Weatherby Opens New Headquarters in Wyoming

On a warm day last summer, a nearly three-year process progressed to the next phase as Weatherby, Inc., officially opened its new facility in Sheridan, Wyoming. The Grand Opening activities, held on June 13, welcomed more than 5,000 people for a public celebration featuring facility tours, gun raffles supporting local conservation organizations, and an official ribbon-cutting ceremony in true Wyoming fashion with rodeo queens carrying the state and U.S. flag and a Weatherby 18i shotgun salute. The day marked the turning point in the move of the nearly 75-year-old family business from California to the more business-, tax-, and firearms-friendly state of Wyoming.

During the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Wyoming Business Council chief executive officer Shawn Reese read from an email sent by Adam Weatherby just two years, eight months, and six days prior to the opening. The subject line simply stated, “Time to get out of California.” That email kicked off what became known as the Enterprise Project in order to keep the potential move a secret. What followed was nearly a year of evaluating locations and working with the office of then-governor Matt Mead, the business council, and eventually the local Sheridan Chamber of Commerce to come up with economic incentives to make such a big move feasible.

After the details were finalized, Adam and his father, past company president Ed Weatherby, announced their plans during SHOT Show 2018, and commenced the year-long process of building the new headquarters. At 75,000 square feet, the resulting building is nearly twice the size of the California facility and offers 40 percent more capacity for increased manufacturing and product lines. Underneath the manufacturing floor are a 100- and a 300-yard underground rifle range. In addition, there is a visitors center with photos and memorabilia from the company’s history and Roy Weatherby’s hunts, alongside a custom glass-front gun safe with a selection of some of the more iconic custom Weatherby rifles. There is also a retail shop that showcases every Weatherby firearm for direct purchase, along with other Weatherby products and local artisans’ crafts.

The Weatherby family believes that the move to Wyoming has been in the cards for years; the family had considered the move under Ed’s leadership more than 20 years ago. In addition, during the 2018 Wyoming Governor’s One-Shot Antelope Hunt, Adam and Governor Mead discovered that in 1965, their grandfathers (Roy Weatherby and Mead’s grandfather, who was governor at the time) had also hunted together on the antelope hunt. However, transitioning such a long-standing business was a risk. Brenda Weatherby, Adam’s wife and the company’s director of people and culture, says only 18 of 70 employees were actually willing and able to make the move. However, an unanticipated bonus of the move to Sheridan was the quality of the new workforce. Tapping into local talent and reaching out to the shooting sports industry, the company was able to fill the open positions easily.

—Jodi Stemler