The State of Tennessee is “on an economic development roll” generally but this week in particular with the second major announcement in just a few days.
On the heels of Monday’s news about the multi-billion dollar investment by Ford Motor Company and SK Innovation in the Memphis Regional Megasite came another blockbuster announcement yesterday about neighboring Blount County.
Smith & Wesson Brands Inc., the U.S.-based leader in firearms manufacturing and design, will relocate its headquarters and other major operations from Springfield, MA to Maryville. In addition to the headquarters which we were told will amount to about 250 jobs, the company will also relocate its distribution, assembly and plastic injection molding operations to Tennessee.
The project, which will be located in Partnership Park North in Blount County, represents an investment of approximately $125 million and will create 750 new jobs. Smith & Wesson expects to break ground before the end of 2021.
Founded in 1852, the company is one of the world’s leading manufacturers and designers of firearms including a wide array of handguns (revolvers and pistols), long guns (modern sporting rifles, bolt action rifles, and shotguns), handcuffs, suppressors, and other firearm-related products for sale to a wide variety of customers, including firearm enthusiasts, collectors, hunters, sportsmen, competitive shooters, individuals desiring home and personal protection, law enforcement and security agencies and officers, and military agencies in the U.S. and throughout the world.
Smith & Wesson joins more than 20 other small arms and ammunition manufacturers located in the Volunteer State that now ranks #1 in the nation for employment in the small arms and ammunition sector, with employment increasing by 54 percent in the last five years.
The Blount Partnership noted that the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development has supported 10 major projects in Blount County since 2017 that resulted in approximately 3,100 job commitments and $1.4 billion in capital investment.
You can read the official news release here.
Yesterday’s announcement came just a few weeks shy of six years after Advanced Munitions International (AMI), located in Payson, Arizona, announced plans to invest more than $550 million to build a global headquarters, state-of-the-art munitions manufacturing facility, and R&D center in Alcoa’s Partnership Park. The company failed to follow through on those plans.
And, to meet the economic development incentives for the Ford/SK Innovation project, Governor Bill Lee yesterday afternoon officially announced a special session of the Tennessee General Assembly to begin on October 18. It is specifically for the recently announced Ford Blue Oval City project, as the facility will be known. The special session is necessary to provide additional state infrastructure funding that was not included in the recent 2021-22 budget that took effect July 1.