Stack-On Closes Two Chicago Factories, Blames Trump Tariffs

Stack-On is moving their U.S. factories to Mexico because, they say, Trump’s tariffs have made the plant unprofitable (Photo: Stack-On Facebook)

Gun safe maker Stack-On Products recently announced their decision to relocate two Chicago-area factories to Mexico in the wake of President Donald Trump’s tariffs on metal from China, according to the Chicago Tribune.

“The operation is really not profitable,” said Al Fletcher, human resources director for Stack-On’s parent company, Alpha Guardian. “Mr. Trump is part of this.”

The President announced in June his decision to impose tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum in an effort to support those industries in the United States. Since that time, the U.S. has imposed tariffs on $3 billion of Chinese steel and aluminum and has proposed tariffs on an additional $16 billion.

Fletcher said their decision to relocate their Chicago factories to Juarez, Mexico, came shortly after Trump announced his first set of tariffs. Both factories will close, affecting 153 jobs in manufacturing, warehouse, and administration. Office staff will have the opportunity to relocate to El Paso, Texas, across the border from the Juarez plant. Engineering and sales and marketing employees will be retained and relocated within the Chicago area, Fletcher told the Tribune.

Stack-On already operates a plant in Mexico and another in China.

The firearms industry has been largely silent on how Trump’s metal tariffs might affect business. Excepting a strange statement in February, Trump has staunchly defended Second Amendment rights even in the wake of high-profile school attacks in Florida and Texas. Trade organizations like the National Shooting Sports Foundation have thus far declined to choose between criticizing a pro-gun president and supporting policies that might cause gun manufacturers to raise prices.

The NSSF told GunsAmerica via email that tariff discussion in the gun industry has so far been limited, and they haven’t taken an official stance on this issue.

About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over four years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Waco. Follow him on Instagram @bornforgoodluck and email him at

{ 73 comments… add one }
  • Fireman451 August 26, 2018, 11:22 am

    Poor Stack-On. I suspect they were already in financial trouble before blaming President Trump for the tariffs.

    Why can’t they compete with the other US manufactures? After all they have factories in Mexico & China already?

    This is a typical greed story where one company wants to operate with no strings attached while others are going under for lack of trade balance. I say more tariffs stick it to stack on.

  • Dan August 25, 2018, 7:46 pm

    American Corporations relocate their manufacturing to other countries in order to exploit low wage workers, but still rely on the US Government to protect their assets in those countries. The American service men who provide that protection are unable to find jobs that pay a living wage when they get out because the Corporations whose assets they protect have chosen to provide jobs to foreigners instead!

  • Todd August 25, 2018, 6:22 pm

    So – either they’re telling the truth and can’t make money without dumped and subsidized import steel or they already were in trouble and are trying to make political hay out of it.

    Let’s see…… BOTH bad.

    Ta hell with Slack-On. Crappy “safes” anyhow.


  • Regis Berisko August 25, 2018, 5:22 pm

    I agree with the tariffs, Stack-on is off my list for safes. I already own two and now regret those purchase.

  • Stephen August 25, 2018, 11:54 am

    It’s not quite as simple as some think. Example: I work for a company that sells to mostly large US companies. After tariffs began US steel companies began raising their prices. This means we must raise our prices and that forced our customers to move from us to our competitors in South Korea and Vietnam. Neither of those countries are under tariff. We competed just fine with Asian competitors prior to the tariff and now we are losing to them. Will end up meaning a layoff of 40% of our company. I’m seeing this happen at many other companies. As a conservative it pains me to see our side using Democrat tactics, they are the ones who usually love tariffs.

