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Tippmann Sports will consolidate operations in FW

September 7th, 2012

News Coverage:
Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly

Tippmann Sports will consolidate operations in FW

DOUG LEDUC 

Friday, Sep. 07, 2012

A Fort Wayne-based paintball equipment company will consolidate its U.S. operations in the Summit City during the next 60 to 90 days, adding to its local work force.
 
Tippmann Sports announced late last month plans to relocate to its headquarters building at 2955 Adams Center Road all of the sales, marketing and administrative operations it currently has in Buffalo Grove, Ill.
 
The company employed a work force of 90 in Fort Wayne and nine in Buffalo Grove at the time of the announcement. It planned to relocate two employees from Buffalo Grove and hire three employees from the Fort Wayne area to handle work relocated from Illinois.
 
Locating marketing and sales operations near research and development “helps in new product development,” said Lori Sherwood, vice president and chief financial officer.
 
“It’s helpful to have those co-located so they can work together to determine what our new products should be. We always have new products in the pipeline. This will just help make it more efficient for the next year and following years.”
 
The company launched in February a new line of high-performance paintball goggles, a new high-performance paintball gun, or “marker,” and the new FT-12 Flip-Top marker that originally was sold to paintball arenas and fields and can be serviced without tools in less than a minute. Early last month, Tippmann began selling the FT-12 to paintball enthusiasts.
 
The semiautomatic .68-caliber F-12 reduces the time required for maintenance by 75 percent and “has been one of the most talked about paintball innovations of 2012,” Denny Tippmann Jr., chief technology officer, said in a statement.
 
Making the most of a product launch that features new technology is important in the paintball industry because there has been more competition for discretionary spending since the recession.
 
Often, paintball enthusiasts find themselves spending money on paintball field entrance fees, travel to and from the site, compressed-gas cannister refills, as well as paintballs and markers or rental equipment. With those costs, “it’s not an inexpensive sport to play,” Sherwood said.
 
“Our target probably is males 15 to 25 years of age, and they have a higher-than-average rate of unemployment and there’s not as much discretionary income to spend on paintball,” she said.
 
And the industry has not escaped trends affecting sporting-goods sales, which generally have been declining. It’s “just as a function of what kids and adults are choosing to do with their time,” she said. “Many are choosing to spend more time indoors.
 
The paintball industry has seen a slight decline in revenue from marker and equipment sales in the United States, but in Europe, where it has not matured quite as much, sales are growing about 1 percent, Sherwood said.
 
Tippmann opened a warehouse and sales office in Tournai, Belgium, in 2009, which employs a small work force that will not be affected by the consolidation.
 
In a statement on the changes, Howard Kosick, Tippmann’s president and chief executive officer, said companies “are making tough business decisions every day to better position themselves for the new economic realities in which we all operate.
 
“We believe having one U.S. location will make the organization more cohesive and we look forward to continuing our leadership position in paintball for many years to come.”
 

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