It seems that the Sharps Rifle Company has filed for bankruptcy. According to documents filed with the Wyoming District U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Sharps filed for bankruptcy on December 31st of 2019. The Sharps bankruptcy filings show that Sharps has been struggling for quite a while now. Back in 2017, the rifle company brought in just over $1 million in gross revenue. In 2019 Sharps only brought in $578,000.
The documents filed with the Bankruptcy court reveal that the Sharps rifle company owes more than $4 million spread between nine different creditors. Some of the debts are as little as $2,000 but some climb as high as $2 million for items such as advertising, equipment, and liquid capital.
A sizeable portion of this debt ($835,986) is from a judgment brought against Sharps that are owed to a former owner of Sharps for fraud and intellectual property violations. A sizeable debt indeed. The attorney representing Sharps, Clark Stith, has stated that since this is Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the Sharps Rifle company will be able to conduct business as usual while going through the court proceedings.
Sharps currently employees only one person, pointing to further evidence that the company has been struggling for some time. In 2008, the then-named A-Square constructed a new facility with the understanding by the Wyoming Business Council that this investment would create economic stability in an already gun-friendly town (Glenrock). However, by 2012, A-Square was defunct and the business was taken over and renamed to Sharps by its new owners.
Even with the new owners, the company couldn’t seem to get out any orders to customers. There were at least 140 complaints filed against Sharps Rifle company according to an attorney general’s investigation with a total of $143,000 of refunds on the line. With blood in the water, Jay Johnston, the current owner of Sharps, absorbed Sharps into his own company, Broadsword Group in 2013.
Even more confusing is that Broadsword is one of the 19 companies listed as a debtor but the amount owed is not listed. Broadsword has taken ownership of several other firearms manufacturers but continues to claim Glenrock as its headquarters. As of writing, the contact phone number and toll-free phone number listed on the broadsword website seem to be disconnected and records show that the Broadsword group has been dissolved since 2017.
While it is sad to see firearms manufacturers fall, one has to wonder what exact circumstances led to this outcome and whether or not it could have been avoided with savvier business tactics and perhaps some better decision making. Let us know what you think down in the comments.