Smith & Wesson to Relocate Headquarters to Tennessee
SPRINGFIELD — Smith & Wesson Brands Inc., one of the nation’s oldest firearms manufacturers, announced today that it is moving its headquarters and significant elements of its operations to Maryville, Tenn. in 2023. Smith & Wesson has been based in Springfield since the company was incorporated in 1852.
“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,” said Mark Smith, president and CEO.
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 Second 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, Tenn. The key factors in the decision included support for the Second Amendment, a 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 headquarters functions, and a favorable location for efficiency of distribution.
“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,” Smith said. “We would like to specifically thank Governor Lee for his decisive contributions and the entire state legislature for their unwavering support of the Second 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,” Smith said. “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.
“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,” he went on. “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.”
Some key points from today’s statement:
• The facility in Springfield will be reconfigured but will remain operational.
• Smith & Wesson will keep some of its manufacturing operations in Springfield, including all forging, machining, metal finishing, and assembly of revolvers, and will continue to have over 1,000 employees in the state.
• The new facility in Maryville, Tenn. will comprise the company’s headquarters, plastic injection molding, pistol and long-gun assembly, and distribution.
• Total investment in the project is estimated at $120 million, will be funded from cash on hand, and is expected to be accretive to EPS by $0.10 to $0.12 per year once fully operational.
• Construction in Maryville is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2021 and be substantially complete by the summer of 2023.
• About 750 jobs will move from Springfield; Deep River, Conn.; and Columbia, Mo. to Maryville.
• The company’s plastic injection molding facility in Deep River, which 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; however, the external customer business will remain in Connecticut and will be divested.
• The company’s distribution operations in Columbia will be moved to the new facility in Maryville, and the Columbia facility will be marketed for sublease.
• The relocation will have no impact on the company’s operations in Houlton, Maine.