  • Greg August 25, 2018, 8:28 am

    I have to believe Stack-on already had plans for this move. But this move may not work as well as expected for them. The tarriffs will go away, most likely within 6 months. Stack-on will be using Chinese steel, the steel that almost wiped out American steel. If a country does not produce their own steel it leaves that country vulerable to its enemies, which last I looked we have a somewhat strained cordial relationship with Communist China.
    President Trump will not let China use a backdoor to flood the American steel market thru Mexico or Canada or the EU so Stack-on’s products will be subject to tarriffs when their Chinese steel, Mexican made products cross the border into the American market. The only way their Chinese Steel Mexican made and their Chinese made products make sense is if those products were sold into countries other than the US,which might be Stack-ons plan.
    All of our cars that came into the US from Canada and Mexico are actually Chinese made. China made all of the parts and then shipped them to Canada and Mexico for assembly and ran them accross the border into the US market.
    What the President is doing is for National Security and a by product of that is Jobs for Americans, Stack-on is only concerned with their bottom line like most companies so a 25% tarriff may hurt US sales but their sales outside of the US may even things out. Getting out of Chicago was a good thing but time will tell if this move makes them more or less profitable.

  • darryl August 25, 2018, 1:19 am

    their just using this as an excuse to move to mexico for the cheaper labor. they would have done this anyway no matter what President Trump did or didn’t do.

    TRUMP 2020!!!!!

  • meeesterpaul August 24, 2018, 11:34 pm

    buh-bye Stack-on. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

  • Frank Staples August 24, 2018, 11:02 pm

    So what they’re really saying is that their cheap products are not made here out of American materials and they don’t want to do enough advertising to offset the possible drop in sales…sorry guys, but “made in America” should really mean something to gun owners. I will not be purchasing one of their safes any time soon.

  • JD August 24, 2018, 10:51 pm

    An excuse to move production to Mexico? Now let’s levy a tariff on Mexican gun safes, too.

  • Jim Cargill August 24, 2018, 10:51 pm

    Maybe Stack-On should have invested in development of American-made products, as well as Chinese….

  • ArvadaDude August 24, 2018, 7:58 pm

    I really wouldn’t say that Stack-On makes “Safes” so much as locking containers. They really aren’t that great so maybe they aren’t profitable because their product is so lackluster.

  • Alfred E. Numan August 24, 2018, 1:59 pm

    So the CEO is literally quoted as saying the tariffs on steel and aluminum are “part” of the decrease in profits and the author titles the article to state that Trump is being blamed for everything? If I buy a Chinese made MAGA hat can I write false and misleading articles for Guns America?

    The tariffs play a role in increasing production cost. It’s simple economics. Stackon sells a low cost product to consumers who want lost cost products. If they have to raise their price to maintain their profit margin they will be less attractive to consumers looking for cheap products.
    When the price of soybeans jumps 25% people must either pay more for the same quantity or purchase less for the same money. If people are buying less, the supplier sells less, their profits go down, their production has to be reduced, their cost of operating must also be reduced. Unless of course you shift the cost burden onto American tax payers in the form of a socialist, goverment hand out, to fix the problem the tariffs created in the first place.
    Perhaps Stackon should ask for a taxpayer funded subsidy? The commenters and the author might think Stackon should just raise prices, sell less of their product, and slowly spiral into bankruptcy rather than seek to maintain their profit margin.
    Here’s an idea, raise the minimum wage so people have more discretionary spending and charge a 10% sales tax on all imported goods. That way the American consumer wins regardless. Either companies will manufacture here to avoid the tax or they’ll manufacture elsewhere and lower their prices to compete with American made goods.

    • Obvious? August 24, 2018, 2:19 pm

      So you suggest to raise the minimum wage, which raises the operating cost of businesses, which causes them to raise their prices so that everyone, even those which didn’t get a raise from the minimum wage increase, can afford less. Where do the tariffs go? To the government and it funds social programs. The ability to tax is the ability to destroy and a tariff is just another tax.

    • deanbob August 24, 2018, 3:07 pm

      Are the tariffs permanent? We\’ll just have to wait to see if they are and what effect they\’ll have on other countries bargaining in good faith. How else do you suggest Trump (every other president has failed to rein in the tariffs by other countries) bring about an equal playing field? Why do these other countries refuse to drop their tariffs completely when Trump says we\’ll drop ours completely.

