POCOMOKE CITY – Hardwire, the armor company based in southern Worcester County, has expanded to include a third building in Pocomoke City.
The company has entered into a lease with an option to buy the Pocomoke Flex Building on Broad Street. George Tunis, CEO of Hardwire, says the additional 42,000-square-foot building will enable the company to grow.
“We’re continuing to diversify and make Americans safer wherever they are,” Tunis said, “whether they’re in the military or just driving across a bridge.”
Tunis said the lease of the new space was meant to provide Hardwire with the opportunity to increase its operations. Since being founded in 2000, the company has grown to include 34 employees. Though Hardwire began with its namesake product, a high tensile strength steel composite used to reinforce bridges and buildings, its product line has grown to include armor protection for vehicles as well as bulletproof whiteboards, among numerous other things. Tunis said the new building would give the company space to focus on new market areas.
“As the company diversifies, we’re continuing to expand our footprint and technology base,” he said.
Tunis said the Pocomoke Flex Building was ideal for Hardwire because it was on a large site and could accommodate additional buildings in the future. It also allowed the company to expand within Pocomoke.
“Pocomoke is definitely our home base,” Tunis said.
In order to lease the building, Hardwire worked with state officials, as it was Maryland’s Department of Business and Economic Development that constructed the Pocomoke Flex Building and the Maryland Economic Development Corporation that owns it. Bill Badger, Worcester County’s director of economic development, said Hardwire had been using a portion of the building already.
“This allows them to expand as they need the space,” he said of the lease.
Badger said he was thrilled to see the already successful business become even larger.
“It’s a great thing,” he said.
Tunis said he wasn’t yet sure how many additional people he would hire in conjunction with the expansion but that he had added six people to his staff already.
“It’ll be tens of employees if not more,” he said.
Tunis said leasing the space was just the first step.
“The building is the first Lego block,” he said. “The real investment comes when we add the tools and equipment.”
Tunis said he was encouraged to move forward with the expansion by Maryland’s current administration. He said Gov. Larry Hogan and Mike Gill, the state’s secretary of business and economic development, had given him the confidence he needed to go ahead with the expansion.
“There are two things that make a good business deal,” Tunis said. “Crystal clear communication and trust. Both of those elements were there with this administration.”
In a news release from the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, Gill said Hardwire’s products had addressed some of the country’s key safety and security issues during the past 15 years.
“Gov. Hogan and I are very pleased that the company has opted to expand its operations on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and help grow the state’s burgeoning high-tech defense and aerospace industries,” Gill said.