By Catharin Shepard
A locally-owned business in Raeford is growing with a new acquisition, new contracts and new products, all while supporting the community.
A well-known name to parachutists the world over, Sun Path Products builds custom harness/container systems for skydiving. The company is international: Sun Path’s products made right here in Raeford are used by civilian and military skydivers in the United States, and around the world in allied countries.
The company was founded more than 30 years ago by president Pat Thomas. Sun Path settled its operations in Raeford because of the great relationship with the city.
“We rented here, and we loved the city so much, the city was so great to work for, the city managers and all the people…we were looking to buy someplace else, but we decided to stay in the city because Raeford was so good to us,” Kurt Posey of Sun Path Products said.
Today Sun Path is a military supplier for Special Forces groups, and its parachute rigs have the most live-active military missions out of any rig on the market.
It’s something they’re very proud of, Posey said. That side of the business is currently expanding with new contracts.
“Our military side of things is really expanding nicely. We just got big contracts with the Navy SEALS, which we’re very happy about,” Posey said.
Some of the products Sun Path offers include a basic military rig, and a water version. There’s also a special rig that the Canadian armed forces use to conduct search and rescue missions. The company also supplies rigs for the Australian military, Posey said.
Additionally, Sun Path is the number one sport harness container manufacturer. The company makes products used by both civilian and military sport parachutists.
“For all the different disciplines, we have a rig for them,” Posey said.
The company recently expanded when it acquired Rigging Innovations. The previous owner of Rigging Innovations, Sandy Reid, didn’t have any children to leave the business to and is in his 70s. Reid trusted Sun Path and Thomas to continue his legacy, Posey said.
“We’re going to uphold that and carry on his contributing to the skydiving industry,” he said.
Sun Path plans to build some of the Rigging Innovations product lines at its manufacturing headquarters in Raeford. Sun Path Products is a larger company with a bigger manufacturing capability, and their offices in Raeford have sufficient room to house the expansion, Posey said.
“We are looking at expanding but we have room to expand inside of Sun Path,” he said. The building is actually large enough that the company rents some of the space to help out others, including the Hoke County Board of Education.
The company also planned to add new employees in 2020.
Sun Path Products is active in giving back to the Hoke County community, as well as the military and parachuting communities. In 2018, Thomas was honored with a lifetime achievement award for her dedication and contributions to parachuting.
“She’s just involved in every aspect of our sport,” Posey said.
Posey himself is vice president of the Downtown Raeford Business Association (DRBA), and has received the Raeford Kiwanis Club Citizen of the Year award for his support for the community. The company even allowed local emergency management operations to use the property’s parking lot space to host an emergency preparedness drill.
Giving back is one of Thomas’s big beliefs that the company follows, Posey said.
“We always make sure we give back in any way, to support our military, local law enforcement, fire and rescue, we try to support all our local branches as much as we can,” he said.
“We’re going to continue growing. We’ve got some bright new products coming out that we’re excited about. I know we don’t sell local so people don’t know a lot about us, but we’re always going to be heavily in our community and try to give back all we can.”
For more information on Sun Path Products, visit https://www.sunpath.com.
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