By Paul Gable
One week after Gov. Nikki Haley visited PTR Industries Inc. to celebrate the company’s first anniversary of the announcement the company was relocating to Horry County, PTR Industries is laying off workers.
Touted as a ‘Hail Mary long ball’ attempt to boost sales, the Haley visit appears to have fallen short.
PTR Industries decided to relocate to Horry County after Connecticut, its former home, passed stricter new gun laws in the wake of the December 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings.
The announcement of its relocation touted the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation, the S.C. Department of Commerce and local and state elected officials in being key players in attracting PTR Industries to Horry County.
A package that included an initial capital investment of approximately $1 million for improvements to upgrade a spec building at the county’s Cool Springs Business Park, which houses PTR Industries, and incentive based job creation credits were used to attract the company to Horry County.
PTR Industries agreed to create 145 new jobs in Horry County over a three year period. It brought 21 workers from Connecticut to Horry County in the move and added an additional 28 local workers since beginning production operations in January 2014.
According to county officials familiar with the company, a total of eight workers are affected immediately by the layoffs, two originally from Connecticut and six hired locally. In addition, the entire remaining staff of 41 workers will experience a 10% pay cut.
Several sources told GSD that PTR Industries is approximately 45 days behind in its rent payments to Horry County after bringing a check to last night’s meeting of Horry County Council to close an even larger arrearage.
PTR Industries relies on a ‘niche market’ military assault type rifle as its primary product. Sources say a broadening of the product base is included in future company plans.
However, competing in the current “soft” gun market, sources said company sales are off 60-65% with future orders experiencing an even larger decrease.