North American Arms is pleased to announce that today (04/26) it became an employee-owned company. After a 30-year run as president/owner of this manufacturer of “Convenient, Reliable, Effective” mini-revolvers and small semiautomatic pistols, Sandy Chisholm has sold the company to an Employee Stock Ownership Trust which, over the course of the next “several” years, will annually distribute equity ownership pieces of the company to the employees of NAA, at no cost to the employees. This is intended to be a retirement and motivational vehicle.
Chisholm explained that he chose this means of exit for several reasons. First was his interest in sharing the success of his small business with the employees who were responsible for building it. “As many people know, I’ve been a very remote owner since I purchased the business in 1992. I have lived in both suburban Philadelphia and now Naples FL, which is some distance from the factory’s location in Provo, UT. While I’ve made literally 100s of trips over the years to visit the facility and my employees, I’ve always depended heavily on those at the factory to operate the business. Apart from financial support and enthusiastic encouragement, my contributions have been very modest”.
Chisholm also acknowledged his interest in maintaining the business’s independence and stability in the Provo community. “Yes, I’ve had several unsolicited “expressions of interest” from other manufacturers in the firearms industry. NAA dominates its small niche for concealed carry firearms and enjoys an over-sized brand and reputation for quality and customer service that would burnish any other manufacturer’s reputation. Unfortunately, that would almost certainly lead to a relocation of this business and the loss of jobs for all those who I want to protect and reward”, he added. “This route assures that stability”.
I believe I am leaving NAA with an exceptional management and leadership team that will provide for continued growth and success. Mike Griffin as President and CEO and the capabilities of the rest of the team allows me to be very comfortable and excited with this decision.
In addition to the promise of a substantial retirement benefit, this arrangement also incentivizes all the employees to “act like owners”, as they will be the direct beneficiaries of any quality and productivity improvements they may be motivated to deliver. “While bittersweet in some respects, I couldn’t be more pleased with the promise of this transition, both for my appreciated and valued employees, as well as for our customers”.
Chisholm hastens to add that he will remain active on the boards of NAA and of the two industry associations, NSSF and SAAMI, and that you can expect to see him manning the NAA booth at trade shows for several years to come. “I’m not done with this industry yet”, he concludes.