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Arms firms to expand in Fort Smith, add up to 120 jobs

Posted: November 29, 2012 at 10:11 a.m.

An arms company will join an existing, affiliated firm in Fort Smith and together they will undergo a $7 million expansion and add up to 120 jobs in the next five years, officials said Thursday.

Walther Arms will locate at Chaffee Crossing, where it will share a campus and business resources with Umarex USA, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission said in a statement. The manufacturing operations will include making components for airguns and firearms.

The commission said the companies hope to add between 70 and 120 jobs in the next five years.

“We are absolutely fired up to see Fort Smith become the home for the iconic Walther brand and company," Walther Arms and Umarex USA Chief Executive Officer Adam Blalock said in a statement. "My personal hope and objective is to see more manufacturing and jobs return to the USA in the coming years and what better place than Fort Smith!”

Umarex USA opened in Fort Smith in 2006 and has seen its sales volume double since moving its operations to the Chaffee facility in 2010.

“Fort Smith’s excellent workforce helped convince Umarex and Walther to increase production here, and their overall Arkansas experience led to make our state their North American Headquarters,” Gov. Mike Beebe said in a statement. “Success stories like this will help to influence other companies deciding where to invest for success.”

Officials say some products being manufactured abroad will be shifted to Fort Smith in the expanded facility.

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