Locked & loaded: Gun maker finds warmer surroundings in South Carolina after leaving Connecticut

Found here on foxnews.com by Joshua Rhett Miller

From beat cops to cashiers to Gov. Nikki Haley, South Carolina’s newest gun manufacturer has received an “absolutely tremendous” amount of support since leaving Connecticut for The Palmetto State, according to the firm’s CEO.



Josh Fiorini, CEO of PTR Industries, formerly of Bristol., Conn., told FoxNews.com that the firm’s new facility in Aynor, S.C., remains a week away from production, but 11 local employees began sorting inventory on Monday along with a team of training personnel from Connecticut. The manufacturer of military-style rifles announced in April that it intended to leave Bristol following the passage of gun-control legislation after the shooting deaths of 26 people, including 20 children, at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown.

“In general, things are going very well,” Fiorini said Tuesday. “Basically, we’re just unpacking and training right now, but the building is coming together and we’re putting on the final touches. We’re all very excited.”

The company, which purchased its new 58,000-square-foot facility at a discounted price of $3 million and reportedly received an undisclosed amount of tax rebates, employed more than 40 employees in Connecticut and 21 of them will move to South Carolina. Fiorini said it will hire an additional 30 workers within the first quarter of 2014, with a goal of having 120 employees in 2017.

“The facility that we’re going to move into is fantastically better than the one we’re coming from,” he said. “It allows us to consolidate two facilities into one and it’s much more modern, allowing us to set up our line in a more efficient way and hopefully expand.”

Among its full-time positions, which include health care and dental plans, Fiorini said assembly line workers can earn up to $20 per hour depending on experience, while machine operators are paid up to $25 hourly. Salaries for engineers and managers, meanwhile, can reach $80,000, he said.

“It’s a big range,” he said. “And what we really want to do here is get to about 120 [employees] within three years and to be around 150 within five years.”

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