The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

Local News

December 29, 2013

Missed it by that much

Greenville was in the hunt for a firearms plant

GREENVILLE — It has been a pretty big year for economic development in Greenville.

But Greenville almost pulled the trigger on another high caliber industry, before the company decided to aim at targets in other states instead.

“Greenville was in the hunt,” said Board of Development President/CEO Greg Sims of how close the city came to landing a new manufacturing plant for Beretta firearms.

After a nationwide search, Greenville was one of three finalist cities for the facility in Texas, before representatives with Beretta chose last month to eliminate all locations in the Lone Star State from consideration.

City officials gave it their best shot.

Earlier this year, Beretta was looking to build a new, 50,000 square foot office and production facility which would initially employ 30 to 50 people. The structure would include specialized manufacturing and possibly a custom wood working shop to make shotgun stocks, starting in 2014.

The project might eventually expand to manufacturing, warehouse/distribution, marketing and engineering, with a payroll of up to 600 employees across some 400,000 square feet of building space.

Beretta contacted economic development officials in seven “firearms friendly” states, under the code name “Project Clover.” The contacts included the Office of Governor Rick Perry, who in turn reached out to economic development professionals in the state, including Sims.

“We got the notice from the Governor’s office on July 1,” Sims said. However, there was no indication of exactly what “Project Clover” was. “We didn’t know who it was at first.”

Beretta was only interested in locating in 13 Texas counties; which included Hunt, Rockwall, Collin, Kaufman, Dallas and Tarrant counties.

Among the criteria, the company was seeking availability of up to 100 acres of land, preferably with a freestanding, somewhat isolated building of approximately 50,000 square feet.

The site must be zoned for industrial use, away from neighboring schools and residential developments and the building must have the ability to allow weapons firing.

 The location must also have air service allowing direct flights to Baltimore/Washington D.C., New York, Las Vegas, and Dallas and non-stop access to a hub airport with flights to Milan, London, Frankfurt and Helsinki.

Other considerations included significant amounts of available electricity, natural gas, water/wastewater and more.

Sims said Greenville’s proposal covered all the bases.

“We made a great showing to them,” Sims said of the city’s proposal, which was submitted on July 8, one week after local officials were contacted.

On Sept. 17, the Governor’s office again contacted the City of Greenville, indicating the city was chosen for a site visit by “Project Clover” representatives.

On Sept. 25, Sims, Board of Development Chairman Larry Green Jr. and incoming Chairman Warren Weeks, County Judge John Horn, Mayor Steve Reid, City Manager Massoud Ebrahim, Greenville ISD Superintendent Don Jefferies, GEUS Assistant General Manager Gary Singleton and more hosted a reception at the Audie Murphy/American Cotton Museum for “Project Clover,” which is when they all learned the company in question was Beretta.

Beretta President Jeff Reh was one of the officials making the visit.

“We had a couple of our buildings on display over there,” Sims said. “Their visit went very well.”

Beretta officials offered specifics at that time as to the raw materials, training and other requirements the company would be seeking if it chose to come to Greenville.

“They were impressed by what we had,” Sims said.

The company was so impressed that two days after the visit, on Sept. 27, Greenville was one of three cities in Texas which made the “short list” from the company, along with McKinney and Fort Worth.

But on Nov. 18, the Governor’s office notified Sims’ office that all of the sites in Texas had been eliminated from the company’s search. Sims said it was believed that South Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky were still in the running.

As of last week, Beretta had not announced a final choice for the facility, but South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley posted on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram on Thursday a picture of the Beretta PX4 Storm she got as a present from her husband.

Sims said it was unfortunate that Greenville did not get the plant, but it was encouraging to have come so close and to know that so many of the city’s top officials can be mobilized so quickly.

“It was really good for us,” Sims said. “If Texas had a shot at this, we had a real serious shot.”

Text Only
Local News
  • Unemployment March 2014.jpg Jobless numbers take big dip

    Hundreds of people found jobs locally last month, as Hunt County’s unemployment statistics fell to a six-year low.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • GCS flying high

    Greenville Christian School teachers found an entertaining way to learn about physics.

    April 19, 2014

  • Easter Bunny stock photo.jpg Following one busy Easter Bunny

    Easter egg hunts are scheduled in several locations across the area today and Sunday.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Three GISD teams advance to Global Finals

    After winning honors for creativity, teamwork and problem-solving in local, state and regional tournaments, three Greenville ISD teams have earned the right to travel to Destination Imagination’s Global Finals, the largest creative thinking and problem-solving competition in the world, May 21-24 in Knoxville, Tenn.

    April 18, 2014

  • Vaderrobot.jpg Dallas champions, Robowranglers look forward

    Practicing with the best hones skills and keeps members of Greenville High School Robowranglers on point, according to Director of Robotics Adrienne Emerson.
    The Robowranglers are preparing their robot “Vader” for the FIRST World Championships in St. Louis on April 23-26.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Texas drougnt as of 4-17-2014.jpg Wet Easter Sunday possible

    It may be a wet Easter holiday in North Texas, as thunderstorms are again in the forecast for the weekend.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sheriff's Office Wanted fugitive captured in Ellis County

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Band1.jpg Roaring with pride

    The Greenville High School Lion Pride Band performs well under pressure, according to GHS band director Joel Weisburg

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Royce Tawater.jpg Shooting suspect changes mind on guilty pleas

    On second thought, a local man will leave it up to a jury to decide whether he is guilty of multiple charges in connection with two shootings in Greenville last summer.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Easter Eggstravaganza stork photo.jpg A hunting we will go

    There will be lots of brightly colored eggs hidden in the grasses across Hunt County this weekend, and plenty of opportunities for children to find them.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads

See more photos and purchase prints here.


What's your favorite spring high school sport?

Swimming and diving
Track and Field
     View Results
AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Must Read
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Reader's Choice