Source: http://nhregister.com/articles/2010/03/26/news/metro/a1_--_marlin_0326.txtMarlin Firearms to close in North Haven
Published: Friday, March 26, 2010
By Ann DeMatteo, Assistant Metro Editor
NORTH HAVEN — The Marlin Firearms Co., one of the town’s top taxpayers, will start to lay off employees in May and will close by June 2011.
The gun manufacturer’s employees were told Thursday that the jobs of 265 salaried and hourly workers would be eliminated over 18 months. Marlin traces its history back to 1870.
Marlin officials could not be reached for comment, but First Selectman Michael J. Freda heard the news from a company official Thursday evening.
Freda said several factors appear to be driving the closure, from the cost of doing business in Connecticut to wage differentials.
“The situation appears to be compounded by the fact that Connecticut is a difficult state for any manufacturer to sustain its business model,” Freda said after meeting with the company official.
Freda said he asked whether the services Marlin was providing would be moved, but was told that was undetermined.
State and federal officials also were contacted Thursday, according to Freda.
The Remington Arms Co. bought Marlin in late 2007. Marlin is on Kenna Drive, off Bailey Road. Remington is a North Carolina affiliate that falls under the umbrella of the Freedom Group, one of the largest manufacturers of firearms and ammunition in the world, according to its Web site.
No layoffs or closures were anticipated at the time of the $41.7 million sale.
The firearms manufacturer should not be confused with The Marlin Co., a business-to-business Internet and print publication service that operated at the plant until late 2007. Now in Wallingford because it needed more space, that company employs 120 people.
The chairman and president of The Marlin Co. is Frank Kenna III, whose grandfather, the late Frank Kenna Sr., bought Marlin Firearms at auction in 1924 when it was bankrupt. Marlin Firearms was started by John Marlin.
“I’m sure for the employees, it’s devastating,” Kenna said of the closure. “I still know a lot of them, and all I can say is I’m very sympathetic to them. It’s a tough blow.”
But, Kenna said the rifle and shotgun industry has changed over the years. “What’s happening in the industry is it’s consolidating and there are fewer and fewer individual firearms companies. The culture has changed.
“When we sold we were producing half of the number of rifles that we were in the early 1970s,” he said.
The news that Marlin will be closing comes at a bad time for North Haven, which has a $6.6 million revenue gap going into the next fiscal year.
“The timing of this news is very unfortunate as we are preparing for our upcoming budget,” Freda said.
As a result, his efforts to generate economic development in town, possibly with incremental tax financing to attract new businesses, “will be kicking into higher gear.”
Freda said he will be doing his best to urge local Marlin officials to arrange a meeting for him with the parent company.
“I would like to meet with the parent company in an effort to see if there’s any way to keep them here,” said Freda. “I can’t accept it without making an attempt,” he added.
How much tax revenue the town receives from the company annually was not immediately available. On the 2009 grand list, Marlin was ranked No. 14.
Contact Ann DeMatteo at 203-789-5716 or [email protected].