Their products proudly proclaim, "Made in the USA," and beginning next year, some of those products will be made in Hillsboro.
Atlas 46, a Fenton, MO, company with roots that date back to 1974, signed a letter of intent to locate a facility in Hillsboro on Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 5, at city hall.
"We think this is the right community to grow with," Atlas 46 CEO Brian Carver said just before his father, company founder John Carver, signed the letter of intent along with Hillsboro Mayor Brian Sullivan. "My father and grandmother started sewing years ago in the basement."
The founding Carver, now age 72, and his mother, Lorene Pyles, began operations in the basement of her St. Louis home in 1974 where they produced nylon gear for motorcycle racing, including assorted bags, fanny packs, motocross pants, and a variety of other packs, according to the Atlas 46 website.
In 1977, the company redirected its product focus to fill a noticeable void in the availability of quality tactical nylon products for military and law enforcement.
The company will be looking for five experienced sewers in mid-January with the goal of beginning production at 311 Berry Street in Hillsboro in mid-February. They are willing to train the right applicants, and veterans are encouraged to apply. The number of jobs could soon grow to 12, and long-term, perhaps a 100. The first jobs will be sewing and manufacturing, but the company will also add design, marketing and customer service jobs and plans to work with local colleges to train professionals.
Atlas 46 products meet required "made in the USA" guidelines for military applications, but the company follows military specs for construction and quality throughout their product line, including bags, clothing, chest rigs and vests, tool belts, suspenders, high-visibility wear, and magnetic wear. Atlas 46 products sell around the globe, the CEO said, largely because people "want quality U.S.-made products."
Presently with over 100 employees at their Fenton, MO, location, CEO Carver said the company has been growing at a rate of 120 percent a year, and instead of adding to the facility there, chose to come to Hillsboro.
"Without Bob (Buda) in this community, we would not be coming here," Carver said of the founder of the Montgomery County Growth Initiative.
"Our relationship goes back quite a distance," U.S. Marines Vietnam Veteran Buda said of founder Carver. He also expressed gratitude at "how well Hillsboro, Litchfield and the county worked together" to bring Atlas 46 to the community.
CEO Carver said his father remains active in company innovation and development.
"We see huge potential for this company and this community," the company's founder said. "It's going to be a lot of fun."