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Small Village Of Ilion Made Guns For 200 Years. What Happens When Remington Leaves?

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Ilion, N.Y. — Remington began here two centuries ago and generations of workers have turned out rifles and shotguns at the massive firearms factory in the middle of this blue-collar village in the heart of New York’s Mohawk Valley.

Now residents of Ilion are bracing for Remington’s exit, ending an era that began when Eliphalet Remington forged his first rifle barrel nearby in 1816.

The nation’s oldest gun-maker recently announced plans to shutter the factory in the company’s original home early next month, citing the steep cost of running the historic plant. Remington is consolidating its operations in Georgia, a state the company says is friendlier to the firearms industry.

The company’s recent history has been marked by a lawsuit after the Sandy Hook school massacre and bankruptcy filings that led to new ownership of the Ilion plant, where the workforce has dwindled from about 1,300 workers more than a decade ago to around 300.

But the move still stings for the village of 7,600 people, who face the prospect of a dramatic revenue loss and a vacant, sprawling factory.

“When Remington leaves, it’s not going to be like a facility leaving, it’s going to be like part of your family has moved off,” said Jim Conover, who started at Remington in 1964 packing guns and retired 40 years later as a production manager.

 

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