When Weatherby Inc. opened its doors to their new headquarters in Sheridan, Wyoming on June 13, 2019, it ushered in a lot more than customers, employees and the media. The company welcomed something they haven’t felt in years – freedom.
You see, when Weatherby packed up their people and gun-building business in Paso Robles, Calif., one thing they couldn’t bring with them was California’s support for the 2nd Amendment. It doesn’t exist. And, as Adam Weatherby discovered immediately, Wyoming doesn’t simply tolerate the 2nd Amendment to our Constitution, they support it openly and passionately. California’s distain for American’s constitutional right to keep and bear arms wasn’t the only reason Weatherby left. It was the biggest one though.
“It had a significant impact,” said Weatherby. “The 2nd Amendment is very important to us and our customers. California was a different place when my grandfather started the business in 1945. Unfortunately, there had been too many restrictive laws passed in recent years at the state level to continue doing business there, and the writing on the wall is that it was only a matter of time before it would have been nearly impossible for us to operate in California.”
Weatherby Inc. Flees to Wyoming
So Weatherby left. Still, it wasn’t an overnight decision.
“It was several years in the making,” said Adam Weatherby, “but I first spoke with former Wyoming Governor Matt Mead the fall of 2016. Things really started to move fast from there and our first personnel moved in the summer of 2018. The move was complete in June of 2019 as we celebrated with a grand opening.”
Why did Weatherby choose Wyoming? According to Weatherby, it was a combination of their incredible people, great tax and business climate, access to premium western big game hunting, a commitment to defending the 2nd amendment and an unparalleled incentive package. How much help did Wyoming give Weatherby? Enough.
According to the State of Wyoming’s Business Council, Wyoming worked with the Sheridan Economic and Education Development Authority (SEEDA) Joint Powers board to develop a $12.6 million grant package to help facilitate Weatherby’s relocation. It worked. Weatherby moved to Sheridan and brought more than 70 jobs and a projected $5 million in annual payroll over the first five years of operations in their new home.
Welcome to Wyoming
“The cost of living for our employees is better,” said Weatherby. “Our access to outdoor hunting has improved. Selling firearms has become easier. We have nearly doubled our space because of the incentive packages the state offered which will allow for significant expansion and growth. Our power bill is cheaper, as is nearly everything else that it takes to operate a manufacturing facility. I don’t have to do a background check when I buy ammunition. I can have more than 10 rounds in my pistol magazine. (And) I can own and shoot a semi-automatic rifle. To sum it all up, we feel free.”
As motivated as Weatherby was to relocate to a place where the business and its employees could prosper, the family-owned company also knew it had to say goodbye to friends and employees near and dear to their hearts. “We really enjoyed our hometown of Paso Robles and that area,” said Weatherby. “We had to leave behind over 50 people that were not able to come with us. Saying those goodbyes were perhaps the most difficult thing we had to do this past year.”
What advice does Weatherby have for firearms companies which are still in California or other states which aren’t supporters of the 2nd Amendment? “Every business needs to do what is best for themselves,” said Weatherby. “For us, it was relocating to Wyoming. It hasn’t been easy, and it hasn’t come without a cost. However, our brand will be better because of it. It already is!”
The future of Weatherby looks bright in Sheridan. The company is refreshed, empowered, and engaged as if they have a new lease on life. That’s what freedom does to people, it gives them life. To learn more about Weatherby Inc., visit them at weatherby.com