Chiappa Firearms expanding in Dayton

The Dayton Daily News is reporting that an Italian gunmaker with a distribution center in Dayton plans to start manufacturing firearms in Dayton this year, which will require the company to double its local workforce to about 30 people.

From the article:

Chiappa Firearms, the Dayton-based branch company of Italy’s Chiappa Group, relocated in January to a new, expanded facility at 1415 Stanley Ave. The 33,000-square-foot building is more than four times the size of the company’s previous location at 6785 West Third St., where it had operated since 2007.

Company officials said the larger facility will allow Chiappa Firearms to produce several product lines in Dayton.

“We will be manufacturing guns here by the end of the year,” said Jim Eubank, the company’s national sales and marketing director. The types of guns to be produced in Dayton has not been determined, he said.

Don Madole, Chiappa Firearms’ general manager, said manufacturing guns will require the company to “dramatically” increase its local workforce, currently at 15 employees. “I can probably see us doubling fairly quickly, and then go from there,” he said.

According to the article, Chiappa, which was founded in 1958, specializes in historic replicas of vintage American firearms.

The company’s products include the Civil War-era Spencer repeating rifle; the well-known Rhino defense revolver; lever-action shotguns and hunting rifles; pistols and rifles in .22 long rifle caliber; and a unique, triple-barreled shotgun introduced in 2013.

“We cover just about every segment of the market,” Eubank said. The majority of parts on Chiappa’s replica weapons will interchange with the original guns, he said.

The article goes on to say that Chiappa’s guns are manufactured in Italy and Turkey. Madole is quoted as saying Dayton can compete with overseas manufacturers in terms of production costs.

“Italian labor is as expensive, if not more expensive, than ours. By the time you add in transport and the hassle of government regulations for importation, it makes a lot of sense to manufacture here at home,” he said.

Chiappa Firearms is a wholesale company that sells firearms and accessories through a number of U.S. distributors, including MKS Supply of Dayton; Legacy Sports International of Reno, Nev.; and Taylor’s & Co. of Winchester, Va. The company doesn’t offer retail gun sales or walk-in gun repair.

“Our growth rate has been very, very good since our start here in 2007 in Dayton,” Madole said. “We’ve grown every year; a lot of years we’ve doubled.”

Company officials said several states including Indiana, South Carolina, Florida, Texas and Utah offered Chiappa tax incentives to relocate there. However, the company chose to remain in Dayton in order to retain its local employees.

“What made sense for the company was that we have a very good group of core people here that we wanted to keep,” Madole said.

Eubank said Chiappa wasn’t offered economic incentives to stay in Dayton. The company leased its former building, but purchased the new facility, indicating its commitment to the Dayton community, he said.

Chiappa’s local manufacturing operations will have a ripple effect on other area businesses, such as packing companies and specialty machine shops, Eubank said. “When you bring any type of manufacturing, whether it is a firearm, an automobile or a ballpoint pen, you bring more to the table than what you put inside the building as far as people,” he said.

Firearms manufacturing and sales continue to be the one area of the Obama economy that has experienced exponential growth. This has earned the anti-gun president the nickname of "Gun Salesman of the Year," a nickname that has stuck since he took office in 2008.

Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Secretary, and BFA PAC Vice Chairman.

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