Mayodan, NC - Nearly 500 new jobs and a $30 million investment are on the way to Mayodan, thanks to gun manufacturer Sturm, Ruger and Company.
READ: Ruger Creating 459+ Jobs in Rockingham County
Business and local leaders tell WFMY News 2's Morgan Hightower this announcement puts Mayodan on the map.
They say they're ready for the spotlight and economic boost Ruger's expansion is sure to bring.
"My first reaction was 'Wow, I'm going to get more business, you know!," said Sam Ellatakunne, co-owner, Star Pizza.
Sam Ellatakunne has been running Star Pizza on Main Street in Mayodan for eleven years.
He's seen businesses and his lunch crowd, come and go.
"We used to do a very good lunch, but now the lunch [has] slow down a little bit," explained Ellatakunne.
When the Unifi Plant was open, its employees packed his restaurant.
Now that Ruger is moving into Unifi's old building, and hiring nearly 500 employees, Ellatakunne hopes they'll spend money at his business.
"Competition is good," said Brandon Craddock.
Craddock owns Beach House Grill located just down the block from Star Pizza.
He has been open for one year.
"Business hasn't quite been where we want it at, and so [these] 500 jobs coming to town should help us out," said Craddock.
"I always had faith in this little town that it would step up, eventually, it just takes some time," said Catlin Morgan. "You just got to get through the rough part."
Morgan owns an appliance shop on Main Street and is in the process of opening a gun store. He says he began his plans about three months ago, the same time news spread Ruger was considering Mayodan.
"Them bringing jobs will only help us out even more."
Ruger is also responsible for bringing a new restaurant to town. The owners took a chance after hearing Ruger might expand in Mayodan.
"They found out about Mayodan because of the press that came out a few weeks ago and they decided that a place that is going to have 500 more people working, is a good place to have a restaurant," explained Michael Brandt, Town Manager, Mayodan.
With Ruger's expansion, Brandt hopes other companies will also bet on Mayodan.
"This is just the beginning," said Brandt.
He added, "We're excited that we will be able to put some people back to work."
Brandt says they're hopeful Ruger will bring more manufacturers to the area, even hotels, gas stations and chain restaurants.
Ruger chose Mayodan over sites in Florida, Texas and South Carolina. In order to help recruit the company, the state put together an incentives package.
The state has offered $13.76 million, but not all of that will go to Ruger.
According to Josh Ellis, with the North Carolina Department of Commerce, $9.46 million will go to the gun manufacturer.
Seven-hundred-thousand-dollars goes to community college training for Ruger's employees. As a part of a workforce-training grant, Ruger will get $372,000.
Nearly $500,000 is for the company to remodel the old Unifi textile building. Two million is for economic and tourism development and $750,000 is for the local government.
WFMY News 2