Plans change for gun maker expanding to Horry County

A gun manufacturer from Ohio is changing its plans for expanding in Horry County, though economic development officials say Ithaca Gun Company still wants to come to this area.

The biggest change is that Ithaca will no longer be building a new plant. Instead, company officials are looking at an existing building.

Economic development officials say the changes are nothing more than a cost adjustment.

Ithaca announced its plans to expand to Horry County last fall.

At the time, officials with the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation said the company would create 120 jobs over 5 years.

They said Ithaca would build a new 20,000 square foot plant on a site in the Cool Springs Business Park.

That's next door to another gun maker, PTR Industries.

But now, officials say Ithaca is considering a move to a former roller skating rink near Conway.

The number of new jobs is now planned to be about 80 to 100, which economic development officials stress is in the same range and still a significant number.

"These things are fluid and a lot of times they change and adapt as we go through the process, so we're making some adjustments and moving forward," said MB Regional EDC marketing director Morgan Dendy.

Dendy says company officials decided it would be more cost effective to renovate an existing building, rather than construct a new one.

She says company leaders will be in Horry County April 2 to finalize the cost.

In January, Horry County leaders attended the SHOT Show, the world's largest gun industry show, in Las Vegas.

It was part of their effort to make the Grand Strand into a hub for the firearms industry.

"We're still pursuing gun manufacturers, ammunition manufacturers, everybody that's in that kind of realm and industry, so yeah, we're still actively pursuing them," Dendy said.

Officials say the timeline for the company's start-up in Horry County remains the same, late 2014.

Ithaca company officials could not be reached for comment.

Ithaca manufactures mostly shotguns along with a 1911 pistol.