Adel Jamil is committed to manufacturing in the United States — particularly Manatee County. For him, the U.S. is not only the greatest nation in the world, but also the best market for his products.
Jamil is the CEO and owner of C Products Defense, a maker of stainless steel ammunition magazines for handguns and assault-style rifles. It sells to original equipment manufacturers and distributors.
Jamil’s company has been steadily building its workforce and market share since moving to an industrial park on Saunders Road five years ago. Now, with a $2 million overseas contract pending, the company is about to build a new factory in Manatee County.
Jamil, who grew up in Lebanon, bought the then- 8-year-old, Connecticut-based C Products Defense out of bankruptcy in 2011. Having worked in New York for over three decades, Jamil looked to Florida as a place to grow his company. His small arms export company had been buying ammunition magazines from C Products for a couple years. Jamil was certain the company’s products had a future.
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He and his wife, C-Products Defense co-owner Carol Jamil, rebooted the company to cater to a big domestic market for magazines and growing overseas demand. They knew their durable, precision product had wide appeal, but they needed to find a place that wanted the manufacturing operation. Connecticut didn’t, Jamil said, but Florida, and specifically Manatee County, did.
“I was looking for a business-friendly state and Florida came to mind,” he said.
"Incentivized" is a weekly feature published Mondays in the Bradenton Herald that looks at local companies that have received public incentive money. It also looks at how the assistance paid off in terms of job creation.
Manufacturing was new to Jamil, but firearms were not. Still, going from seller to producer was tough, especially in 2011. Banks didn’t want to lend to him, since the company was essentially a startup. On top of that, less-expensive ammunition magazines already on the market were being produced with labor costs as little as 5 percent of what he would have to pay in the U.S.
When the company got its Florida restart in an 18,000-square-foot industrial space off Saunders Road, it turned to automation to keep costs down. Even so, it had an ambitious hiring goal of 50 workers. Today, having produced over 2.5 million magazines at its 6115 31st St. E. factory, it is still building toward that total.
Manatee County has helped his business along the way. C Products Defense received the first $13,000 payment this year toward a $50,000 incentive award the county gave it for its promise to create those jobs. The company also could receive a $20,000 award for jobs created after 2018.
To keep the money, the company must maintain those positions for at least five years. Jamil said that has presented some difficulty. A few years ago, the C Products Defense workforce peaked at 40 workers. Fluctuations in the firearms market led to a number of layoffs. The company is working to build more stable product demand by adding a line of pistol magazines to the rifle line the company started with.
They’re not supposed to finance my business.”
C Products Defense CEO Adel Jamil
County officials are also speeding the permitting process for the C Products Defense’s 45,000-square-foot manufacturing facility, scheduled to break ground in August in the Manasota Industrial Park. The company will get further assistance with the $2.5 million project through a reduction in its impact fees. Karen Stewart, the county’s economic development program manager, said the county’s board of commissioners also voted in April to pay $31,090 toward those fees. As part of the deal, the company must add five more jobs to its workforce.
The new building will also house Jamil’s Essex International Trading Inc. The company exports about 65,000 shotguns to 85 countries annually.
While the actual amount of cash the county is paying Jamil to grow C Products Defense is small compared to his total investment, he said it demonstrates a commitment. That, he said, keeps him in Manatee County.
“They’re not supposed to finance my business,” he said. “It shows that they care about my business.”
Carol Jamil said the county program provides a focus on job creation.
“You’re supporting families,” she said. “You’re creating jobs in the community.”
C Product Defense’s client list includes numerous small arms makers including Smith & Wesson, Ruger and Remington. The company is also contracting to supply foreign police forces and militaries.
Adel Jamil said that even while he sells overseas, he is not tempted to take advantage of lower production costs there. He keeps almost every aspect of his production domestic, including the tool and die work new products require.
“I’m a strong, strong believer in manufacturing,” he said. “Our country will never become strong again if we don’t increase manufacturing.”
Information about the C Products Defense product line is available at its website.
INCENTIVES AT A GLANCE: C Products Defense
Location: 6115 31st St. E., Bradenton,
Incentive approved: 2014
Incentive amount: $101,090
Incentive money received: $13,000
Projected job growth: 50
Projected average wage: $37,795
Projected capital investment: More than $2.5 million
Starting employment: Zero
Current employment: 22
Source: C Products Defense, Manatee County