      • Alfred E. Numan August 24, 2018, 3:22 pm

        The tariffs need not be permanent to have an economic impact on a company, a farmer, or a consumer.

        Free trade agreements are good for corporations, consumers and anyone selling goods to whichever country the US has a free trade agreement with. They are also bad for people who rely on manufacturing jobs in the US.

        Even if another country drops their tariffs they aren’t necessarily stopping government subsidies to industries. Big oil companies, pharmaceutical giants, and the aero-space industry are a few examples of American government subsidies. Those should be eliminated if you want a completely neutral playing field. That would be true capitalism instead of the corporate welfare system that operates today.

  • J. Lloyd August 24, 2018, 1:49 pm

    Oh Lord, How are we going to absorb those 153 jobs in this booming economy? If I lived in Chicago I would be living in a safe a heck of a lot stronger than a Stack On. Those folks are probably glad that they might get the chance to move to a safer neighborhood….Jaurez looks pretty good compared to Chicago!

    • Joe Blow December 17, 2018, 3:15 pm

      Got news for you all. Much of this article, and so, much of all the speculation by you commenters, is not truth.

    • Joe Blow December 17, 2018, 3:16 pm

      Stack-On is not in Chicago.

  • Toscano August 24, 2018, 1:37 pm

    Mexico and China? Needless to say….what’s wrong with American steel? Oh, that’s right, it would cut into your profit margin and maybe curtail the use of your Montrose Harbor yacht! Like Harley Davidson (American made, my ass! They’ve had Chinese parts in them since 1973!) they abandoned the US. Ineed a larger safe, Stack-On isn’t on the list. Sell them to China!

    • ArvadaDude August 24, 2018, 8:00 pm

      I agree, you hit it on the nose.

  • James Lucas August 24, 2018, 1:18 pm

    It’s junk plain and simple. They think they are making a statement! Wow. Use American Labor to only build the best stuff.

  • Dan Thompson August 24, 2018, 12:40 pm

    What are the tariffs to send the finished product back into the US?

  • Gourdhead August 24, 2018, 12:33 pm

    No more stack on here.

  • MICHAEL OKELLY August 24, 2018, 12:25 pm

    cheap junk,never buy a stackon

  • Johnei August 24, 2018, 11:58 am

    These companies do not realize the damage they do by buying outside the US. The finished products should face the same tarrif coming back into this country from mexico.

  • Toprudder August 24, 2018, 11:52 am

    Illinois (D-Dick Durbin’s state) isn’t going to vote for Trumph anyway; so the loss of 153 jobs isn’t going to tip the balance in the Senate.

  • Chuck Johnson August 24, 2018, 11:29 am

    The article states that design and management will remain in Chicago, so this is really all about labor costs not tariffs. Stack On is adding additional BS to cover their cost based decision. Already made in Mexico and China. Boycott Stack On!

    • ArvadaDude August 24, 2018, 8:02 pm

      Yeah scum bags, I will boycott them. Adding to a list of Levi’s, Starbucks, Target, Dick’s Sporting Goods and any company that inserts their anti gun anti conservative crybaby crap into their product.

  • Jim Wentworth August 24, 2018, 11:16 am

    They should have moved out of Illinois a long time ago. Anyone in the firearms industry should be outside those states who are trying to curtail our rights.

  • Stern August 24, 2018, 11:12 am

    Well they may make money now that’s if anyone will buy them. My stack on days are over!

