Local employees, local manufacturers and donations to local charities. After Shelton’s state representatives toured the company, they asked what more could you ask for out of a local business such as Charter Firearms?
“This is really what the American economy is built on, these small businesses that give back to their communities. That’s why we’re here. Not only to see how they work and do what they do, but to also see what we can do for them,” said State Rep. Jason Perillo (R-113).
According to Perillo and State Rep. Ben McGorty (R-122) — who launched their Small Business Highlights earlier this year — they plan to reach out to successful Shelton businesses and highlight the stories of their success in a changed Connecticut economy.
“A business locally manufacturing products that is staying in Shelton. It doesn’t get any better than that,” added McGorty.
Vice president of Charter Arms, Terry Rush, led the tour through the warehouse and said the manufacturers attention to detail is what makes them such a competitor in the arms business.
“Everything we make is all-American,” said Rush. “We’ll go out of our way to make sure everything is American made. We stand behind our products.”
Rush added that any gun bought in Shelton has a lifetime warrantee and any of their products purchased elsewhere can be repaired or replaced for $44.95. The company manufactures more than 10 different calibers and moderations of firearms, all of which are covered by the warrantee.
Employees range in ages. Rush said age isn’t a factor, it really boils down to skill and work ethic. He added that the quality of their work speaks for itself.
The five-man-business that began down on Canal Street has since relocated twice and is now located on Brewster avenue. The business’s workforce has increased to approximately 45 workers who play designated roles in the assembly-line type process used for manufacturing of their products.
The assembly line is comparable to a well-oiled machine, but they are not all work and no play. Rush said every few weeks they have a barbecue outside of the warehouse to keep everyone lighthearted and on the same page.
“It’s a way to keep everyone focused, but at the same time relax for a little bit. We’re a big family here,” said Rush.
The process behind every shipment is intricate to say the least. Shipments are moving in and out of the warehouse all day. Materials are being passed from one station to the next in a cycle before they are ready to be shipped out.
Rush said aside from the family dynamics in the business, Rush said their brand is also unique in the sense that a large percentage of women are buying their guns.
“Around 35% of the firearms we produce are purchased by women,” said Rush.
The lighter-weight and custom pink/optional colors the company offer, Rush said could be factors in the amount of guns purchased by women.
Rush and Nick Ecker, president of Charter Arms, said they are not looking to expand their business any further, but are constantly looking for ways to improve and reduce manufacturing time on their products.
One of their latest additions, has been the implementation of two robotic machines named Mario and Luigi, which are used to polish pieces of the firearms before further assembling them. According to Rush, the company produces approximately 1,200 a week and supply more than 10 different calibers.
He added that the goal of using these robots is not to replace human workers, they cannot do the quality of work that a person can, but to merely increase the productivity of the business and use the manpower where it’s needed. Rush said the company is the first gun manufacturer to use this type of technology.
The employees at Charter arms are supported and trained by the staff. Rush said all new employees undergo extensive training, some as long as three months, in order to assure their skills match the quality of work they are known for producing. He added that they offer 401K plans and have given out $400,000 in bonuses to their employees in past years.