Maker of custom gun cases leaves California for Sparks |

Maker of custom gun cases leaves California for Sparks

NNBW staff

Thomas Bouthillier, president and chief executive officer of TnB Enterprises, knew he had to expand his business from a modest 10,000-square-foot facility in Hayward, Calif. However, Bouthillier was reluctant to take on any additional space or hire more employees because of high Bay Area rents and California workers compensation costs.

Instead, he chose to scale down his Hayward workforce and operations and relocate much of his business to northern Nevada.

TnB Enterprises recently leased 24,000 square feet of industrial space at 845 Deming Way in Sparks and hired 15 employees. TnB started in 1991 as a sheet metal contract manufacturer, but expanded into manufacturing a variety of custom powder-coated aluminum cases for guns and other uses.

The company’s primary customers for sheet metal contract work are Silicon Valley computer storage and computer machinery makers such as Hewlett-Packard, Bouthillier says. TnB will keep its Hayward office open with a staff of 15 to 20 employees to serve customers requiring quick turnaround times on custom orders.

Bouthillier, who has lived in Reno for the past eight years and runs his business from a home office, says he chose to relocate operations to Sparks because of northern Nevada’s cost of living, slower-paced lifestyle and business-friendly climate.

The company expanded into its Strong Case product line in 1998 after he made a custom firearm travel case for a friend. TnB Enterprises now offers more than 50 varieties of cases for firearms, archery and industrial uses.

TnB plans to display its Strong Cases at conventions such as Safari Club International and the Wild Sheep Foundation trade show.

“We cater to the hunting and shooting industries, and Nevada is gun-friendly,” Bouthillier says.

He says the cases have proven so popular among gun enthusiasts that production runs of 100 cases typically are sold before leaving the manufacturing floor. The cases are sold throughout the nation by two East Coast distributors, as well as on the company’s Web site.

Bouthillier says TnB plans on increasing its northern Nevada workforce to 45 or 50 employees by moving all production in-house and expanding its manufacturing capabilities. The company currently outsources some work such as powder coating and silk screening on metal. Currently, TnB Enterprises runs a day and swing shift.

Bryan Gardner with Reno Property Management assisted TnB Enterprises in its relocation efforts by locating a suitable space and negotiating lease terms, Bouthillier says. The industrial brokerage team at NAI Alliance represented the building’s owner. The Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada and the Nevada Commission on Economic Development also assisted TnB in its relocation. TnB is projected to have a one-year economic impact to the region of $13.5 million and a five-year economic impact of $74.2 million.