South Dakota Communities Partner to Recruit Firearm Industry

PIERRE, S.D. –-( Thirteen communities are working with the State of South Dakota to expand the state’s firearm industry by attending the SHOT Show in Las Vegas, N.V. next week.

The SHOT Show which runs from Jan. 17-20 is the world’s largest Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade Show and Conference attracting businesses from all 50 states and more than 100 countries.

The South Dakota Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) has attended the SHOT Show for the past 11 years and the state continues see success as a result of the effort.

“Last year during the show, South Dakota connected with more than 50 companies. Within four months two of those companies expanded their operations to South Dakota,” said GOED Commissioner J. Pat Costello.

“That movement created jobs and brought new wealth to South Dakota. We’re hopeful our efforts at this year’s SHOT Show will continue to bring new opportunity to South Dakota communities.”

Sturgis Cigar & Knife Co., a retailer that sells knives, imported cigars and custom branding for cigars, established an operation in Sturgis, S.D. rather than Massachusetts after connecting with Sturgis Economic Development officials at the SHOT Show last year. Sturgis Cigar and Knife’s parent company is JEM Enterprises which publishes various firearms manuals.

“Company representatives literally told the South Dakota delegation not to try and recruit the company. Four days later, the company owner decided to expand his business in South Dakota,” said Pat Kurtenbach, President of the Sturgis Economic Development Corporation. “This story is a great example of how important personal contact and community engagement is in the business development arena.”

Community groups partnering with the South Dakota GOED this year are Aberdeen Development Corporation, DeSmet Development Corporation, Focus Watertown, Glacial Lakes Area Development, Greater Huron Development Corporation, Grow Spink, Inc., Lincoln and Minnehaha County Economic Development Associations, Mitchell Area Development Corporation, Mobridge Economic Development Corporation, On Hand Development Corporation, Rapid City Economic Development, Spearfish Economic Development Corporation, and Webster Area Development Corporation.

Additionally, Bar-Sto, a Sturgis-based auto pistol barrel manufacturer and recent South Dakota recruit, will join the South Dakota delegation to encourage businesses to move to South Dakota.

“I moved my business from California to South Dakota two years ago. The difference is night and day. Here, government leaders work with your company to help it be successful. In California, it seemed government leaders did everything they could to hinder business,” said Irv Stone, Bar-Sto owner.

The Governor’s Office of Economic Development has targeted the firearm industry for the last 10 years. In 1999, South Dakota was the first state in the nation to pass legislation to protect firearm companies from lawsuits. South Dakota’s pro-firearm regulations paired with the state’s business-friendly environment have helped the firearm and ammunition industry continue to blossom in South Dakota.

The state is currently home to more than 50 firearm and ammunition companies. Those companies employ more than 600 people in nearly 20 communities.

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