Gun maker likes Pike Pike close to deal, despite ongoing Facebook contest

The Pike County Courier By Joshua Rosenau Published June 21, 2013 at 2:09 pm (Updated Jun 21, 2013)
BLOOMING GROVE — Kahr Arms, a firearms maker specializing in the P9 pistol and Thompson submachine gun, is close to inking a deal to buy a long-dormant business park in Blooming Grove, officials said. But Kahr said the public would decide its new location through a contest on its Facebook page (see sidebar). To participate, the company requires users to give Kahr access to personal data and friends lists. The winning contestant was promised a free gun. The contest continues through June 30. But after learning about the Pike deal, some Kahr fans called the company out. “My entry is in,” posted Facebook user John England on June 21. “I voted for North Carolina and I want my free gun! :<) But I read that Kahr has purchased the Pike County Business Park in Pennsylvania where there is more than enough room to move and expand the entire business group. So it looks like the decision has already been made. So what's up with that?" Kahr's spokesperson Frank Harris did not return calls for comment. Current employees to fill jobs at first The 600-acre industrial park has about 320 buildable acres along Well Road in the township. Officials did say how large a footprint the Kahr Arms building might have. "The impact is that we were able to sell the entire business park, assuming this all goes through," said Kathy Hummel of the Pike County Economic Development Authority. Currently based in Pearl River, N.Y., the company is expected to bring between 70 and 80 jobs to start, but that number should grow over time to between 200 and 300, Hummel said. "It will bring jobs is the number one benefit," she said. "We had one of the highest percentages of unemployment in the state, and this will go a long way to help create jobs in the area." Hummel said Kahr intends to build a manufacturing plant. Most of Kahr's current workforce will staff the new location, with the company hiring more local people as it grows. "I am sure it will provide jobs for people in this area," Hummel said. Pike County Commissioner Matt Osterberg agrees. "Finally, after 16 years, we’ve finally gotten a developer to buy the office park who will bring jobs to the area," he said. Demand drives expansion Recent mass shootings, especially the massacre of 20 first-graders and six adults in Newtown, Conn., last December, have sparked a furious national debate about gun control. In announcing its intended expansion, Kahr referred to "challenging" times and "high demand." Hummel said she was not concerned about welcoming Kahr to Pike. "I think it’s a good fit for the county, for the company and for the business park," she said. "It’s a legal business, and I don’t have a concern with it." Kahr's history Kahr Arms is a subsidiary of Saeilo Enterprises, Inc., which specializes in precision manufacturing of metals, according to the company's website. In 1992, the company came under the control of CEO Justin Moon, son of Sun Myung Moon — the charismatic leader and self-proclaimed messiah of the Unification Church. In 1999, Kahr Arms purchased Auto-Ordinance, the company that held the license to manufacture the Thompson submachine gun, nicknamed the "Chicago typewriter" for its association with gangsters during the Prohibition era. It also hold right to s a model of the government-issued .45 caliber pistol.