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Politics and Government

Recently passed defense bill will likely double or triple business at CNY company

Ellen Abbott
Greg Owens, CEO of Sherrill Manufacturing

Legislation that will boost business for an Oneida County cutlery manufacturer is waiting for the president's signature. The SPOONSS Act was attached to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that passed the House and Senate this week.

The bill will require the Department of Defense to only buy stainless steel flatware made in the United States.  That’s a big boost for Sherrill Manufacturing, which is the country’s only remaining flatware maker. CEO Greg Owens said they currently only sell forks, knives and spoons to the Navy.

"But we’re hoping to expand that business to the Army, the Air Force, and other branches of the military, other branches of government, and double or triple the volume we’re doing," Owens said.

Up to a dozen new jobs will be created because of the new business. Owens said this is a contract that can keep his company busy during the lean times of the year for selling flatware.

"40 percent of our sales take place during a 90-day period. The DOD business tends to take place during the summer, which is a slower time for retail sales," he said. "So the fact that this is growing along with other business just stabilizes things."

Beyond boosting his business, Owens said it can be a template for reversing the trend of American jobs going to China.

"And it’s not just the big corporations, the Boeings, the Lockheeds, and these type jobs.  It’s small businesses like Sherrill Manufacturing, by the thousands that, if we start making consumer products again, we’ll actually be able to get something done, and create these jobs that have been lost."

President Trump said he would sign the NDAA into law "immediately" after passing the Senate, but he has not signed it yet.