PTR takes a couple more slugs

There appears to be more downside to the slowdown at PTR Industries than laid-off employees and trimmed management paychecks.

The company recently paid Horry County part of payments it had missed for work done at its building at Cool Springs Business Park near Aynor. PTR also has been sued by Cayce Co. of Florence for $18,275 it says it is owed for heating and air conditioning work done at PTR’s manufacturing plant.

John McNamara, vice president of PTR, said he couldn’t comment. He said that PTR CEO Josh Fiorini, who would be the one to address the issues, was out of the state and unreachable before Monday afternoon.

Brad Lofton, CEO of the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corp., said he’s not worried about PTR’s future.

He said company officials have said they plan to introduce new gun lines that will help the company have its best year ever in 2015. Lofton said sales have been strong for the company’s recently-introduced South Carolina commemorative rifle.

Lofton said PTR was behind a month or two in payments to Horry County that it financed for things on the company’s building not included in its original contract. The company is getting three years of free rent on the original contract.

He said the payments to the county are $7,000 to $8,000 a month.

“(PTR officials) have convinced the county and me they’re doing fine,” Lofton said.

Fiorini said last week the recent layoffs of eight employees and a 10 percent cut in management pay were due to a nationwide economic slowdown in the first two quarters of this year that hit the firearms industry hard.

CNN reported that firearms background checks by the Federal Bureau of Investigation fell to 1.66 million in January from 2.5 million in January 2013.

Fiorini said last week that suppliers still have inventory of some firearms because of the high demand for weapons last year, and that they are not ordering new stock until the current inventory is trimmed down.

PTR isn’t the only gun manufacturer to be caught by the slowdown.

Sig Sauer, a Westfield, Mass., firearms manufacturer, has laid off 85 employees since March 31, according to a report by WWLP, a Massachusetts television station. The company had 600 on its payroll last year. That number was reduced to 375 with the latest layoffs.

PTR still has 41 employees working at its plant just outside Aynor.