer and Remington) came to me and said they had options to go to different places, but no one beat Arkansas in terms of workforce and state support,” Hutchinson said.

The governor is convinced more good news is coming to Arkansas, and Mayor Gary Fletcher believes there’s more in store for Jacksonville, including the announcement this week that Edwards Cash Saver will soon go into the Knight’s Super Foods Store. Perhaps a new era has begun. Welcome to SIG Sauer, Edwards Cash Saver and all the good folks who will boost our local economy.