The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

February 17, 2014

Ala. gov welcomes gun manufacturer to Huntsville


Associated Press

— HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley joined state and local leaders in Huntsville on Monday to welcome gun manufacturer Remington Outdoor Co., which plans to open a new plant in the area.

The company plans to take over an old Chrysler building in Huntsville for a new plant that is expected to be operational within the next year and a half and will bring more than 2,000 jobs, company and state officials said at a news conference. In addition to manufacturing firearms, Remington also makes ammunition, clothing and accessories.

Alabama is a perfect fit for Remington because of the state's commitment to business and economic development, as well as its conservative politics and unwavering support for the right to bear arms, Bentley said.

"You will prosper because the people we will train and the ones you will hire will be the best workers you will find anywhere in the world," Bentley told Remington CEO George Kollitides before presenting him with the Great Seal of Alabama.

Kollotides told the gathered state and local officials that, like Alabama, his company has a passion for the outdoors, strongly supports the military and fights for individual freedoms. Still, he said, choosing a site from among the proposals offered by two dozen states was not a simple task.

"We undertook a very rigorous process, examining labor, quality of life, business climate and, of course, pro-gun policies," he said. "Huntsville won hands-down. In addition to being everything we needed in all those categories, it had a phenomenal home for us in an existing facility which allows us to hit the ground running."

Kollotides said his company is growing quickly — from 2,400 employees in 2008 to 4,200 now — and the additional capacity in Alabama is essential for it to meet demand and to introduce new products. The company's corporate headquarters is in North Carolina, and it has 19 locations in the United States.

Director of the Alabama Department of Commerce Greg Canfield said the state began the process of trying to lure a major company nearly a year ago and proposed nine sites to Remington in August.

"This project is one of those rare projects that don't come along very often," Canfield said. "They're highly sought after. They're highly competitive. They're represented by great companies who have great brands that are recognized not just regionally, not just nationally, but internationally."