Gun maker SCCY to close Tennessee plant to expand in Daytona instead
DAYTONA BEACH – Three years after announcing national plans to relocate its Daytona Beach company headquarters and most of its weapons manufacturing to Tennessee, the owner of SCCY Firearms now says the company will remain in Volusia County.
“I am committed to staying in Daytona Beach, Volusia County, and growing SCCY Firearms here,” said CEO Joe Roebuck, whose company name is pronounced “sky”.
Roebuck rented a building in Maryville, Tennessee, where he opened a factory last year, but continued to rent a 21,000-square-foot building on Bill France Boulevard in Daytona Beach, where most of its manufacturing operations remain.
Roebuck said he briefed Tennessee business developers last week of his decision to cancel plans to build a nine-building campus at headquarters. He said he will close his plant there by the end of October and move the manufacturing facilities to Daytona Beach.
A second production facility is to be opened here in part of the former main building on the Costa Del Mar in the Center Point Business Park on Mason Avenue. Roebuck recently agreed to rent 20,000 square feet of space there, with possible plans to rent additional space in that building as its business grows.
“By the end of October, 100% of our products will be made in Daytona Beach,” said Roebuck. He expects to hire 30 more employees here, which would increase his total on-site workforce to 200 by the end of the year.
Roebuck recently paid $ 1.7 million to purchase an aircraft hangar in the Spruce Creek Fly-In community in Port Orange.
“I’m fully invested here,” said Roebuck, who founded SCCY in 2003 in a small rental building in South Daytona.
According to Roebuck, the company makes semi-automatic pistols that offer the quality of high-end guns, but at lower prices.
The New York native describes himself as an “inventor, designer, and toolmaker” who has invented a range of products including medical devices over the years.
In a January 2020 article in Guns & Ammo magazine, SCCY was described as “a leading brand in affordable carrying pistols” revolutionizing the everyday market with the introduction of their red dot-equipped CPX-1 RD and CPX-2 RD nine millimeter pistols . “
The company recently launched its newest product: a lightweight 9-millimeter semi-automatic pistol called DVG, whose initials stand for “David versus Goliath,” Roebuck said.
The pistol has a suggested retail price of $ 289 for a standard model and $ 389 for a red dot sight model. Similar guns from high-end brands like Sig Sauer and Springfield typically sell in the $ 600 to $ 800 range, Roebuck said.
The launch of this new product, coupled with a surge in arms sales due to the coronavirus pandemic as well as the upcoming presidential election, has spurred a surge in orders for SCCY, Roebuck said. “We are currently 10 months behind,” he said.
Roebuck said his company is well on its way to having one of the best sales years ever.
The state of Tennessee and Blount County had offered SCCY approximately $ 5 million in potential economic incentives in 2017 to convince Roebuck to move its headquarters and most of its manufacturing operations to the Maryville area outside of Knoxville.
Roebuck said he originally planned to immediately build a new main campus on 68 acres in Maryville, with the goal of starting production there in 2018. He also intends to create 350 jobs there.
These plans were delayed by an unexpected industry-wide slump in arms sales. He decided last year to temporarily rent a 10,000-square-foot building next to the site of his proposed future headquarters “to see what it’s really like to do business in Tennessee.”
While Tennessee and Blount County’s business promoters “immediately made me feel welcome,” Roebuck noted that finding available talent was more difficult than he expected.
And more expensive.
“Labor costs in Tennessee are 30 percent higher than here (Daytona Beach),” said Roebuck. Mostly, he attributed this to the presence of a large manufacturer in Maryville, where the initial tariff was much higher than he could afford.
“I couldn’t find good people because (the other Maryville maker) sucked them all up,” he said.
Jeff Muir, communications director for The Blount Partnership, the Blount County, Tennessee business development group, said Roebuck’s decision to close its Maryville operations was “definitely a shock. We had high expectations when he got here. We worked diligently with him.” Paid his taxes and donated (to charities in the Maryville area). I think wages mattered. “
Roebuck said he also realized, “It would be too costly to lose production at Daytona Beach and move. I can’t afford it.”
Roebuck said he was leaving Maryville after investing nearly $ 1 million there.
The 68 acres that Blount County Roebuck gave for its proposed main campus will be returned to The Blount Partnership, Muir said.
Roebuck said while the economic incentives offered by Blount County and the state of Tennessee were tempting, “I’ve never taken a dime from it, except for the land I’m giving back.”
Roebuck said he was not receiving any economic incentives to consolidate and expand his Daytona Beach operations.
According to Roebuck, the new jobs he plans to create here range from $ 14 an hour for low-skilled machine operators to an average of $ 90,000 to $ 100,000 per year for skilled engineers.
“We pay above the market and we also offer a full package of benefits that includes a 401 (k) program. We pay more than 90% of medical benefits, including vision and dentistry, and offer two to three weeks of PTO (paid time off ) and all major holidays free, “he said. All employees at SCCY are full-time employees. “We don’t have any part-time workers here. We work three shifts.”
Roebuck said one of the factors that sealed his decision to consolidate was learning about the availability of space at Center Point Business Park owned by his longtime friend, local developer Mike Cotton of Cotton Enterprises.
Costa Del Mar announced late last year that it would close most of its Daytona Beach activities by mid-2020 to move to other parts of the country.
The sunglasses company vacated the rented space in the two buildings at Center Point in July.
“When I found out about Costa, I called Mike Cotton in February and asked if he had room. When he said yes, I said keep him to me,” said Roebuck.
Cotton was Roebuck’s original landlord when he founded SCCY in South Daytona.
Roebuck said he plans to sublet his current main building at the 1800 Concept Court on Bill France Boulevard. The building belongs to the family of the late developer Joseph Fisher, with whom Roebuck has developed a close relationship.
Finally, Roebuck said he hoped to expand its Daytona Beach operations by renting another space that would expand its overall material to 60,000 square feet.
Kent Sharples, president of the Business Alliance CEO in Daytona Beach, said his group worked with Roebuck for about six months in 2016 trying to convince him to expand here rather than outside of the state.
Although these efforts failed, the alliance was thrilled that Roebuck had finally decided to reverse course.
“We’re really glad Joe didn’t leave Florida and go to Tennessee,” said Sharples. “While incentives offered by other states can seem tempting, in the end it often comes down to the workforce, and we have a very stable workforce here. And the thing about these (economic incentive) deals, when you start out yourself dealing with the details, sometimes there are a lot of reservations that make the incentives not so cute. “
Roebuck credited local Cobb Cole attorney John Ferguson and his real estate agent Kelly for helping him feel more connected to the Daytona Beach community.
Kelly Ferguson was the agent at Geri Westfall Real Estate who helped him negotiate the deal to purchase the hangar house at Spruce Creek Fly-In.
The listing agent representing the seller was Rachel McGrath of Premier Sotheby’s International Realty. The sale was closed last Friday.
Roebuck is an avid pilot. “I’m flying out on business,” he said.
Roebuck noted that he always intended to keep some of his Daytona Beach manufacturing operations, partly because he didn’t want to risk losing his employees, some who have been with SCCY for 10 years.
“This is home now,” he said. “My heart has always been here.”