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Outdoors company plans large expansion

Another local business is crashing through the economicrecession and expanding with new workspace, new equipment and newjobs.

Primos CNC Production Department Vice President Anthony Fostersaid his company has begun work on an approximately $625,000expansion project that is expected to increase the facility’soutput and add 10 new jobs to the 25-member workforce over the nextyear.

The 4,500 square-foot expansion will be accompanied byimprovements to the company’s existing 8,000 square-foot building,he said. Also, Primos will likely spend more than $1 million on thejob and its normal operations over the next year.

The Lincoln County Board of Supervisors approved a letter ofintent for Primos Monday, signaling their intention to grant thecompany an ad valorum tax exemption on its new expansion for a10-year period.

“The hunting industry has done really well during this time,”Foster said. “We’ve had an increase in sales. It’s a lot easier fora person to spend on $20 and $30 items than it is to buy the bigitems.”

The concrete slab for the expansion was poured Monday, Fostersaid. New equipment that will expand Primos’ production capabilityand add new jobs will be arriving over the next two months.

A $375,000 router, a computer-controlled milling machine thatwill manufacture the company’s products, is expected to beinstalled in around two weeks, he said. A $250,000 rapid prototypemill that will be used to develop new product prototypes should beinstalled two weeks after that, he said.

The new equipment will require 10 new hands to operate, Fostersaid, and those positions will be added over the coming months asnew products are ready for manufacture.

“A year from now, we’ll probably have those 10 jobs filled andprobably more,” he said. “We have to design, build and manufacture.We’ll hire some skilled labor and we’ll train some. Our machinistsare always going to be trained.”

Foster pointed out that Primos produces more than just itswell-known hunting calls. The company also produces backpacks,flashlights, hunting blinds and archery products to name a few.

The Lincoln County facility is currently developing a new gamecamera, he said, and has patented a new “trigger stick,” anauto-adjusting rifle tripod that adjusts and locks its legs inplace with the squeeze of a trigger. The stand is Foster’s owninvention.

“We manufacture a lot of different parts,” he told supervisorsMonday. “Anything you can think of in the hunting industry, wepretty well make it.”

Foster said Primos’ business is also business for other localestablishments. Reed’s Metals will construct the new building hesaid, and Primos often buys supplies from other local businesseslike Gatlin Corp. and B&O Supply Inc. He also touted thecompany’s pay range as one of the highest in the area.

Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce Executive VicePresident Cliff Brumfield, who introduced Foster to supervisorsMonday, said medium-sized businesses like Primos are the backboneof the local economy.

“Primos is one of the more advanced companies in SouthwestMississippi,” he said. “They’re involved in cutting edge technologyin several areas. This expansion will help anchor their investmentin Lincoln County.”

Brumfield said the addition of 10 new jobs may not sound like abig deal on the surface, but it is a boost for the localeconomy.

“Ten jobs might not sound like a huge leap, but in fact it is,once you consider the technical skill sets involved,” he said. “Anyjob or point of income these days should be highly regarded.”