I’ve made little secret of the fact that I’m a big fan of Ithaca shotguns. The venerable Model 37 is my favorite shotgun of all time; the light, smooth action is just a joy to use, and I’ve said many times that it’s the cure for chronic short-stroking. Hand an Ithaca to someone who’s having trouble cycling their Mossberg and the problem almost always disappears.
Because I’m a fan I tend to follow the company fairly closely. It hasn’t always been fun; Ithaca went through some tough times (and a couple of owners) a number of years back, but they’ve recovered and are planning to double their production capacity by building a new factory near Myrtle Beach, SC!
The company isn’t talking about why they’ve forsaken their current Ohio home in their expansion plans, but South Carolina (and the county in which they’ve chosen to locate) has been very aggressive in courting gun manufacturers. It’s paid off: Ithaca alone is going to spend $6.7 million and ultimately hire 120 people. The jobs they’re bringing to town include engineers, gunsmiths, and machinists — skilled workers that make family wages. No wonder the press in SC has been overwhelmingly positive!
Horry County, where Ithaca is locating, has already attracted another gun company — PTR Industries is moving there and Stag Arms is rumored to be interested in moving — and has built a large business park with plans for an adjacent shooting range. Part of Ithaca’s decision was apparently the nearby presence of Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology, which educates the skilled workers needed by companies like Ithaca and PTR. Turns out that technical and vocational education is a competitive advantage! (This is, sadly, something my own state has yet to figure out.)
That’s not the end of the good news for the area, however. The fellow who owns Ithaca, David Dlubak, is also the CEO of a major glass recycling company and plans to expand those operations in the same area. There’s a lesson in this for the other 49 states: being friendly to the firearms industry pays off in many, sometimes unexpected, ways!
-=[ Grant ]=-