Made in Connecticut: Lyman Products
Each month, we profile a Connecticut manufacturer, showcasing the ingenuity and innovation driving the state’s economy. For July, we talked with Lyman Products, headquartered in Middletown.
Middletown, Fort Myers, FL, Prescott, AZ.
When was your company founded?
1878. The original company, Lyman Gunsight Company, was started in a long manufacturing building in Middlefield that still stands today and still has the lettering on the front of the building.
The company acquired the IDEAL Loading Tool Company in 1925. It became a supplier of sights and scopes to the military until 1969 when it was sold to the Leisure Group, a company headquartered in California, with diversified interests in the outdoor industry including Lawn and Garden, Shooting Sports, and Flexible Flyer Sleds.
The current Lyman Products Corp. was acquired by private investors in 1978, and returned its headquarters to Middletown. It remains a privately held corporation today.
How many employees work for your company?
Ranges between 135 and 150.
What products does your company manufacture? Who are your customers?
Lyman encompasses seven individual brands: Lyman Products, Mark 7 Reloading, Pachmayr, TacStar, Trius Traps, A-Zoom Precision Safety Rounds, Butch’s Gun Care Products, and Raytech Industries.
Our main lines of products are reloading equipment and other product lines that service the outdoor industry, law enforcement, and military.
Raytech Industries specializes in metal finishing equipment and serves the small to medium manufacturing industry.
In the Lyman division, our products are primarily marketed through retail outlets such Bass Pro Shops, Cabelas, Amazon, and independent Sporting Goods and Outdoor Retailers.
Our end users are competitive and casual target shooters, hunters, reloaders, and police departments.
Why did you choose manufacturing?
Lyman was founded by William Lyman in 1878 as a manufacturing company. Since then, and through all the changes in the company over 144 years, Lyman is still primarily committed to U.S. manufacturing at all of its three locations.
Our headquarters in Connecticut features a large and growing CNC machining center, quality assurance department with state of the art CMM equipment, and a robust R&D department with five design engineers.
Management and ownership feels that with fast changing world markets and politics, our best opportunities for growth are in developing new markets with high precision USA manufactured products with strong intellectual property.
Additionally, we continue to look to grow with the acquisition of companies and related product lines that add incremental value. We are currently positioned well to do this.
What makes your company unique?
Our strongest resources are our legacy brands, including our new Mark 7 Division which was acquired in 2019 that offers products that are unique to the current market and have a high opportunity for growth.
This is backed up by a strong management team and private ownership who has supported our growth initiatives, encouraged management to act independently, and allowed us to reinvest in the company with additional capital as needed.
Why did you choose Connecticut?
That decision began with William Lyman in 1878 and we have seen no reason to move despite the many offers we get from other states to do so.
Although our company manufactures accessories only, Connecticut has a long and rich history in firearms manufacturing, originally being home to companies such as Marlin, Remington, Winchester, Savage, Ruger, and Colt, although many have since moved out.
Connecticut is a state that is strong in CNC manufacturing with large companies supporting the U.S. military, such as Pratt & Whitney and Sikorsky.
Additionally, there are hundreds of small to medium-sized manufacturers that further support these entities, creating a pool of talent that is needed to service this type of manufacturing.
We are proud to have the headquarters of the National Shooting Sports Foundation in our state as well.
While many companies supporting the shooting sports industry have chosen to leave and move to friendlier states, we feel that our best option is to remain in Connecticut and be a good corporate citizen despite little assistance from the state or our politicians.
What is the greatest advantage to operating in Connecticut?
Given the need for strong engineering and manufacturing skill sets it would be the pool of talent in the state, even though that is becoming harder and harder to acquire.
Where do you see your company in five years? Ten years?
In five years we see Connecticut as the headquarters and manufacturing and R&D hub for all of our brands. There will be a lower focus on assembly, unskilled labor, importing, and distribution.
There will be higher focus on parts manufacturing feeding our Florida and Arizona sites.
Our revenue goal is to double our Mark 7 sales within five years and acquire an additional brand.
What’s the main thing policymakers could implement to make your company more competitive?
Offer resources, such as low interest or business development loans to assist small and medium companies to invest in capital equipment.
Provide funding for establishing manufacturing apprenticeships for high school students and graduates to learn CNC manufacturing.
Provide a higher R&D tax credit for companies to invest in personnel and other resources in this area.
Provide incentives for Connecticut companies to acquire companies outside of Connecticut and move them to Connecticut. This is what other states offer companies to move out of Connecticut.
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