By Eric Peterson / CompanyWeek | Oct 08, 2015
St. George, Utah
St. George, Utah
Employees: about 90
Tony's grandfather, Raymond Berry, started Berry's Manufacturing in Southern California, making fully loaded ammunition. Early on, the factory was Raymond's garage, then a Quonset hut, then an old chicken farm.
After an on-the-job accident blinded Raymond in 1970, his son and Tony’s dad, Gilbert, bought the company and stopped making loaded ammunition to focus on projectiles to supply the reloaders.
In the early 1990s. Gilbert moved the company to Utah. "It was here or Texas, and this is where we landed," says Tony, who joined the family business full-time in 1997. "It went from chicken coops to where we are now."
And that's a good place to be: From a campus of four buildings that comprise 32,000 square feet of space in all, Berry's now makes "50 different shapes and styles" of projectiles for the ammunition industry, Tony says, as well as manufacturing equipment and consumer accessories like pistol cases and ammo boxes.
Projectiles represent about 75 percent of the company's total sales, as production has soared to about 40 million bullets a month -- up from 6 million in 2009.
"We have some of the highest-quality plated bullets out there," touts Tony, describing a catalog that includes rifle bullets, pistol bullets, hollow points, and muzzleloader bullets. He says the company's restrike process makes them "very true."
While Berry's primarily sells to the reloaders who make fully loaded ammunition, there's also a secondary consumer market. "We sell to Cabela's and all those stores for home reloaders," says Tony, estimating that about 15 percent of projectile sales go to consumers. "Our main focus is growing Berry's on the reloading side to supply the industry."
The equipment side of the business offers new products like tumblers for deburring projectiles and rotary sifters for sorting them. Tony says he has high hopes for the latter. "We think it's going to be really big in the reloading industry."
Berry's sales have grown by double-digit percentages for six years running. "The market's gotten a lot stronger," says Tony.
Under the umbrella are two companies: Berry's Manufacturing and Berry's Injection Molding and Plastic, which was split from the parent in 2001. "We build all of our molds," says Tony. "We have moldmakers on staff."
While serving the ammunition industry is the priority, Berry's has also sought out work in other industries to fill out the company's capacity. "We went out and grabbed jobs from around the area," says Tony, citing work in the automotive, medical, and electronics industries.
Challenges: "Constant improvement," says Tony. "Safety and quality are our two big hitters there." He says such investments pay off intangibly. "It's money you're spending and you can't see if it's making you money. That's something we struggle with all the time."
Opportunities: Innovation. "To continue to introduce new products all the time," says Tony. "You've just got to always improve your products."
Needs: Talent, says Tony. "We're always in need of a good machinist or moldmaker. We always enjoy it when one walks through the door."
St. George "can be a little tough," he adds. In this context, training is critical. "We've got more homegrown machinists we're teaching than we do machinists. We find them and bring them in and raise them to be good machinists."