Posted by Marty on 11/30/2011
This has been a year of turmoil for Thompson Center. In 2007 TC was acquired by Smith & Wesson, the then 154 year old gun maker. The next big shoe fell this year as plans for moving the Thompson Center division approximately 150 + or - miles from its 45 year location in Rochester, New Hampshire to Smith & Wesson's corporate location in Springfield, Massachusetts came to pass.
Being a TC guy for about the last 6 years I started noticing the effects of this change this summer when one of my suppliers, Davidson's, began to run low and run out of Thompson Center inventory. Since this supply is everything to my small niche business, I rapidly began searching for other outlets for TC products and through the course of the summer saw a repeat at 3 other prominent suppliers.
Upon further investigation I discovered this move and shutdown of production for almost 3 months as the plant moved to Massachusetts. At one point I even called the old phone number for customer service in Rochester and GOT A LIVE BODY!!! This lady had worked there for years and was lamenting the move and its effects. Obvious economic impact to the community not to mention the employees of TC were the topic of our conversation. Near the end of our talk I asked what was to me an obvious question "is this a good move for TC?". She then told me that some people were moving to the new location but many weren't. Consequently her fear was the experience that was being left behind in NH. Production has resumed at the new location and to this point I have not seen anything marked " Springfield, MA".
Good move or bad move for TC? Only time will tell. Thompson Center calls itself "America's Master Gun Maker" and for good reason. Their innovation, creativity and designs have changed the face of our shooting/hunting worlds. The first real test will be how S & W allows TC to deal with customer service which for years has been a hallmark of their reputation, the next test will be quality. You might want to hold onto your frames/actions marked NH as they someday may be worth more than the new ones marked MA.
Hopefully S & W allows TC to continue to be what has made them great and that the bean counters won't determine a not so bright future for a great company.
Thanks for reading and be safe. Marty