Ithaca Gun making a comeback – in Ohio

By Steve Piatt Contributing Writer

Upper Sandusky, Ohio — Ithaca Gun, the legendary company that
closed its doors last year after more than 120 years in business,
has been resurrected by two Ohio businessmen.

Craig and Floyd Marshall late last year purchased the rights to
the Ithaca Gun name, as well as its designs and inventory, and are
now doing business as Ithaca Guns USA in their Upper Sandusky,
Ohio, manufacturing facility.

It’s another chapter in the lengthy saga of the storied
gunmaker, which seems to have nine financial lives, having emerged
from a trio of bankruptcies in the past two decades.

A group of seven investors closed the struggling Ithaca Gun Co.
– which had since relocated to Auburn, N.Y., upon emerging from a
bankruptcy – last summer amid mounting losses, missed loan payments
to Cayuga County, and several years of overdue federal excise tax
payments.

The previous investors were hoping someone would step up in
purchasing the company name and resuming production in central New
York.

Half of that happened. The Marshalls, owners of MoldCraft, a
mold and tool manufacturing company in Upper Sandusky, completed
the purchase Dec. 9. Several tractor-trailer loads of files,
drawings, fixtures, and parts were then trucked from the Auburn
site to Ohio.

“I’ve carried an Ithaca all my life, since I was 12,” said Craig
Marshall, who is in business with his father, Floyd. “I bought one
last August from a local dealer and he actually told me it was for
sale. I had no idea at the time.”

From there, Marshall – whose MoldCraft company had been “hit
hard by outsourcing” – began the negotiations that ultimately led
to the purchase of the Ithaca name, trademarks, technical drawings,
and inventory.

“I’ve been a gun nut since I was a kid, and it’s like a dream
come true for me,” said Craig Marshall, an avid sportsman and
Columbus native. “It’s going to take some time, but we’re really
excited with the support we’ve received. People are tickled to
death Ithaca is continuing on, and it was important for us to keep
it in the States.”

The previous investors, Marshall said, rejected a higher offer
for the company that would have sent manufacturing overseas.

And while the company has relocated to Ohio, there will be at
least some ties to New York. “Our wood will still come from the
Finger Lakes region; those guys have some beautiful walnut out
there,” Marshall said.

Marshall said he plans to bring some of the technology from the
mold industry into the gunmaking for use in areas like Ithaca’s
recoil system.

The company, at its 30,000-square-foot facility, is already
building a variation of the famed Model 37 pump shotgun and plans
to redesign and build the Model 51 autoloader, the NID double and
perhaps the Knickerbocker trap shotgun.

Marshall said they’re already using a better grade of steel in
their manufacturing process.

“We’re going to be all about quality,” he said. “And we think
it’s important to keep jobs here in the States. It’s particularly
important to our company, which has been hurt by outsourcing.”

Last summer’s closure came after an anticipated deal with a
Rhode Island investor fell through. At that time, it seemingly
marked the final chapter in the history of the gunmaker that had
been manufacturing shotguns since 1880.

Known for its affordable and durable Deerslayer and Deerslayer
II shotguns, the company was on shaky financial footing for the
past two decades.

A costly federal lead cleanup program – where spent lead shot
was disposed of on land near Ithaca Falls – which carried a price
tag of about $4 million, added to the company’s troubles.

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