Report: Mustang Survival Wirt County Plant To Close

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Updated: 6/13/2013 10:00 A.M.

ELIZABETH, W.Va. (AP) - Mustang Survival says it will close its plant in Elizabeth and consolidate operations with its plant in Spencer.

The company says in a news release that workers at the Elizabeth plant will be offered an opportunity to transfer to the Spencer facility.

Mustang Survival president Jim Hartt says the consolidation supports the company's future business objectives.

" We have an excellent workforce over there, of men and women who do a good job and want to work there," said Wirt County Commission President Bob Gunnoe, reacting to the news. "It's sad they're going to be inconvienenced, either be out of a job or have to transfer."

Elizabeth Mayor Penny McVay tells the Parkersburg News and Sentinel that the plant is the only industry in the city and in Wirt County. She's concerned about the loss of tax revenue.

Mustang Survival designs and manufactures aerospace and marine safety and survival equipment.


Charles Murray, Wirt County Commissioner, said recently: " We need a DuPont."

Wirt County doesn't have a DuPont. But it does have Mustang Survival, a manufacturer of lifesaving equipment for users ranging from business and industry to the coast guard and the military. And it is the county's largest employer, of 100 people.

On Monday, it was announced it and a Mustang plant in Spencer are being acquired by a Florida-based company.

"It's pretty much the only jobs here in town," said resident Dan McCullough. "No one else is hiring. I hadn't heard much about it. It's news to everybody."

"(If it were to close)", John Taylor said, "there would be a lot of people losing their jobs."

Mustang's new parent company, the Safariland group, indicates that isn't about to happen. Even Mustang's president has been retained. The new owners themselves are in the business of providing protective products such as body armor to the military. Mustang allows it to expand its business to the marine and aviation industries.

"We were looking for ways to build out our business," Gray Hudkins, a representative for Safariland, said Wednesday. "We had known the Mustang folks for some time, and re-engaged with them, and we were able to complete this transaction. They have a very long history of more than 45 years of doing what they've been doing, and we've been doing the same at Safariland, and we're just thrilled to be with them."

Both companies' slogans refer to saving lives. The communities of Elizabeth and Spencer hope it applies to saving jobs as well.

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