Smith & Wesson announced today that it is moving its headquarters and a significant portion of its operations to Maryville, Tenn., in 2023. The company has been based in Springfield, Mass., since it 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, Smith & Wesson President and Chief Executive Officer. 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,” said Smith. “While we are hopeful that this arbitrary and damaging legislation will be defeated in this session, these products made up over 60 percent 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.”
The company vetted several cities and states before making the decision to relocate 750 jobs and its headquarters to Maryville, Tenn. In addition to support for the Second Amendment and a business-friendly environment, key factors in the decision included 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 and a more 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,” said Smith. “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 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.”
The facility in Springfield, Mass. will be reconfigured, but will remain operational after the move. More than 1,000 employees will continue all forging, machining, metal finishing and assembly of revolvers in the state.
The company’s plastic injection molding facility in Deep River, Conn., which services products for Smith & Wesson and a significant number of external customers, will move company operations to the new Maryville, Tenn., location, while external customer business will be divested. Smith & Wesson’s distribution center in Columbia, Mo., will be relocated to Tennessee. There is no impact on the company’s operations at the Houlton, Maine location.
Construction in Tennessee is expected to begin later this year, and total investment in the project is estimated at $120 million. The new facility will comprise of Smith & Wesson’s headquarters, plastic injection molding, pistol and long gun assembly, and distribution.