By JESSICA LINDSEY, The Business Dispatch
COLUMBUS, Miss. (AP) — Three associates with a ardour for looking gathered round a small desk after a duck hunt in 2017 in an outdated Twenties type home surrounded by porcelain rabbits in Hackberry Flats, Oklahoma.
Over some chilly Miller Lites and a sizzling DiGiorno pizza, Jared Lewis, Nick Charney, and Jason Lonsberry started Apex Ammunition.
“I can keep in mind it to at the present time — we have been sitting at a small round desk with a porcelain bunny to my left … and this concept got here alongside,” Lewis instructed the Columbus Rotary Membership on Tuesday at Lion Hills Middle.
Lewis is the corporate’s chief working officer, and he served within the Military Nationwide Guard as an artillery officer the place he discovered about ballistics. Together with his coaching in area artillery, he used his experience within the enterprise they have been starting to create.
Although the corporate started in Oklahoma, its headquarters and a majority of its operations are in New Hope. Even with gives from different states like Kentucky to increase operations there, the three house owners don’t have any intentions to uproot the headquarters from the Golden Triangle. The truth is, they need to increase operations with a further facility in Columbus and double their Mississippi employees from 25 to 50.
“We’re increasing,” Lewis stated. “We’re nonetheless in my dad’s yard. We expanded from the unique store a few 12 months and a half in the past, and we’ve already outgrown that. We’re making an attempt to increase now within the Lowndes County area. I’m a giant supporter of Mississippi and Mississippi merchandise. We don’t wish to go away Mississippi, and we undoubtedly don’t wish to go away the county. That is the place we’re going to make our house. … We’re not leaving.”
Apex Ammunition was the primary within the ammunition market to incorporate tungsten tremendous shot, which is a tungsten-alloy materials that has a density that’s extra dense than lead. In response to Lewis, there are solely two metals on this planet which have a better density: gold and uranium. The individuality of Apex, nevertheless, is the shotgun shells are all hand-loaded.
Apex couldn’t patent its design, however they’ve set the marketplace for top-of-the-line TSS shells. To ascertain themselves because the premier TSS ammunition producer, Apex honed in on branding with a customer-first method.
“You may’t patent what we do, so we knew proper out of the gate that branding was important,” Lewis stated. “We have been first out there, which is why we transfer so quick. Then branding needed to come proper behind it. When federal and all people else began making an attempt to do what we do, it helped as a result of individuals have been bored with the dangerous customer support. That’s what we give attention to — the client first. They’re all doing it, however they’ll’t do it like we do.”
Regardless of having a enterprise centered round ammunition for looking, the three businessmen have solely hunted collectively twice — the preliminary assembly in 2017 after they began Apex and one time practically 10 months in the past. The three associates and enterprise companions met due to their wives, who’re all Air Drive pilots.
“We wouldn’t be right here with out (our wives),” Lewis stated. “Going again to Hackberry Flats, I had an excellent hunt there, so after I left (Mississippi) and moved to Kansas, I needed to return to hunt and hopefully have the identical end result as all the time. I known as Nick and Jason and requested in the event that they needed to go, and clearly they have been down. All of us get there, and Nick is messing with these little waterfowl hundreds that he had concocted that we now know as TSS.”
Due to their wives’ positions within the navy, and generally due to their very own, the three males have seldom been in the identical place. When Lewis was deployed to Syria, Lonsberry was in Germany, and Charney was in Turkey. Lewis’ father, John, took over the operations in Lowndes County.
With a product as distinctive as their hand-loaded TSS, Apex has landed a loyal buyer base. Apex boasts prospects corresponding to Donald Trump Jr., Luke Combs and Richard Childress.
“I keep in mind going to our first (Nationwide Wild Turkey Federation) conference in Nashville,” Lewis stated. “We have been sitting at our sales space, and I regarded as much as see a (lengthy) line ready to purchase our shells. We didn’t have a tax stamp on the time, so that they wouldn’t allow us to promote till the present opened. We had a man come as much as us and provide $500 for 5 containers, and I couldn’t do it as a result of he was breaking line in entrance of people, and that’s simply not the best way we function.”
On the present facility in Lowndes County, veterans make up a great portion of the employees. An American flag adorns the far wall and the employees completes the hand-loaded shells in a well-oiled meeting line the place the environment is mild and welcome. Lewis stated the corporate values integrity simply because the navy does.
“We’re integrity first, and that’s what plenty of navy persons are taught,” Lewis stated. “We’re not going to cost gouge. We’re going to set the truthful market worth and go from there.”
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