Czech Gun Manufacturer To Locate At Port Of Little Rock
CZ-USA, the U.S.-based affiliate of Czech firearms manufacturer Ceská zbrojovka a.s. Uherský Brod (CZUB), announced on April 23 it would locate its North American headquarters and build a new manufacturing facility on approximately 73 acres at the Port of Little Rock, Ark. CZ-USA plans to implement a two-phase approach with an investment of up to $90 million, and create some 565 jobs over a six-year period.
“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.”
In 2018, the Czech Republic imported some $2.6 million in commodities into Arkansas, and Arkansas exports to the country totaled roughly $8.2 million. Nearly 160 foreign-owned companies have some 300 operations in the state; however, CZ-USA is the first Czech company to have a presence in Arkansas.
“We are honored to have a world-renowned brand such as CZ call Arkansas home,” said Gov. Asa Hutchinson. “The location in the growing Port of Little Rock, combined with the high-paying jobs created by the company, will improve the quality of life for all Arkansans.”
Construction will begin immediately, with initial start-up planned for March 2020. Production at the Little Rock facility will commence in two, three-year phases.
A port spokesman said the company does not plan to use barge transportation in its operations. However, Port Director Bryan Day said the announcement is the result of a lot of hard work to grow the port.
“Working with our partners at the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, the Port of Little Rock has increased our shovel-ready sites through our strategic land acquisition efforts over the past five years,” Day said.
“… This international company will join the great international business community in the port, where more than 40 companies headquartered across the globe ship their Arkansas-made products to the world. The Little Rock Port Authority Board of Directors is committed to their leadership role in growing jobs for Central Arkansas. I am appreciative of their commitment to economic development and I look forward to more growth in the future,” he said.
“Little Rock is open for business, and we could not be more thrilled to have CZ-USA at the Port of Little Rock,” said Mayor Frank Scott Jr. “This is the largest jobs announcement in Little Rock in more than a decade. Improving Little Rock’s infrastructure is a top priority for me, which will ultimately lead to creating more good-paying jobs, of which this is a prime example.”
Pulaski County Judge Barry Hyde said, “This is a huge victory for Pulaski County and the region. The city of Little Rock has been working to expand the port for a number of years, and I’m glad to see the fruits of that labor. Through a partnership with the city of Little Rock, the county is developing the infrastructure to accommodate the new development within the expanded Little Rock Port.”