Gun accessories manufacturer seeks Business Council funding for move to Laramie

2013-06-19T18:30:00Z 2013-08-22T03:05:13Z Gun accessories manufacturer seeks Business Council funding for move to LaramieBy LAURA HANCOCK Star-Tribune staff writer with wire reports Casper Star-Tribune Online

The president and CEO of HiViz Shooting Systems told the Laramie City Council on Tuesday night that his employees are excited to move to Wyoming from Fort Collins, Colo.

“After 17 years, we find ourselves at an interesting juncture of having to move and preparing for growth at the same time,” said Philip Howe, whose company specializes in research, design and engineering of sights and recoil pads for the firearms industry.

Howe received applause from people in the City Council chambers after his presentation, which can be heard online. In early May, the company announced that it was going to move to Laramie from Colorado, which has tightened gun regulation. It is the first such company to confirm it is moving to the gun-friendlier Cowboy State.

Other firearms companies in Colorado and Connecticut, which also tightened gun laws, have threatened to leave. On Wednesday, Bristol, Conn.-based PTR Industries said that it was moving to Aynor, S.C.

John McNamara, vice president of sales at PTR Industries, said most of the 41 workers will move. The company will move as quickly as possible without interrupting production.

In Laramie, Howe described the beginnings of HiViz as a small company with only two products.

“Today, we have over 130 and we’re still growing,” he said.

The company sells products in

30 countries.

“We have built our company on being honest, innovative and treating customers as we’d like to be treated,” he said. “Therefore, we have built a name which people trust in our industry.”

The Laramie City Council was originally going to review a grant application that HiViz and the Laramie Economic Development Corp. are preparing to submit to the Wyoming Business Council, but the review was canceled because HiViz’s attorney was on vacation, said City Manager Janine Jordan.

The review has been rescheduled for July 16,

she said.

The city will submit the grant application to the Business Council on behalf of the company and LEDC because that is the grant’s requirements, Jordan said.

The city, LEDC and HiViz hope to get $2.5 million from the Business Council for construction of the headquarters, assembly plant and warehouse, Jordan said. The LEDC has pledged to match the grant by providing property worth $762,000.

Additionally, the city, HiViz and LEDC hope to get a Business Council loan of $422,927 for construction.

HiViz will lease the 20,000 square-foot building and then have the option to buy it in about five years, said Dan Furphy, president and CEO of LEDC.

“It makes sense for their organization, based on previous commitments” to not initially buy the building, Furphy said.

“We would apply their lease payments toward the purchase price” if HiViz buys the building, he said.

Documents the company and city administration supplied to the City Council show the company does business as HiViz but is called North Pass Ltd. It wants to move to Wyoming in July 2014.

There are currently

9.5 HiViz employees. When it opens in Laramie next

year, it expects to move

14.5 employees, the documents state.

“Within four years, HiViz expansion is anticipated to create another

10 full-time jobs with an average wage of $49,969 (in 2013 dollars),” documents state. “In total, the relocation of HiViz will bring

24 full-time jobs to Laramie by 2018. HiViz plans to invest $200,000 in machinery and equipment for the

new building.”

The documents state that during the next decade, the company will supply 56 direct and indirect jobs, $21.3 million in payroll from those direct and indirect jobs, provide $858,000

in local tax revenue, $303,000 in state tax revenue, and support 43 households in Laramie.

Reach state reporter Laura Hancock at 307-266-0581 or at laura.hancock@trib.com. Follow her on Twitter: @laurahancock.

Copyright 2015 Casper Star-Tribune Online. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(1) Comments

  1. Sassy
    Report Abuse
    Sassy - June 20, 2013 8:12 am
    I doubt all employee's will move to Laramie, so the numbers maybe off.
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