The latest state asking Remington Arms to leave Ilion is now Arizona. An Arizona congressman is calling New York “a very hostile business environment,” and is inviting the gun-maker to load up and leave our state.
Eyewitness News visits with Ilion businesses about what they are calling the “unimaginable.” 2 Ilion restaurant owners and they say they’re quite concerned. Not only do Remington employees make up a large percentage of their customer-base, but they say if it happens, the ripple effect of the gun-maker leaving would be devastating.
“What would happen to your business if Remington Arms left Ilion?” says Rachel Polansky, Eyewitness News reporter.
“We would close. We’ve already seen a decline in business,” says Sally Preston, Village Deli owner.
“Honestly it would probably sink my business,” says Kathryn Fischer, Franco’s Pizza owner.
These two restaurant owners say the Ilion economy relies on Remington. About one-third of their customers are Remington employees.
“We do get quite a bit of the gentlemen coming in for lunch,” says Preston.
“We mold our day around Remington Arms. We have noon and 7:30 and those moments are literally focused around those employees and feeding them,” says Fischer.
But since the governor enacted the New York Safe Act just 3 weeks ago…
“We’ve already seen where the guys don’t come in for lunch like they used too. New York state has just made it harder and harder and harder and this is just another step that makes it harder for us,” says Preston.
And both owners say they’ll lose more than their business if Remington leaves.
“We have 2 sons and a future son in law that are employed over there. The middle son, he’s got a wife and a baby and a baby on the way,” says Preston.
“Many friends right now especially that have decided to start their lives and have children. Now they’re fearful that in 2 or 3 years, they’ll no longer have a job to support that child,” says Fischer.
Fischer says Remington has made threats in years past, but she’s never been as concerned as she is today.
“We’ve dealt with the threats numerous times before but there were never laws backing those threats,” says Fischer.
At this point, they say it’s a waiting game…
“We’re hoping for the best, really that’s all i can tell you. We pray every day that they still there,” says Preston.
We do want to make it clear that Remington has not made any decisions at this point. But as we told you last week, there are at least 5 states that have made relocation offers to the gun-maker.