Walther Arms Moves to Fort Smith, Plans $7 Million Expansion with Umarex USA

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012 10:07 am  

Walther Arms Inc. said Thursday that its US operations will locate to Chaffee Crossing in Fort Smith, sharing a campus and business resources with Umarex USA, which will expand its manufacturing operations to include components of both airguns and firearms.

Gov. Mike Beebe and Arkansas economic development officials made the announcement on Thursday at Umarex USA's plant at Chaffee Crossing.

Umarex USA makes sporting and replica air guns. Its line of products includes paintball guns, pellet guns, air pistols and accessories. Umarex USA is owned by PW Group of Germany, which also owns firearms leader Walther Co. in Germany. Walther is 126 years old and makes firearms from .22-caliber to .40-caliber.

Together, the companies plan to invest more than $7 million toward expanding the facility and operations over the next five years. The facility will be Walther's and Umarex's corporate headquarters in North America. 

With the expansion, the companies say they hope to create 70 to 120 new jobs over the next five years.

"We are absolutely fired up to see Fort Smith become the home for the iconic Walther brand and company," Adam Blalock, CEO of Walther Arms and Umarex USA, said. "My personal hope and objective is to see more manufacturing and jobs return to the USA in the coming years, and what better place than Fort Smith!"

Umarex moved into its 117,000-SF facility in Chaffee Crossing in July 2010. The facility is home to the company's warehousing and distribution operations as well as its corporate offices.

"Fort Smith's excellent workforce helped convince Umarex and Walther to increase production here, and their overall Arkansas experience led to make our state their North American Headquarters," Gov. Mike Beebe said in a news release. "Success stories like this will help to influence other companies deciding where to invest for success."

When Umarex announced plans in 2008 to move to Chaffee Crossing, it said it planned to have a total work force between 60 to 120 people within three years.

Umarex USA's products are marketed under the following brand names: RWS, Walther, Hämmerli, Beretta, Smith & Wesson, Browning, Heckler & Koch, Ruger, Desert Eagle, RAM and Colt.

Chaffee Crossing is a 7,000-acre mixed-use development at Fort Chaffee. It includes commercial, retail, residential and recreational areas in addition to industrial space.

The full announcement from the Arkansas Economic Development Commission:



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