  • ScottF August 24, 2018, 11:12 am

    I’ve seen the crap quality of the cheap China steel they try to flood our market with here. If you are using it you are building junk.
    Stack On, tries to steal off of the reputation of SnapOn with their close naming. I owned a junky Stack On toolbox back when I first started out in the Auto repair industry. Low quality sh!+.
    So it’s obvious you aren’t buying American steel and aren’t going to as well. That should tell your customers a lot right there.
    Feel free to move to Mexico. Stay there. And sell your garbage to other countries. Bye

  • Andy August 24, 2018, 10:48 am

    If your company becomes unprofitable merely by not being able to use Mexican or Chinese steel (neither of which has ever been particularly good, too many impurities), then your business is too week, or you were undercapitalized to begin with. Also, the whole American economy, worker and consumer cannot be forced to deal with lopsided trade deals and leave its factories and workers dormant just so a few unpatriotic companies can widen their profit margin.

  • M. Cortes August 24, 2018, 10:47 am

    Well, either build them here or nowhere. Sorry to hear you care more about where your materials come from than your employees. America made should be first WORLWIDE !!!

  • M. Cortes August 24, 2018, 10:46 am

    Well, either build them here or nowhere. Sorry to hear you care more about where your materials come from than your employees. America made should be first WORWIDE !!!

  • Jay August 24, 2018, 10:43 am

    Why buy a safe from;
    a. a company that’s using cheap imported steel
    b. a company headed by whiny liberal weenies

    My safe was made by Browning. (Of course, I really don’t know anything about it’s building history and I got it back in the ’80s.)

    • Mark August 24, 2018, 1:34 pm

      I love how you think anyone that does something you don’t like must automatically be a liberal. He’s the CEO of a corporation that makes gun safes among other things but sure, he and all the other multi-millionaires who move their manufacturing out of America to save on labor and materials must be liberals. Everyone knows Republicans get their massive campaign contributions from single family farms that can’t be outsourced, right? It’s not like any of the massive global conglomerates like Haliburton, Pfizer, or Raytheon have Republican CEO’s, right? That’s just a given, of course no company that donates to the GOP has ever moved manufacturing outside of the United States. What color is your coolaid?

    • Edward Allen September 23, 2018, 11:47 am

      My first gun cabinet was a stack on. I learned from that error. I only store ammo in it now. I then invested in a high quality safe from Vault Pro. Made with American steel, so heavy, that even empty, you would cringe to think of moving it. 1,500 lbs of protection. So well made, you can’t even get a screw driver between the door and frame. Sure, I paid a lot more for it. But it is American craftmanship and durable.

      Stack On – go suck eggs.

  • T August 24, 2018, 9:54 am


  • D Durden August 24, 2018, 9:46 am

    There are several countries exempt from the steel and aluminum tariffs. That’s always an option.

    I share the general feeling here in that they are blaming Trump in order to justify moving to a low cost labor area. Meh, so be it. What would be interesting is that if one of the learned people here did a study to see how much the tariff is going to be to bring the safes BACK into the United States. Do they offset? If they’re close, they moved because of labor and not Trump.

    • Z August 24, 2018, 10:28 am

      NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. Do some reading.

  • Deadmeat99 August 24, 2018, 9:35 am

    Bad decision#1: locating factories in Chicago
    Bad decision #2: relocating to Mexico
    Bad decision #3: buying anything from Stack On

    It’s amazing how other safe companies can make a better product and still remain profitable.

  • DARKWING August 24, 2018, 9:23 am

    Stack-On already operates a plant in Mexico and another in China. That tells it all.
    Actually, I never knew they made gun safes, just that they made tool boxes. I have 2 gun safes at the time, plan to get another and all are made U.S.A. I am willing to pay a little more to keep jobs here and putting Americans to work. As more like product comes on the market due to competition, (stuff made here), then supply & demand will take over.

    • ArvadaDude August 24, 2018, 8:05 pm

      Not all the American Made safes are awesome but a few are really good. Cabela’s store brand is nice as are Roland and Rhino. Amsec used to be all American made but not all are now…. however they make good safes for sure. Winchester you would think are USA but I don’t think all are.

  • John M Denney August 24, 2018, 9:04 am

    Poor quality companies close everyday. With employment the way it is under Trump, I’m sure all of these people will find jobs.

