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Remington Arms moving headquarters from Ilion to Georgia

NOVEMBER 08, 2021

Remington Arms moving headquarters from Ilion to Georgia


Gun maker Remington Firearms will move its headquarters from Ilion in the Mohawk Valley to Georgia, with plans to open a factory and research operation there.

The company and Georgia officials announced Monday that the nation's oldest gun manufacturer that started in Herkimer County in 1816 would invest $100 million in the operation in LaGrange, Georgia, southwest of Atlanta, hiring 856 people over five years.

It was not immediately clear what effect the transfer would have on Remington's operations in New York and Tennessee.

Herkimer County Administrator James Wallace said his understanding is that the announcement will not impact the RemArms Ilion plant.

"They're up to 350 workers now and they're looking to add more employees," he said, adding that it appears that the Huntsville operation, research and development and corporate headquarters will be consolidated at the new Georgia facility.

"We're very hopeful that they'll stay and continue to grow here," said Wallace.

"They're telling us this is not going to impact employment in Ilion," said Phil Smith, a spokesperson for the United Mine Workers of America, adding that the union will see what happens and is currently taking the company at its word.

Smith said it would be in the company's best interest to keep the 216 skilled workers in Ilion on the payroll. He further stated the union and Remington have been working on a new contract through collective bargaining, which Smith said is currently ongoing.

"We're going to have to see where this goes," he said.

Local officials had no advance warning of the announcement from Georgia and have had no direct word from RemArms company officials, according to Herkimer County Legislature Chairman Vincent J. Bono, who also chairs the Herkimer County Industrial Development Agency (IDA).

"The county, through the IDA, has reached out to the company several times over the past few months and all our call went unanswered."

Right now, he and other county officials would like to hear directly from the company officials about what will be happening to the Ilion plant and its workforce.

Having RemArms move out of Ilion is "definitely not something we want to see," he said. "Our concerns are for the workers and their families."

It would also have a wider impact, he said. "It's no good for Ilion or Herkimer County or for the region."

"I still think we offer a fantastic workforce here," said Herkimer County IDA Executive Director John Piseck.

"I know they're not happy with New York State regulations, but it doesn't affect manufacturing. Everybody makes business decisions."

He noted that there were once over 1,000 people employed at Remington Arms.

Piseck said there has been plenty of growth in Herkimer County recently. "We're happy to help anyone who wants to come here and grow."

Its workforce at its sprawling plant in Ilion has increasingly become more sparse in recent years, a mix of layoffs, lengthy furloughs and displeasure with New York's gun-control measures.

"We are very excited to come to Georgia, a state that not only welcomes business but enthusiastically supports and welcomes companies in the firearms industry," said Ken D’Arcy, RemArms CEO, said in a statement through Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp's office.

The company owns the parts of the former Remington Outdoor Co., which makes rifles, shotguns and some handguns after the former parent auctioned its assets in pieces last year during a bankruptcy proceeding in Alabama.

Investors doing business as the Roundhill Group purchased the Remington-branded gun-making business, including operations in Ilion, New York, and Lenoir City, Tennessee for $13 million.

Remington began making flintlock rifles in 1816.

It swelled into a firearms conglomerate, but faced slumping sales, complaints about quality, and legal pressure over the Sandy Hook school massacre. The current company no longer makes the Bushmaster AR-15 rifles used to kill 20 first-graders and six educators in the Sandy Hook shooting in Connecticut in 2012.

Gun makers have been leaving their traditional homes in the northeast as people there become more hostile to guns and moving to more politically welcoming settings in the South and West.

Kemp famously pointed a shotgun at another person in a campaign commercial when the Republican was seeking his current office in 2018.

“Georgia’s firearms industry is responsible for thousands of jobs and millions of dollars of investment in our communities,” Kemp said in a statement. “I am a proud owner of some of Remington’s first-class product, and now, I am excited to welcome them to their new home in the Peach State."

Scott Malone, the economic development director for the city of LaGrange, said Remington has already secured at least one building in the city, and will operate from a combination of new and renovated facilities. He said local governments would offer property tax abatements, plus utility and infrastructure improvements.

The new owners recently restarted operations there, calling back more than 200 workers who had been laid off. The local government in New York offered 10 years of tax breaks in exchange for the restart and upgrades.




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