Tactical Walls holds ribbon cutting, tours

Page News and Courier

SHENANDOAH, May 16 ― State, county and community leaders gathered Monday to celebrate the arrival of new industry and the revival of a plant facility that remained vacant for nearly four years.

“We are really, really proud that you're here,” Shenandoah Mayor Clinton Lucas told the founders of Tactical Walls during Monday's ribbon-cutting ceremony. “We hope that this will be the place for your home for many, many years to come.”

A crowd of about 50 gathered at the entrance of the nearly 60,000-square-foot facility off of Route 340 in Shenandoah to celebrate the firearm concealment manufacturer, including town and county officials, members of the Shenandoah Town Council and the Page County Board of Supervisors and Del. Todd Gilbert (R-Woodstock) and Sen. Mark Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg).

“Page County is clearly open for business,” said Obenshain.

Since taking office about 12 years ago, continued the senator, he has at times “grieved” the economic challenges in Page County.

“To see good jobs moving into Page County is truly inspiring,” Obenshain said, adding that he hopes other businesses follow. “Few things get me more excited than to see the American Dream still alive.”

Gilbert called Tactical Walls “a good fit for this area,” in reference to the “self-reliance” of the family-owned and operated business.

After launching in 2012, Tactical Walls has grown to include 26 employees, with 28 new jobs projected to be created in the next year.

The business was born by founder Tim Matter as a solution to limited storage space. The father and U.S. Air Force veteran wanted to discretely store his firearms while maintaining quick access to them.

“I wanted to keep them out of the wrong hands, but when need be, put them in the right hands,” said Matter.

He built his first prototype using materials he had at his disposal, he continued, then grew the business on a “shoe-string budget” with his wife, Carrie, and other family members. The product line now features concealment covers, shelves and décor, including clocks and mirrors.

The company put down roots in Elkton's ShenElk Plaza in 2013, expanding twice at that location before announcing in February that it was headed to the former Genie Plant facility in Shenandoah.

Tactical Walls purchased the 12-acre site on Williams Avenue for $545,000 from Precision Specialities and Shenandoah Speedway owner Jeff Vaughan.

The nearly 50-year-old Genie Co. closed its doors at the garage-door manufacturing plant in May 2012, citing increased competition and an economic downturn.

“We've got some big plans for the building,” Matter said, adding that the company hopes to eventually utilize all of the 58,000-square-foot facility as it continues to expand.
With plans to double its workforce in the next year, Tactical Walls is making a $1 million investment in the community, said Page County's Economic Development and Tourism Director Stephanie Lillard, in terms of the costs of acquisition, build-out, equipment and business personal property.
That investment is thanks in part to the area's grant-back incentive program, after it was selected as one of five new Enterprise Zones in December 2014.

Through the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development program, localities are able to offer grant-backs of a portion of the increased tax revenue that a county and/or a town receives when businesses and industries make investments in the community.

“It's evident that we are all very excited and understand the need for our county to have businesses like this,” said Lillard, adding that she showed the facility on several occasions to prospective buyers. “To see it now, fully revitalized and being used, producing products proudly made in our country … it is with great joy that I'm a part of this.”

Following Monday's ceremony, Tactical Walls opened its doors to give several rounds of tours of the plant, as workers crafted concealment products that are distributed by 80 dealers nationwide, said the company's CFO Thomas Heffernan.

As state, county, town and company officials gathered for a ceremonial ribbon cutting, Matter handed over the scissors to who he credited as his partner and supporter — his wife, Carrie. Since the creation of Tactical Walls four years ago, Matter said, every success has been achieved thanks to the support of “good people.”
“I see this step moving to Shenandoah [as] just adding more good people.”

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