KEE Action Sports, the biggest maker of paintballs in the world, has closed its Clearwater manufacturing facility and is shipping the bulk of the work to cheaper labor in Asia.
The closure means KEE is laying off 109 of its 110 plant employees, the company said in a mass layoff notice filed with the state Monday. Only one senior executive working there will be relocated.
CEO and president John Robinson said about a third of the production "high- and mid-grade stuff" using higher quality paint will be sent to the company's plant in London, Ontario. Most of the work will go to Asia through strategic partnerships with producers in Taiwan and China.
"It was a pure economic decision," Robinson said, citing a "glut in the marketplace" with international manufacturers that didn't exist even a few years ago. "We were just not able to compete."
"As you can imagine, it was a brutal decision to ultimately get to," he added.
KEE Action Sports, which pumps out about 5 billion paintballs a year, is an amalgamation of acquired sporting companies and has a dispersed organizational chart as a result. Its headquarters is in Sewell, N.J., while its CEO is based in Bentonville, Ark., the home of Walmart.
The Clearwater plant at 11399 47th St. N, which has been used by KEE for the last seven years, closed Thursday.
In a letter to the state, Robinson said employees will not be required to report for work unless requested to help decommission the facility. Employees will continue to receive pay and benefits until March 31.
After the layoffs, KEE will have about 170 employees remaining between Canada, a small office in the United Kingdom, and multiple distribution centers around the United States, including nine employees in sales and distribution in Tampa Bay.
Posted 03 February 2014 - 10:43 PM
Posted 04 February 2014 - 02:46 PM
sad news, lots of folks loosing there jobs.
And yes, Gordon is the sexiest manifestation of "to the front."
Posted 04 February 2014 - 05:37 PM
That's a serious reduction in head count, cutting staff by almost 40%. Kee must be concerned about overhead costs, as its apparent that their new overseas paint deal is materials only (they're contracting out paint manufacture to a company that will handle its own overhead). In the end, these deals rarely work out well as the overseas quality either dips too far or the price goes up over the cost of Kee employees + taxes + insurance + expenses. I'm curious if they're cooking the books up to make some part of the company look attractive. Which is particularly odd behavior when you consider they are not publicly owned.
Also, it just occurred to me that these numbers don't make sense. I was under the impression that Kee had close to 300 employees before the acquisition of the Spyder product line. Now they're at 170 after cutting 109 at the Clearwater plant. Did everyone at Kingman lose their jobs in the acquisition? That'd be awful.
Mechanical Marker Fan: Azodin Kaos-D / Tippmann Crossover
Posted 04 February 2014 - 08:55 PM
If you wanted fresh paint in tampa they were the ones to go to. This sucks.
Posted 07 February 2014 - 10:11 PM
Do their markers also come from this plant?
My Axe was made in Taiwan.
I think the guns are already made in Asia.
wow. What about PE guns?
Posted 18 February 2014 - 09:50 PM
Bob Long is the only USA only paintball producer that I know of.
Edited by Gremikins, 18 February 2014 - 09:50 PM.
Posted 19 February 2014 - 01:56 AM
PE guns are made in the UK
They might be assembled there, but I'm pretty sure they are machined in Taiwan, same as everybody else.
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