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The crew of 70 to 80 at Green Mountain Rifle Barrel. Many are long-time employees, and Green Mountain is the largest independent barrel manufacturer in the country. (COURTESY PHOTO)

CONWAY — Green Mountain Rifle Barrel Co. Inc. wants to give prospective employees a shot at work and a career.

The rifle barrel manufacturer located at 153 Main St. in Conway is now hiring for machine operators and experienced CNC machine operators.

This is a company where there is room for growth.

Kerry Smith, who is human resources manager, began as an office administrator, and Ray Shaw, the plant manager, started as a machine operator.

Here’s what they had to say about working at Green Mountain Rifle Barrel.

The day begins early.

“No nights, no weekends, great for anyone who likes to get up early. The shift begins first thing, 5 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Although there is the aroma of oil in the air and you are on your feet, positions are full time. After a 90-day probation period, employees earn one-week vacation and health benefits. After one year, we contribute 4 percent to a 401(k) retirement account,” stated Smith, who has been with the company for over 18 years.

Shaw added: "If you come in the door entry-level, there are many opportunities. It is exciting, and there is always something new, ever-changing. This requires metal working and craftsmanship.”

Shaw has been with Green Mountain Rifle Barrel for 20 years.

Both were enthusiastic about the company, its history and the manufacturing work crafted at the factory.

Green Mountain Rifle Barrel is the largest independently owned rifle barrel company in the U.S.

“We have been 44 years in the area. Branch Meanly started making rifle barrels in his garage in Effingham in 1976. He looked out of his garage and saw the Green Mountains, so he came up with the name,” explained Shaw.

In 2013, former general manager Rick Sanborn purchased the company from EBSCO of Birmingham, Ala. In 1995, Green Rifle Barrel moved from East Conway Road to its present location.

The barrel is a critical component, of course, to a rifle or pistol, and the rifle barrel company makes a lot of them. 

“We have contractual, proprietary work for the big gun companies, for dealers and distributors, and can push out approximately 20,000 barrels a month,” stated Shaw.

The retail store, which has been closed for a while due to the pandemic, just reopened to the public. The store follows all safety guidelines and COVID-19 protocols.

The coronavirus pandemic has posed some challenges.

“The plant has worked throughout the pandemic; we are considered an essential business and are lucky because our work space in the plant is normally distanced. We have masks, lots of sanitizer and bleach. We always cleaned; now we are cleaning more,” stated Smith.

The workforce numbers are down, though.

“Ideally, we would have 200 working and that would be with a second shift. Now we have 78-80 people and one shift,” stated Smith.

“The industry is volatile. We have not been this busy since 2016. There is an ebb and flow to the business. You have to have a healthy level to keep people working. We are turning away work because we can’t hire enough,” stated Shaw, adding when the pandemic first hit, they lost 40 percent of the workforce.

Shaw said they do everything they can to show appreciation to employees.

“People know it is hot in the summer and the plant is not climate controlled. On hot days, we hand out Popsicles to help keep electrolytes up,” stated Shaw.

Then there were the Christmas parties, pizza and doughnut parties and turkeys for Thanksgiving.

“Now we give gift cards to say thank you,” added Smith.

You could say Green Mountain Rifle Barrel is a factory family. Take, for example, when Smith was diagnosed with breast cancer four years ago. The entire staff donned pink baseball caps to show their support.

“We have a wonderful group and dedicated,” said Smith.

The support and empathetic ways trickle down from the owner.

“Our company is privately held. The owner, Rick Sanborn, is compassionate and empathetic,” stated Shaw.

“We have employees who have been here five years and 25 to 30 years,” added Smith.

 “Green Mountain team is more like a family. Everyone cares and helps each other. Rick is receptive to our recommendations. We are an employee-driven company,” concluded Shaw.

For employment information, call Kerry Smith at (603) 447-1095, Ext. 318 or email ksmith@gmriflebarrel.com.

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