CZ-USA has chosen Little Rock as its North American headquarters and plans to invest up to $90 million to build a firearms manufacturing facility at the Port of Little Rock.
During a press conference today at the state Capitol, Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) Executive Director Mike Preston unveiled the Czech company’s plans to build its North American manufacturing base and to hire 565 people in Little Rock.
CZ-USA, which is a subsidiary company of Czech firearms manufacturer Česká zbrojovka a.s. Uherský Brod , is planning to build its manufacturing facility on 73 acres at the port. Hiring will take place in two phases, spread over six years. Wages for the new jobs are expected to be higher than the average Pulaski County wage, according to AEDC officials.
According to Hutchinson, construction on the facility is set to begin immediately, and the facility is projected to be active by March 2020.
Courting CZ-USA began almost a year ago at the annual SHOT (Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade) show when Hutchinson spoke to CZ-USA officials about moving their operations to Arkansas.
“This is a targeted industry that sought after and we recruited,” Preston said.
After considering multiple locations around the U.S., CZ-USA decided to build its future in Arkansas. Tax incentives played a role. Preston said during the conference that the company is expected to receive funds from the Governor’s Quick Action Closing Fund and sales tax breaks. An exact amount of state assistance was not available at the conference.
However, one of the deciding factors for CZ-USA was Arkansas itself. Bogdan Heczko, CZ-USA chairman, said that he and other company executives visited the state and were impressed by the reception and the offerings the state offered.
“As CZ looked to increase our presence in North America, it engaged in a multi-state search for the ideal location,” said Bogdan Heczko, CZ-USA chairman of the board. “The Arkansas workforce, culture, business climate and industry support cleared the way for us to choose Little Rock as our new home.”
CZ-USA has locations in North America, specifically an office in Kansas City that serves as a distribution site, warehouse, and an assembly factory, as well as a location in Norwich, New York, which serves as the headquarters for the company’s Dan Wesson brand.
However, this facility will be the company’s first North American manufacturing facility. It also represents the first direct investment by a company from the Czech Republic. The eastern European country imported $2.6 million in commodities to Arkansas in 2018, while Arkansas exported approximately $8.2 million.
“Today’s announcement is the result of everything we have to offer in Arkansas – from a skilled workforce to a business-friendly environment in this state, to our central location, to the beauty of our great state,” Hutchinson said.
CZ-USA is already recruiting applicants for positions at the Little Rock location. To find more information, click here.
Image courtesy of AEDC