Officials with Smith & Wesson Brands Inc. announced Thursday the firearms manufacturing and design company will relocate its headquarters from Springfield, Massachusetts to Maryville, a $125 million effort that will yield 750 jobs.
In addition to its headquarters, Smith & Wesson will relocate its distribution, assembly, and plastic injection molding operations to the Blount County community, located near Knoxville in East Tennessee. In a release, Smith & Wesson said it will break ground before year’s end in Partnership Park North.
The announcement follows Ford Motor Company’s announcement Tuesday it will manufacture its electric pickup trucks at the Memphis Regional Megasite in Haywood County (read more here).
Smith & Wesson is the latest major national firearms and accessories maker to establish a Tennessee presence. In May, Troy Industries officials announced plans to relocate its headquarters and manufacturing operations from West Springfield, Massachusetts, to Clarksville, a move expected to yield 75 jobs (read here). Troy will join fellow firearms makers Beretta USA and GS Performance in Middle Tennessee, as having established a state presence since 2014. The former is located in Gallatin and the latter is based in Nashville.
Tennessee is home to more than 20 small arms and ammunition manufacturers, with Murfreesboro-based Barrett being among the most well recognized and established. The state ranks No. 1 in the nation for employment in the sector, with employment increasing by 54 percent over the last five years, according to the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development.
Founded in 1852, Smith & Wesson makes handguns (including revolvers and pistols), long guns (including modern sporting rifles, bolt action rifles, and shotguns), handcuffs and suppressors. Its U.S. and international clients include collectors, hunters, competitive shooters, individuals desiring home and personal protection, law enforcement and security agencies, and military agencies.
“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 & Wesson Brands President and CEO Mark Smith said in the release. “We would like to specifically thank Gov. [Bill] 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.”
The release does not note any incentives the state might be providing Smith & Wesson. Since 2017, TNECD Commissioner Bob Rolfe said the state has supported 10 economic development projects in Blount County, resulting in approximately 3,100 job commitments and $1.4 billion in capital investment.