Economic development officials came out with a bang today as they announced that an international ammunition company will be investing in a facility in Little Rock
Fiocchi of America will be investing $15 million to expand an existing production facility in southwest Little Rock. The facility currently produces components for ammunition and will be converted into a full-production facility, primarily for center-fire ammunition.
Anthony Acitelli, president and CEO of Fiocchi of America, said the new facility will be a center of excellence for the company’s U.S. ammunition production. As part of the expansion, Fiocchi will be adding additional machines and will be boosting its number of employees to 85, up from the current 28 employees currently in Little Rock. This is an increase of 57 jobs for the Little Rock factory.
Most of the employees will be CNC (computer numerical control) operators, or machine workers, as well as a small management team. “It’s going to look completely different in six months. We’ll go from making parts to the complete round of ammunition,” Acetelli said.
During a Wednesday morning press conference, Arkansas Department of Commerce Secretary Mike Preston said the facility expansion is part of Arkansas’ efforts to court the firearms industry. Gov. Asa Hutchinson, he said, has focused on recruiting firearms companies into the state since taking office.
“I reflect on five years ago when you came into office and we started talking about the things we wanted to accomplish in economic development. One of the things the governor said that we needed to make sure that we were focusing on as an industry was the firearms industry. It’s something that’s important to Arkansas. We’re a gun-friendly state. We wanted to make sure that was known across the country,” Preston said.
As part of these efforts, Hutchinson has attended the SHOT Show, a trade show for the firearms industry, every year since 2015. Building a presence at the firearms trade shows and events and recruiting companies has helped establish Arkansas as a “premier leader in the firearms leader, both in terms of manufacturing, in terms of our promotion, and as consumers,” according to Hutchinson.
Acetelli told a room of local officials at the Arkansas State Capitol that Fiocchi selected Little Rock as its production hub based on its business climate and friendliness towards the gun industry. “We picked you because of the business environment, the acceptance of the firearms industry and, really, the people,” he said. “What I told the employees when we had our all-hands meeting was, ‘Look, we could buy machines, but we can’t buy the people. We really need the skilled workforce. We’re really acquiring you. We’re not acquiring the machines,” he said.
Hutchison is hoping this new facility results in a long-term relationship with the company and continued growth. “Most importantly, I hope that this is a partnership that will lead to future growth down the road because as Mike said, the firearms industry is important to our state. Ammunition is a key part of that. Fiocchi will be making ammunition right here in Arkansas that will be world-class in terms of quality,” Hutchinson said.
Founded in 1876, Fiocchi Munizioni is headquartered in Lecco, Italy with Fiocchi of America based in Ozark, Mo. The company produces small-caliber ammunition in both plastic and metal forms.
According to its corporate website, Fiocchi netted 180 million euros in 2017, or approximately $211 million. Of this total, the United States accounted for 50 percent of the 2017 revenue. Acetelli backed up these numbers, drawn from the website, saying that the United States represented 50 percent of the company’s market “and growing.”
Fiocchi employees more than 600 individuals according to its website with more than 100employees located at its Missouri production and distribution facility in Missouri.