On Monday’s VFTD post Baca Loco pointed his readers to a very, very interesting interview of Richmond Italia and Tom Cole (GI Milsim and Kingman, respectively) by Blast Radius Woodsball Podcast. The 1hr 15minute podcast is an extremely educational bit on a lot of the controversy surrounding the .50 cal and the rest of the most debated issues of recent months. One of the major statements that can be extracted from the interview is Richmond Italia’s clarification of the state of Smart Parts.
The host of the show asked directly from Richmond the following question:
“I heard Smart Parts was closing its doors next year and GI Milsim is looking at buying the rights to the Impulse and SP1.” […]”Richmond, how can you respond to that?”
“Auumm… OK. First answer: Smart Parts will be closing their doors as far as MANUFACTURING IN THE U.S goes. They have gone over and beyond to attempt to keep their manufacturing in the U.S, to the point that it was financially detrimental to both Gardner brothers.” […] “So where they sit right now, I DO believe they’re re-evaluating their whole business. They have definitely shut down manufacturing in the U.S AS WE SPEAK and I do believe they’re exploring manufacturing in the Orient, right now.” (Emphasis from the interview)
Richmond also further emphasized the Gardners’ effort for domestic production, and stated that the GI Milsim line would have one marker based on the Luxe platform that would be domestically manufactured, even though the rest of the GI line would be manufactured in Asia. Richmond did not directly address the Impulse & SP1 part of the question, but the Luxe-platform referral implies significant cooperation. He was also carefully avoiding the word “bankruptcy”. Additionally, it can be inferred (though with a bit of a stretch) that as the Gardners are looking to find production possibilities from Asia – where GI Milsim already operates – the cooperation and ownership arrangements can be deeper intertwined than was directly admitted at this point. But, the group of people that is actually relevant is a mere handful, I think.
We will comment on the other issues covered in the interview in a later post.