  • Altoids August 24, 2018, 9:03 am

    Looks like Stack-On is headed down the tubes.

    If they make their safes that cheap, how effective are they in protecting your property?

  • John August 24, 2018, 8:25 am

    I bought a stack on safe and found you get what you pay fore I thought they are made in China from the way they are built. So if sales are down don’t blame Trumps Tariffs built quality and they will sell

  • gduckd August 24, 2018, 8:04 am

    Cheap labor sellout. Don’t forget about the protection money from the Cartels and law enforcement.. And then wait for one of your employees to get kidnapped while in the lovely Ciudad Juarez.

  • DaveP. August 24, 2018, 7:48 am

    Your factories were in one of the most marginal business environments in America but it’s Trump’s fault when they close. Riiight.

    And yeah, Free Trade means every country on the face of the earth can institute tariffs against American goods but we can’t do anything about it. Other nations can make goods with slave labor or pay five dollars a day, but we have to compete with a $15 minimum wage, and it’s okay when American manufacturing moves overseas ‘cuz Free Trade.
    Screw that. MAGA.

  • Tim August 24, 2018, 7:44 am

    Relocating to “Juarez Mexico”, Really? The crime and murder capitol of Mexico. That says all I need to know about this companies management. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. Let’s scrap NAFTA, raise the tariffs on Mexican made goods and let Stack on and their ilk peddle their goods somewhere else. Maybe all the millions of Chinese gun owners will by them. Lol!

  • Joe August 24, 2018, 7:27 am

    Stack on can fuck off !

  • perlcat August 24, 2018, 7:26 am

    I’m getting tired of businesses whoring themselves out and then blaming gov’t policies for them doing so. Exporting jobs to Mexico (or China, or wherever) wouldn’t be an option if their corporate leadership weren’t fundamentally shitty people.

  • Bob August 24, 2018, 7:16 am

    I don’t think any of you really understand the whole issue with the Tariffs, the real impact is they caused the 1929 stock market crash. Also there is a lot of companies that rely on certain types of high strength steels that are not produced in the USA.
    There are a lot of jobs on the line if this bullshit doesn’t come to an end. Remember the Billionaire’s benefit from a depression so they can buy things cheap.
    Lets give them more tax cuts so the middle class can be taxed even more to pay for their lavish toys.
    Several of the Corporations that have received billions in tax cuts have laid off thousands of workers after the tax cut.
    All is not what you see

    • KurtW August 24, 2018, 9:49 am

      I don’t think you really understand the whole issue with the Tariffs.

      All is not what you’ve been told you see….. but it’s easier than thinking.

      • Z August 24, 2018, 10:48 am

        He makes very valid points and Your counterpoint amounts to, “the truth isn’t the truth”, you dumbass. Don’t lecture anyone else’s about the need to think. I’d be happy to piss on your head and tell you it’s raining so you can say something like, “wow, this sudden downpour is very warm.”

    • Cory Schober August 24, 2018, 10:49 am

      The entire world uses tariffs to protect their industry only the USA sells out it’s own labor for profit stack on is crap there is nothing in the world we can’t make better

    • Mike Stuhr August 24, 2018, 11:22 am

      You didn’t get a tax cut? I did and was glad to get it.
      I am also glad to see someone take on all the one sided trade agreements made by BOTH parties.
      I seem to remember America hemorrhaging more jobs before Trump than after.
      I noticed more jobs coming in now than going out too.
      So far all the Democrat economic predictions of catastrophic GNP and employment under Trump have missed the mark.
      Trump’s 25% tariff doesn’t mean price will raise 25% on a Stack on safe. I have one behind me as I type. I’d be surprised if 25% of the metal in it would amount to 5-10 dollars a unit..

  • Jay August 24, 2018, 7:13 am

    They re going to loose more business now! Quite giving away America for a few bucks. Buy American, Make in America, Sell to who wants to buy America! Enough said! Americans are getting tired of sellouts!

