Henry Repeating Arms Continues to Innovate

Henry Repeating Arms is listening to requests from all sides and helping dealers better serve their customers.

Henry Repeating Arms Continues to Innovate

Henry Repeating Rifles All Weather Lever Action is one of the newest additions to the company's lineup, coming in response to demand from customers and dealers. 

A few years ago, Shooting Sports Retailer interviewed Anthony Imperato, CEO of Henry Repeating Arms. At the time, Henry was celebrating the 20th anniversary of its founding on the simple principle of made in America or not made at all. With hundreds of models to choose from today, the company is continuing to innovate well beyond its initial lever-action rimfire, handgun and rifle models.

The Henry brand has become a high-quality collectible firearm sought by shooters, with many customers even owning several versions of the same rifle. Henry has carried through the quality and value of those models originally introduced just over 20 years ago into a variety of Tribute models, Silver receiver, Single Shot, Long Ranger, New Original and now shotgun and side loading models.

Imperato provided a bit more insight into the new products and innovation at Henry.

SSR: What has changed in how Henry goes to market with its products?

Imperato: We no longer announce a new model until our distributors have the new models in stock. We found that there was frustration for dealers and customers when we started talking about new products that no one could buy yet. If a customer or dealer sees a new product from us now, they can get that fulfilled immediately through our distributors. This new process gives us peace of mind that customers will not have the frustration of waiting months for the new product to actually arrive.

SSR: How is Henry developing all these new product ideas?

Imperato: We always encourage customers and dealers to reach out to us and I openly publish my email just for that purpose. New product ideas are constantly coming in from customers and dealers. In the last few years we have created a New Product Committee to sort and rank all the incoming ideas. This also allows us to see where our internal ideas overlap with what the market is requesting. We have a few examples of this new product innovation process in action.

Our team created the new X and Axe models based on reactions to the marketplace for similar firearms. The Lever Action Axe .410 is essentially a blued steel Mare’s Leg in .410 with a side loading gate. The name is derived from its distinctive axe-handle pistol grip. It doesn't fit neatly into a category like hunting or home protection, but it’s a compact package that is a lot of fun to shoot, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Anthony Imperato, CEO of Henry Repeating Arms
Anthony Imperato, CEO of Henry Repeating Arms

The X Models are a response to customers wanting the ability to add a light or other accessory for hunting and home protection. The X models will be available in .45-70, .410, .357 Mag. .45 Colt and .44 Mag. We teased a concept similar to these at the 2017 NRA Annual Meetings in Dallas, and the demand hasn't stopped since. It's a versatile rifle that people can modify as they see fit thanks to the picatinny and M-LOK slots on the stock. It comes with fiber-optic sights out of the box.

We had a lot of customer requests for a 6.5 Creedmoor so we introduced a Long Ranger in 6.5 Creedmoor. The result is that it has been our best-selling caliber in the Long Ranger series. The team also created the American Eagle .22 S/L/LR with an ivory furniture look. A few of us saw a Winchester with an ivory stock and thought it looked sexy with the look of westward expansion.

The Garden Gun was an idea from a dealer who reached out to us and said if we made it they could sell a boatload of them. We listened to the dealer and this is exclusively an unrifled .22LR shotshell gun for pest removal. The gun has sold really well and is a very unique pest removal gun.

We have a huge number of requests for side-gate-loading rifles and decided it was time and introduced the Side Gate Lever Action Rifle in .30-30, .38-55, .35 Rem, .45-70 rifle calibers and .410 models. We had a huge pent up demand for a side-loading-gate Henry with a lot of customers saying that until we have a side loading gate, they would not buy a Henry. So now we have both. Customers have a choice of using either the side or tube magazine for loading. Customers will see it in many different calibers.

Another dealer suggestion was the Side Gate Lever Action Shotgun .410 Bore, and it has really sold. The Sidegate .410 has a fixed full choke with a 19.8-inch barrel and the Steel .410 models have a longer 24-inch barrel option with cylinder-style choke.

