SC gun maker expanding in Lexington County, hiring 300

jwilkinson@thestate.comApril 10, 2014 

Michael Workman is a supervisor at Palmetto State Armory, which announced Thursday that it is expanding in Lexington County and hiring 300 more workers. Like most of the employees at the gun manufacturing facility and related retail store and firing range, Workman is retired from a career in the military.

TRACY GLANTZ — tglantz@thestate.com Buy Photo

— Palmetto State Armory is expanding in Lexington County and will create 300 jobs, more than doubling its workforce, the S.C. Governor’s Office announced Thursday.

The gun manufacturer will invest $4.2 million to renovate and expand into a new building at 2121 Old Dunbar Road over the next three years, adding 168,000-square-feet to its manufacturing and distribution operations, which is presently headquartered on Fernandina Road in Columbia. That facility is 39,000 square feet.

“The growth of our business has only been hindered by space,” marketing director Adam Ruonala said.

He said the former plastics company space in Lexington County should be completed in three to six months. The full contingent of workers should be on board in three years.

The company was founded by Jamin McCallum of Columbia in his garage. It now has expanded to weapons sales, manufacturing and firing ranges in Columbia, Beaufort and Greenville. The firm each year manufactures about 250,000 parts for AR-5 rifles and M4 carbines for sale to the public.

McCallum and co-owners Ed Larocque and Julian Wilson, son of U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, considered sites and incentive packages from Georgia and North Carolina before deciding to expand in Lexington County.

“This company is founded, owned and operated by life-long South Carolinians,” he said. “We wanted to keep the business and the jobs in South Carolina.”

Post-9/11 veterans make up about half of the company’s workforce, and Ruonala said that hiring practice set by McCallum, an Iraq war veteran and member of the S.C. National Guard, will continue.

The additional capacity will allow the armory to meet a growing demand for firearms. Presently, 4,000 jobs in the Palmetto State are tied to the firearms and ammunition industry, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

“PSA’s decision to expand its production operations here builds on our state’s manufacturing renaissance and creates well-paying jobs that will have an impact in Lexington County now and for years to come,” Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt said in the release.

Those interested in jobs should email their resumes to Kim.Miranda@palmetto statearmory.com.

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