Smith & Wesson announced today it would be moving its headquarters and "significant elements of its operations" to Maryville, Tenn. in 2023. The company has been based in Springfield, Mass., since 1852, but Mark Smith, Smith & Wesson's president and chief executive officer, attributed the move to the increasingly hostile business climate in the company's current location, as well as proposed legislation that would prevent the company from producing certain firearms in Massachusetts.
“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," Smith said. “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 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.”
Smith & Wesson examined a number of cities and states, and after considering all the variables, settled on relocating 750 jobs to Maryville. The company noted several key factors it considered when making the decision, including support for the 2nd Amendment, business-friendliness, quality of life, cost of living, higher-education access, availability of qualified labor and how friendly the location was for distribution efficiency.
“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 2nd Amendment and for creating a welcoming, business friendly environment.”
As part of the company's move to Tennessee, Smith & Wesson will close facilities in Connecticut and Missouri, consolidating operations in those locations to the Maryville, Tenn., location. This reduces the total number of Smith & Wesson facilities to three, which will streamline manufacturing and distribution. The Springfield, Mass., facility will be reconfigured, but it will remain operational. Several manufacturing operations, including forging, machining and metal finishing and revolver assembly, will remain in Springfield, Mass. Smith & Wesson will continue to employ more than 1,000 employees in its Springfield location.
Construction is expected to begin on the Maryville, Tenn., manufacturing facility in the fourth quarter of 2021 and will cost $120 million. Once completed, the plant will include Smith & Wesson's headquarters, plastic-injection molding, pistol and long gun assembly and distribution. Smith & Wesson will sell its plastic-injection molding facility in Deep River, Conn., and move operations to Maryville. The company's distribution operations in Columbia, Mo., will be moved to Maryville. The relocation will have no impact on Smith & Wesson's operations in Houlton, Maine.