The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development (DBED joined with the Queen Anne’s County Board of Commissioners to announce the approval of $300,000 in conditional grants to help fund an expansion of Paul Reed Smith Guitars (PRS) in Stevensville. The State, through DBED, approved a $100,000 conditional grant and the County approved a $200,000 conditional grant to assist the legendary guitar manufacturer introduce a new line of acoustic guitars. As a result of the expansion, the company expects to add 20 new full-time employees over the next three years. PRS Guitars, the largest full-time private employer in the county, also agrees to stay in the county for the next 10 years.
“Growing from a small operation more than 30 years ago to now one of the top electric guitar makers in the world, PRS is certainly one of the rock stars of Maryland’s business community,” said DBED Secretary Mike Gill. “We are pleased to continue to play a role in the company’s growth and success.”
“We are ecstatic that PRS continues to invest and expand its headquarters and manufacturing operations in Queen Anne’s County. The economic impact and name recognition they bring to our community is tremendous. PRS is a great example of how the County’s workforce, location and business climate support high caliber international companies.” said Queen Anne’s County Commissioner Paul Comfort.
“We are very excited that the State and County have approved the grants that will enable PRS to begin the expansion of our acoustic production,” said PRS President Jack Higginbotham.
Paul Reed Smith began manufacturing electric guitars in his parents’ Bowie home in 1975. He then formed a small team of craftsmen and moved the operation to Annapolis, where PRS gained fame in the 1980s when guitarist Carlos Santana and other nationally known musicians began to use and promote PRS guitars. In the mid-1990s, PRS moved to its current location in Stevensville, growing to the third largest electric guitar manufacturer in the United States. In 2001, PRS sought to expand its customer base by beginning overseas production of a less expensive line of guitars geared toward younger players and first-time guitar owners. In 2009, PRS expanded production to include a line of acoustic guitars and guitar amplifiers. With products sold in more than 80 countries worldwide, PRS is now celebrating its 30th year of success.
Through a $1.5 million loan and tax exempt bond issuance, DBED assisted the company with a significant expansion that began in 2006, when an 89,000 square-foot addition was made to the Stevensville facility to create a much larger state-of-the-art factory floor. This expansion allowed PRS to introduce their S2 Series of guitars in 2013. Standing for “Stevensville 2,” the S2 Series offers Maryland-made guitars at a new pricepoint for the company of around $1,200 - $1,400 per guitar.
The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development stimulates private investment and creates jobs by attracting new businesses, encouraging the expansion and retention of existing companies, and providing workforce training and financial assistance to Maryland companies. The Department promotes the State's many economic advantages and markets local products and services at home and abroad to spur economic development and international investment, trade and tourism. Because they are major economic generators, the Department also supports the Arts, film production, sports and other special events. For more information, visit www.choosemaryland.org.