HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - A gun, rifle and ammo manufacturer employing hundreds in north Alabama could be financial trouble. Reuters reports Remington is looking for financing that will allow it to file for bankruptcy protection.
Hundreds of workers are employed at its Huntsville manufacturing plant. City leaders said they've been told Remington gun sales are down. The Huntsville mayor's office and the Chamber of Commerce said people shouldn't worry. Their confident Remington will be able to weather this storm.
"I'm not sure what it means for all of those employees, but I know what it means for us," said Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle. "We are going to work with the company. We are going to work with them to make them a success."
The manufacturing plant makes a $32 million economic impact yearly and provides 889 jobs. They generate annually $3 million in taxes and since opening in 2014, $14.6 million, according to the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber.
"I think it would be very, very, very unwise to say that people are going to lose their jobs out there. This industry is a pretty solid industry and this company is a pretty solid company," Battle said.
Chamber president and CEO Chip Cherry said Remington has honored their commitment to the city and then some. He said the company has exceeded the capital investment and wage rate. The new CEO of Remington plans to move to the Rocket City and be based here.
"In the long term it looks very good for that relationship. They just are going to have a rough road for the next couple of years, which led to the incidents you are referring to is restructuring," said Cherry.
Battle said the development agreement they signed is a contract for the protection of the public.
"If something happened with the company we have $12 million invested, which is backed up by mortgage on the building, which is probably worth $200 million so we are well covered in this venture," Battle said.
"It's not just a handshake of just hey we are going to do wonderful things and trust us. There are controls on both sides that we would perform that we said we would do and they said they would do," Cherry said.
The Huntsville manufacturing plant is supposed to employ 2,000 workers within a 7-year period. Officials said that might change, but it's a discussion to be had.
Remington met with city officials just a few days ago and was up front with how the company was struggling with sales and gave them an idea about what their game plan was for the future.
Neither battle nor Cherry would go into much further details.
WAFF 48 News contacted Remington about them seeking financing to file for bankruptcy, but they haven't returned our call.
"Obviously there has been a number of installations like Kentucky and others that have consolidated into this operation so obviously other parts of the country have felt this impact more than we have," Cherry said.
Both Battle and Cherry agree the decline of gun sales is due to who's in the Oval Office.
Owner of Lieutenant Dan's Pawn Shop, Dan Freda, said he also saw a decline in gun sales. He said gun manufacturers overproduced, thinking sales would be booming after the new president takes office.
"Because the election went the other way, I think the American people have relaxed in their concern about their Second Amendment rights so therefore sales are going down you know," Freda said.
Freda said he's selling about 30 guns a month, much less than other years. He saw the sales decline at the beginning of the year in Huntsville. He added the price of AR-15s have dropped by $100, but he still sees an interest in them as well as handguns.
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