The Little Rock, Ark economy and job market is expected to boom with the addition of 565 jobs in the next six years thanks to a recent venture by Czech firearm manufacturer Česká zbrojovka a.s. Uherský Brod (CZUB), owner of the U.S.-based company CZ-USA.The company is locating its North American headquarters to the Port of Little Rock—a 2,600-acre industrial park seven miles outside of the city.
The Little Rock Port Authority (LRPA) has given 73 acres to CZ-USA at the port for development of the facility. The plan calls for two, three-year phases to get the site ready for production.
The Czech gun maker, which has been in business for 83 years, plans to invest $90 million in the Arkansas business venture.
“The headquarters and factory will mean new jobs for assemblers, test firers, machine operators, packers and loaders, skilled laborers, warehouse workers, engineers and production supervisors who will be paid an average of $22 per hour,” Gov. Asa Hutchinson said during an announcement about the project.
Hiring will begin this fall, with more jobs to be filled by 2020.
According to CZ-USA Chairman of the Board Bogdan Heczko, Arkansas was chosen from among several states due to its numerous benefits.
“As CZ looked to increase our presence in North America, it engaged in a multi-state search for the ideal location,” said Heczko. “The Arkansas workforce, culture, business climate and industry support cleared the way for us to choose Little Rock as our new home.”
The redevelopment move is one of several by Gov. Asa Hutchinson to bring business and economic development to Arkansas. After Hutchinson took office in 2015, he reached out to firearm and ammunitions manufacturer SIG Sauer. The company, which renovated a building in Jacksonville in 2016, recently held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the completed facility that employs 160 workers.
“SIG Sauer has a strong partnership with the state of Arkansas, and we have chosen to make a major capital investment here. Our commitment is long-term,” said CEO Ron Cohen, who attended the event. “In the two years since we’ve been in Jacksonville, we have seen significant growth in our business and are confident that will continue for many years to come.”