    • Z August 24, 2018, 10:57 am

      Bro, they aren’t high end safes. If they import them from Mexico and charge even less, they’ll sell more of them, not fewer. The people who buy cheap products aren’t concerned about where they are made, they’re concerned about the price.

    • RJ August 24, 2018, 1:53 pm

      \”Americans are getting tired of sellouts!\”Better not buy any Trump products then. Or is it ok that their products are all made overseas?

  • EARL August 24, 2018, 7:10 am


  • Khiem August 24, 2018, 6:47 am

    Most Stack On safes are of such low quality and design that a 10 year old kid could open them with simple household tools in a few minutes! Don’t know how moving to Mexico will aid their American Business since the materials used are STILL low quality Chinese junk! In my small town we have a steel mill which is now running two 12 hour shifts since President Trump STOPPED the dumping of cheap steel from China via Turkey, Egypt and some EU countries! My next door neighbor works there and says without Chinese dumping they can compete with the Chinese and produce material that will pass Federal and State Requirements for bridges requiring high quality steel! Remember the recent bridge made in San Francisco was constructed with Chinese steel by Chinese Contractors and Chinese laborers, wonder how long it will last in that active earthquake environment?

    • The Gipper August 24, 2018, 3:15 pm

      Picture this, you live in a state that requires your guns be stored in a safe because you have children in the home and since you aren’t rich you buy the cheapest thing you can find to meet the regulation. Stackon.

  • Dr Motown August 22, 2018, 9:51 am

    So, choose American steel, raise the price proportionately, and advertise yourself as now being proudly American made…..nah, just flee to Mexico for cheap labor.

  • James E DIetz August 21, 2018, 12:31 pm

    Well, I guess trash the three stack on safes I have and purchase on large one made in the U.S.A.

  • Jaque August 20, 2018, 11:48 pm

    I don’t use their junk anyway.
    So they move to an existing Mexican plant. I wonder what they made in the US anyway, since they have existing plants in Communist China and Mexico. Maybe it’s a warehouse. Its Behind Enemy Lines in Chicago, Chinaand Mexico. Engineering they call one department. One PE maybe. Its sheet metal for gods sake. About as low tech as you can get.

  • Jimboecv August 20, 2018, 9:16 pm

    I don’t see this as a 2A issue. They make metal boxes. Does it suck people might/will loose jobs? Hell yeah. Stack-on’s business model is price-point (look where they get their raw materials and have other manufacturing facilities) so they move or change what they do and how they do it. Makes me wonder what they actually made here.

  • John R. Pyles 111 August 20, 2018, 9:00 pm

    So instead of buying American steel, they’ll move to mexico and expect Americans to buy crappy mexican made products made from inferior who knows the origin steel. this ceo is a loser, no more stack on in my house!

    • A.M. Mattson August 21, 2018, 5:18 pm

      so the ceo is a loser but you have stack on products in your house?

      • bison1913 August 24, 2018, 4:55 am

        A.M. Mattson… Read the comment… “No More” meaning he will not purchase anymore products made by Stack-On.
        Does not implicate any he currently owns.

        I’m doing the same.

        Why not do what Dr. Motown wrote in his post above. Makes a lot of sense.
        “So, choose American steel, raise the price proportionately, and advertise yourself as now being proudly American made…..nah, just flee to Mexico for cheap labor.”

        • Z August 24, 2018, 11:08 am

          The fact that he wrote “no *more* stack on in in my house!” indicates that he already owns their products and doesn’t intend to purchase any additional items of that brand. If he didn’t already own Stackon products he would have written something about not owning and/or never buying the brand.

      • Kenny Smith August 24, 2018, 10:45 am

        We really don’t want or need liberals on this post ! They screw up everything ! So go away quietly or just go away !

        • Z August 24, 2018, 12:01 pm

          Are you suggesting that the ability to apply reason and logic are associated with political ideology?

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