As you can see, the New Product Committee has been busy. We also have a Texas Tribute Edition and Golden Boy Silver Youth that was just released at the end of 2019.

SSR: How has Henry grown over the years and has the DNA of the company changed?

Imperato: We have now grown to 575 employees with two facilities and we are seeing consistent growth year after year. We were founded on the principle that our firearms should be made in America or not made at all. We have extended that philosophy to even our accessory and promotional items like banners, floor mats and our coffee mugs, which are all also American made. We certainly could reduce cost; however, we believe this would be unacceptable with our commitment to American-made products.

We have continued to strengthen the extraordinary service that we have been known for with our dealers and customers. Customers and dealers can talk to live people instead of being shuffled off to a customer service system. We continue to have an agenda to support Second Amendment, wildlife conservation programs, youth programs and charities. We want to keep these shooting traditions alive for generations to come and be good corporate citizens in the community.

We have been so fortunate that we want to continue to give back, such as with our “Guns for Great Causes” program. This program supports sick children cases, veterans’ hospitals, and first responder programs. We feel blessed by success and want to give back and want to show Henry is more than just about selling guns. Recently we donated 126 guns to support a chemotherapy program for two children battling cancer, which should net around $50K for the children. In January 2020, the 126 embellished Henry Golden Boys will be sold off to raise funds for a little boy from Texas named Beckett and a little girl from Ohio, each of whom are going through cancer treatments.

In most cases we provide the guns, they are auctioned off on GunBroker or Hunting Heritage auction sites, which cash them out and donate the proceeds to charity. We also do outright cash donations as well. When we donate guns, we do not take a portion; we donate 100 percent of the guns for the charity auction or fund raiser.

SSR: What type of industry and community programs do you support?

Imperato: Henry will continue to support youth shooting sports programs, including the Youth Shooting Sports Alliance, NRA Youth Programs, IHEA and many others. Henry will also continue to support wildlife conservation organizations including Ducks Unlimited, National Wild Turkey Federation, Pheasants Forever, Whitetails Unlimited, Mule Deer Foundation and many others.

SSR: I understand Henry has added a few interesting dealer support programs?

Imperato: We have. We do not sell dealer-direct but support dealers through a national distribution network. We have a small team that makes up our dealer support system. If a dealer is having problems finding something, they can contact our Henry Product Availability assistance for dealers – email Dee@henryusa.com. We call it “Do Not Lose A Sale On A Henry!” We will find the gun one way or another. If dealers need Henry catalogs, store signage or help with other promotional programs, our dealer liaison email is stacy@henryusa.com.

The Henry Dealer Employee Program is a great way for dealer employees to own, shoot and learn about our products, at a very special price. Once dealer employees know about the program they are thrilled because it offers discounts typically below their employee discounts.

We are also supporting dealers with print ad creation, in-store flyers and premade e-blasts. Dealers give us their pricing and we deliver the creative email back ready for them to paste to their email list provider of choice.

Another interesting opportunity for dealers is the Henry Heirloom Program where customers can order and pre-pay for custom-serial-numbered Henry rifles. The dealer takes 60 days to strongly promote the opportunity to own a custom serial numbered Henry available on any of 15 models. They collect all the orders and 60 days later we deliver the guns for customers with their own custom serial number. The only limitation is that we cannot repeat a previously used serial number and we refuse to do any distasteful serial numbers. We have been running the program for about five years but we want to promote this more during 2020.

SSR: Any parting thoughts for Henry dealers?

Imperato: I grew up working in my grandfather’s police equipment/gun shop for many years, have worn the dealer’s shoes, and understand their difficulties and frustrations. At the same time, I learned about customer service and what it takes to establish a relationship with the customer.

If dealers want to reach out for any reason, my email is anthony@henryusa.com. We appreciate all the support our dealers have given us over the years and we plan on continuing to support them in all ways we can.


Comments on this site are submitted by users and are not endorsed by nor do they reflect the views or opinions of COLE Publishing, Inc. Comments are moderated before being posted.