ST. GEORGE — While the COVID-19 pandemic was expected to be economically detrimental to communities across the country, the future opening of a major arms manufacturer in the area shows that was not the case for Cedar City.
“It took a combined effort of both the city and the resilience of our residents to get through this,” Mayor Maile Wilson-Edwards told Cedar City News. “You can see the dividends it’s paying with these companies that know it’s profitable to come to Cedar City and do business.”
One of those businesses is Armscor, a firearms and ammunition manufacturer. At the work session for the City Council on May 19, Economic Development Director Danny Stewart announced that Armscor will open a facility in Cedar City, bringing an estimated 88 new jobs to the community.
“They were looking at locations in other states as well, so we’re excited to have them here,” Stewart said. “The project that will be coming to Cedar City will include firearms manufacturing in the first phase. They will be moving into an existing building here.”
Council member Scott Phillips wanted to know about the wages the new Armscor jobs will provide.
Stewart said they went to the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and qualified for a statewide tax incentive for six years
“To be able to qualify, they do need to provide jobs that pay higher than our average county wage,” he said.
According to a press release issued by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, the company operates under the brands of Armscor and Rock Island Armory.
Some of Armscor’s customers include Sportsman’s Warehouse, Cal Ranch and Rural King. Part of the company’s stated mission is to bring innovative firearms to its customers at a great value.
“We’re excited to have a business with such a long, robust history to welcome them to the community,” Wilson-Edwards said, “especially with the new high-paying jobs that will accompany them.”
A favorable business climate in Utah and in Cedar City specifically was a deciding factor in Armscor’s decision to open a local facility.
“We’re hearing this time and time again from businesses,” Wilson-Edwards said. “It’s getting harder and harder to conduct business in other states in terms of regulatory requirements and the political climate.”
Armscor’s pending arrival is just one of the signs that the affects of the pandemic through 2020 didn’t hurt Cedar City’s economy in most sectors.
“We tried to be conscious about COVID(-19) and safety and health,” Wilson-Edwards said, “but also not shut down our economy and destroy the businesses that so many of our residents have poured their heart and soul into.”
According to numbers provided by Wilson-Edwards, gross taxable sales in 2020 in Cedar City were up 18.3% over 2019. Further, between September of 2019 and September of 2020, Cedar City had a new job growth rate of 4%. Cedar City also experienced a 39% increase in building permits and saw the opening of 10 new businesses, while wages in Iron County raised 9%.
As far as the expected opening date for the Armscor facility, Stewart told Cedar City News they hope to be open before the year’s end.
“They are finalizing offers on an existing building and don’t have an exact date yet,” he said, “but they are hoping to be open this fall.”
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