In September 2007, First Choice Armor opened its new operation in Spindale, N.C., announcing that it would relocate from Brockton, Mass., and create 398 jobs during the next three years. After hearing about the business climate in Rutherford County, N.C., from one of their suppliers, First Choice Armor, manufacturer of protective body armor for military and law-enforcement markets, settled on the Spindale location and began hiring among the strong textile workforce in the area.
Spindale, population 4,000, lost four major textile plants in the last few years, and when First Choice Armor held a job fair, 1,600 people stood in the rain for a chance at a job. “The biggest thing we heard was, ‘Even if you don’t hire me, we’re glad you came,’” says general manager Paul Koren. Rutherford County capitalized on the presence of some of the nation’s largest military bases, such as Fort Bragg and Camp LeJeune, to attract military product manufacturers to the area. Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue created a North Carolina Military Commission, a private industry group, to boost military business and make up for a massive round of base closings in 2005.
For more information about the company’s move, visit www.firstchoicearmor.com.