In 1816 Eliphalet Remington built a rifle that won matches and quickly gained favor with sportsmen in the area. Sales grew, and by 1828 he moved manufacturing to Ilion, NY, where it operated though two World Wars, one Civil War, several bankruptcies, the Great Depression and multiple changes in ownership. The storied, nearly 200-year history—in a city that today numbers less than 8,000 residents—comes to a close in March 2024.
Remington Outdoor filed for bankruptcy protection in 2018 and emerged in almost record-setting time. Outward appearances made it look relatively unscarred, but unmanageable debt loomed large behind the scenes.
Two years later it was back in court and fully dissolved. The myriad number of firms under the Remington Outdoor corporate umbrella were sold to high bidders to pay creditors. Thankfully, some of the industry’s finest took control of several brands, and their products are back at, or above, their historic quality and performance.
Remington Firearms brand, under new ownership, reopened in the historic Ilion site and rehired 230 of the experienced union members who worked there previously. The process was far from simple, though. A union contract was involved and RemArms—the firm’s rebranded name— worked hard in negotiations to ensure benefits remained and pay scale was agreeable, yet reasonable enough to ensure the company didn’t suffer the same fate as its predecessor.
RemArms 870 shotguns came out of the factory in 2021, followed by Model 700 bolt-action rifles. Sales were steady and continue to grow.
The same year RemArms announced it was establishing a modern factory in LaGrange, GA, and moving headquarters to the site. Meanwhile, the cost of maintenance and operations at the Ilion facility continued to grow.
On Dec. 1, the Utica Observer-Dispatch learned RemArms sent an official letter to union officials to inform them the Ilion plant was shutting down. “I am writing to inform you that RemArms, LLC (‘the Company’) has decided to close its entire operations at 14 Hoefler Avenue, Ilion, NY 13357 (the ‘Ilion Facility’),” it stated. “The Company expects that operations at the Ilion Facility will conclude on or about March 4, 2024. The Company did not arrive at this decision lightly.”
Details also included the challenges that forced management to come to the decision. The sheer size of the original plant, now occupied by significantly fewer workers than before, made manufacturing expensively inefficient, for example. The region’s high cost of electricity and New York’s hostile political environment were also cited as contributing factors.