Estill, S.C. — The South Carolina Manufacturing Extension Program (SCMEP) has earned several titles during its 22 years worth of service to the state. Partner. Problem solver. Innovator. Resource provider. Commercial authority.
Here’s another: Rejuvenator.
SCMEP has proved itself as a solid, strategic ally for small, mid- and large-sized state companies. The team of local manufacturing and industrial professionals injected life back into struggling organizations, as well as helped the already-profitable find their way to a few extra dollars.
And to say “a few” is being modest. Just in the past four years, SCMEP clients have reported more than $1.25 billion in overall impact to the state economy.
The list of clients includes companies like Scabbard Technology, the nation’s leading maker of gun containment devices. Scabbard leaned on SCMEP to upgrade its Web site (www.scabbard.com)-including the addition of 3D product animation, locate a dealer, and improve its e-commerce store. In June 2010, just one month after launch of the new site, Scabbard recorded its best-ever month of sales. “SCMEP has a great network of professional people,” says Scabbard founder Randy McCrary. “They’re out here to help all businesses, especially the smaller ones.”
The Safety Scabbard
McCrary introduced the Safety Scabbard about nine years ago. From humble beginnings and word-of-mouth promotion, the product’s reputation took hold.
The Safety Scabbard offers the ultimate firearm protection; it’s the only gun containment system of its kind. The Safety Scabbard’s patented, latching mechanism and tailored mounts accommodate all styles of rifle or shotgun: over and under, side-by-side, pump action, auto action or scope-mounted. It’s the real deal, built to wedge any gun in place, to any vehicle, over the most rigorous or demanding of terrains.
The Safety Scabbard secures the trigger first, concealing it within rigid, aluminum housing. A soft, weatherproof liner absorbs any reverb or vibrations, while a webbed barrel strap, and oversize hook and loop clasps fasten the weapon. The design creates a nearly impenetrable lock, which makes it almost impossible to access the gun. The muzzle remains in an upright position- emphasizing safety, protection and efficiency. And it works with any mode of transportation: ATVs, cars, trucks, jeeps, tractors or boats.
The Scabbard Legend
Due to word-of-mouth, The Safety Scabbard was gaining attention, yet McCrary wanted to figure out a way to increase market penetration, and diversify his business. However, the Estill, S.C., resident also wanted to stay true to his message and roots.
After all, McCrary dreamed up the Safety Scabbard out of necessity. Too often, the lifelong outdoorsman had witnessed rifles inadvertently tumbling out of trucks or ATVs following afternoons of hunting. The problem: The guns weren’t secured correctly, and they certainly weren’t safe, not when bumpy or rough terrain could jostle the weaponry loose, causing them to fall off the trucks into open fields or woods.
The breaking point came after McCrary and a friend had just finished a day of quail hunting. When they returned to their lodge, they found their guns — a pair of classic, almost irreplaceable, Browning “Sweet Sixteens” — had disappeared from the racks of the truck bed. They looked everywhere, and realized the guns had slipped out without them knowing it.
They backtracked and found the guns close to a crossing near a wooden bridge. McCrary was relieved — and inspired. Almost at once, he understood what was required: the means to keep his guns fastened and protected. His mission was twofold: to protect others, including his family and young children from regrettable injury, and to protect his valuable guns from damage. Soon after, the Safety Scabbard was born. “There’s really no other competition,” McCrary says. “A lot of these guys — they might spend $25,000 on shotguns, and they don’t want them to get beat up or damaged.”
Even with the product’s breadth, Scabbard’s margin eventually dwindled. McCrary considered going out of the country for product manufacturing. Then he visited SCMEP, a previous partner in other business endeavors. “We employed their wisdom to give me help in deciding what to do,” McCrary says.
SCMEP turned to its Charleston, S.C., based marketing division, which began an analysis of Scabbard’s Web site, tracking sales and costs. The old site was “decent,” McCrary admits, though difficult to navigate. Accordingly, SCMEP went about redefining the web site.
SCMEP immediately proposed a dealer locator, an advantageous route for merchants and clients. The site’s 3D renderings better illustrated the product and the striking differences between the Safety Scabbard and its competitors. New imagery and photography captured the Scabbard’s benefits, greatly improving the e-commerce store, and allowed McCrary to develop a new cost and pricing structure.
SCMEP even plied testimonials from clients such as Sean Hader, who writes: “I have a lot of friends involved in quail hunting who, when they compare my gun holder to the metal, bulky, rusty junk they have– are making the switch to the Safety Scabbard! I guarantee you can’t go wrong!”
It’s doubtful that McCrary could have said it better himself. And with SCMEP’s support, he won’t have to.