Smith & Wesson have announced that they will be relocating their headquarters to Tennessee in the mid-2020s but will retain operations in Springfield, Massachusetts. The company, founded in the 1850s, has long made Massachusetts its home.
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The Springfield facility will keep some of its manufacturing operations including all forging, machining, metal finishing, and assembly of revolvers, with Smith & Wesson confirming that the company will continue to employ over 1,000 employees in Massachusetts. The new site in Maryville, Tennessee will house the company’s headquarters as well as manufacturing processes including plastic injection molding, pistol and long gun assembly, and product distribution.
This means that the company’s distribution operations in Columbia, Missouri will be moved to the new facility in Tennessee, and the Missouri facility will be marketed for sublease. At the same time, Smith & Wesson’s plastic injection molding facility in Deep River, Connecticut, which the company says “services both Smith & Wesson as well as a significant number of external customers, will be sold. The Smith & Wesson portion of the operations will be moved to the new facility in Maryville, Tennessee, however, the external customer business will remain in Connecticut and will be divested.” There is no impact expected to the company’s operations in Houlton, Maine which focuses on making handcuffs, restraints and pistol parts including slides.
Smith & Wesson are expecting to invest $120 million in the project with construction in Maryville beginning this year and completion scheduled by 2023. The company expects that more than 750 jobs will move from Massachusetts to Tennessee.
Here is Smith & Wesson’s announcement of the move in full:
Move includes headquarters and significant portion of operations due to changing business climate for firearms manufacturing in Massachusetts
SPRINGFIELD, Mass., September 30, 2021 – Smith & Wesson Brands, Inc. (NASDAQ Global Select: SWBI), one of the nation’s oldest firearms manufacturers, announced today that it is moving its headquarters and significant elements of its operations to Maryville, Tennessee in 2023. Smith & Wesson has been based in Springfield, Massachusetts since the company was incorporated in 1852.
Mark Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer, said “This has been an extremely difficult and emotional decision for us, but after an exhaustive and thorough analysis, for the continued health and strength of our iconic company, we feel that we have been left with no other alternative.” He specifically cited legislation recently proposed in Massachusetts that, if enacted, would prohibit the company from manufacturing certain firearms in the state. “These bills would prevent Smith & Wesson from manufacturing firearms that are legal in almost every state in America and that are safely used by tens of millions of law-abiding citizens every day exercising their Constitutional 2nd Amendment rights, protecting themselves and their families, and enjoying the shooting sports. While we are hopeful that this arbitrary and damaging legislation will be defeated in this session, these products made up over 60% of our revenue last year, and the unfortunate likelihood that such restrictions would be raised again led to a review of the best path forward for Smith & Wesson.”
Smith indicated that the company vetted a number of cities and states and, after careful consideration, made the decision to relocate 750 jobs and its headquarters to Maryville, Tennessee. The key factors in the decision included the following:
- Support for the 2nd Amendment
- Business friendly environment
- Quality of life for employees
- Cost of living and affordability
- Access to higher education institutions
- Availability of qualified labor for its operations and headquarter functions
- Favorable location for efficiency of distribution
Smith continued, “The strong support we have received from the State of Tennessee and the entire leadership of Blount County throughout this process, combined with the quality of life, outdoor lifestyle, and low cost of living in the Greater Knoxville area has left no doubt that Tennessee is the ideal location for Smith & Wesson’s new headquarters. We would like to specifically thank Governor Lee for his decisive contributions and the entire state legislature for their unwavering support of the 2nd Amendment and for creating a welcoming, business friendly environment.”
Smith & Wesson will also close facilities in Connecticut and Missouri as part of consolidating in Tennessee. This process will result in the company reducing the number of locations it maintains from four to three and will significantly streamline its manufacturing and distribution operations.
The company emphasized that the move will not begin until 2023 and will not have an impact on employees’ jobs until then. “Our loyal employees are the reason for our success and are always our number one priority. We are deeply saddened by the impact that this difficult decision will have on so many of our dedicated employees, but in order to preserve future jobs and for the viability of our business in the long term, we are left with no choice but to relocate these functions to a state that does not propose burdensome restrictions on our company.” Smith said. “We are making this announcement now to ensure that each employee has the time to make the decision that is right for them and their families. We are firmly committed to working on an individual level with each and every one of those who will be affected. We will assist any affected employee who is willing and able to move with financial and logistical relocation assistance. However, we also fully realize that this is simply not feasible for some. Therefore, for any affected employee who cannot move with us, we will offer enhanced severance and job placement services. We understand that this announcement will be very difficult for our employees, and we will do everything we can to assist them during this transition,” Smith said. All employees whose jobs are moved will be given these offers.