BEATTYVILLE, Ky. LION First Responder PPE Inc., a manufacturer of firefighter garments and other first responder equipment and apparel, will reopen its Lee County facility after 11 years, a project that will create 75 full-time jobs in Eastern Kentucky with an $850,000 investment.
LION plans to reopen at 1080 Center Street off Fairgrounds Ridge Road in Beattyville, the same 50,000-square-foot facility where the company manufactured firefighter protective garment outer shells for 30 years until its closure in 2010. The new operation will produce thermal liners, the innermost layer of firefighter protective garments. The company’s investment will accommodate facility renovations and new sewing and seam sealing equipment.
Through the project, LION also will establish an apprenticeship program with the Lee County Area Technology Center. Company leaders anticipate the facility will begin operation by October.
The Beattyville location joins LION’s existing manufacturing location in West Liberty and a distribution and manufacturing facility in Hazel Green. The company currently employs 407 people in Kentucky.
LION is a family-owned company founded in 1898 and headquartered in Dayton, Ohio. The company manufactures a wide range of first responder apparel and equipment, including fire service garments and public safety personal protective equipment (PPE). LION’s services include PPE cleaning, inspection and repair. The company also produces structures and equipment used in fire safety training. LION currently employs 940 people companywide with additional manufacturing operations in Ohio, Wisconsin, New York and Toronto.
LION’s investment and planned job creation furthers recent economic momentum in the commonwealth, as the state builds back stronger following the effects of the pandemic.
To encourage investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) on Thursday preliminarily approved a 15-year incentive agreement with the company under the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based agreement can provide up to $850,000 in tax incentives based on the company’s investment of $850,000 and annual targets of:
- Creation and maintenance of 75 Kentucky-resident, full-time jobs across 15 years; and
- Paying an average hourly wage of $19.60 including benefits across those jobs.
By meeting its annual targets over the agreement term, the company can be eligible to keep a portion of the new tax revenue it generates. The company may claim eligible incentives against its income tax liability and/or wage assessments.
In addition, LION can receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network. Through the Kentucky Skills Network, companies can receive no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job training incentives.
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