The inside of the former Kmart building is bustling these days.

PMG Manufacturing has been racing to kick off production of its signature product, the Nugsmasher, since the Lake Havasu City Council voted to approve the rezoning request to allow for light manufacturing inside the 100,000-plus square foot former Kmart facility on Aug. 25. CEO Ryan Busnardo said he is still working on getting an occupancy permit from the city which would allow production to start, but has been working on setting up his machines and preparing to hire the employees needed to run the plant simultaneously.

Eventually PMG will be producing a product called the Nugsmasher, which is primarily used to extract THC resin from marijuana plants although it can be used for multiple other purposes.

Busnardo said several machines arrived in Havasu on Aug. 26 but it takes about 90 days to assemble, calibrate and program them before they can start mass producing the pieces for their products.

He said the goal is to get everything ready and obtain the final permit from the city by Oct. 20.

“For the most part, I can be producing some parts with those machines right now, and I really need it,” Busnardo said, gesturing to about half a dozen high-tech machines already installed and being calibrated and programmed. “With these machines here, I can build product – at least a couple of our highest-volume lines.”

Once the machines are up and running, the facility will also need a lot more workers.

According to the documents the company shared with the Arizona Commerce Authority while applying for the Quality Jobs Tax Credit, PMG Manufacturing plans to have a total of 85 employees by the end of 2020. He said most of those positions will need to be filled when the facility starts production.

Isabella Busnardo, head of human resources, said that as of Monday the company has already received 184 applications from people looking to work in the Havasu facility. Ryan Busnardo said PMG hasn’t really advertised the openings yet, but people started contacting the company about jobs almost as soon as they announced their plans to seek a rezoning of the property back in June.

Busnardo said about seven of the 85 jobs planned for 2020 are filled by people coming from the company’s current plant in Corona, California – including himself – to help get the new facility up and running, He has also already hired about 12 locals who have been working for the last month and a half.

“I’ve heard from so many people in this town that the problem is people just don’t want to work, and I have found the exact opposite,” Busnardo said. “I have found nothing but great people… Even the kids who have no experience doing anything, there is a different level of individuals in this valley that is not a norm. Most of the people in this valley just want a job – they just want to go to work.”

Christian Harmon and Derek Modrell are two of the locals working as general laborers as they help prepare the building for its new purpose. Modrell said he previously worked on boats with his family’s business, and Harmon said he has worked at Big O’Tires and several other places in Havasu.

“I’ll tell you what, this industry here is a lot different than anything that we have in Havasu,” Harmon said. “It is bringing something completely different… I’ve learned a whole bunch of things. Anywhere from framing and dry walling a room, to hard wiring some security cameras and installing those, to running and programming a robot and using high-tech software. It’s pretty cool over the course of a month and a half.”

Busnardo said he plans on promoting Harmon to a machine operator/programmer.

“He is the only guy that really knows how to program this robot right now and has been trained on the robot,” Harmon said. “So he is making himself invaluable to the company.”

Over the next few weeks, PMG Manufacturing plans to make a lot more hires. All of their available jobs and descriptions can be found at and people can also complete their online application on the website.

On Tuesday there were a total of 15 positions up on the website from custodian, senior videographer/editor, social media monitor, office assistant, assembly line technician and more. Busnardo said the lowest starting wage is $16 an hour. The job postings range in pay from $33,024 average base salary for a prep technician to $90,000 a year for a full stack developer.

Busnardo said the company has already been approved by the Arizona Commerce Authority for the Quality Jobs Tax Credit. That tax credit is based upon the company’s capital investment in the community, the number of jobs produced, and how much above the county median wage those jobs pay.

Busnardo said new job openings are also being posted frequently.

While the production processes are being set up, Busnardo said PMG Manufacturing is also making plans to spruce up the outside of the building, along with the rest of the shopping plaza.

Busnardo said he is planning to remove the red stripe at the top of the building left from Kmart and paint the exterior of the building a lighter shade to match the Lake Havasu Library across the plaza. He said the rest of the buildings will also be repainted to match.

Additionally, the company has been working with the shopping center’s owners Rich Heine and David Long, as well as the Partnership for Economic Development, on rebranding the plaza from Havasu-Mart Shopping Center to The Cove. He said his company is planning to finance the improvements along with the plaza’s owners, which will also include new signage for the plaza and a re-thinking of where those signs are placed.

Busnardo said his lease agreement includes an option to purchase the shopping plaza, and he said his current plans are to move on that in about 12 to 18 months. Eventually he hopes to put in a new restaurant in the western portion of the plaza between the library and McCulloch Boulevard to help bring in traffic to the rest of the businesses in the plaza. He said has already spoken with the owners of a couple restaurants who have shown interest.

Although Busnardo hopes to start production by the end of the month, he said the facility will continue to ramp up its production capabilities with new machines over the next few years, with the bulk of the machinery coming in the next eight months.

Due to the preparation required to get each machine running properly, Busnardo said they will be taking a phased approach to ramping up production.

“If I put 10 of those in right now, I couldn’t get the last one running for about 30 months,” Busnardo said. “So we are getting one running, get all the bugs out, and get another one in.”

Busnardo said the Havasu facility will start by producing Nugsmasher Mini and the Nugsmasher, the two highest volume sellers. As more machines are added they will be able to produce a wider range of their products as well as ramping up production capacity.

He said every time a new machine is installed, that will trigger a new round of hiring.

Currently PMG is planning to hire an additional 68 workers in 2021, 41 in 2022, 59 in 2023 and another 10 in 2024 which would put the Havasu location at 263 employees.

In addition to production, PMG plans to move its company headquarters to Lake Havasu City. Busnardo said he will start turning his attention towards preparing office space for the headquarters once the first round of machines are up and running, and the exterior of the building and the plaza have been touched up.

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