It was the mid-2000s and business had never been better for tactical gear manufacturer Blackhawk. The real estate market was booming as well. After moving the company a couple of times around the Tidewater of Virginia during the 90s, Founder Mike Noell purchased a prime piece of real estate right next to the Norfolk International Airport in an industrial area. Fortuitously, the Norfolk Police Department’s training facility was just around the corner. With a fully stocked ground floor pro shop showcasing Blackhawk’s latest products and an inhouse design team, it became a tactical mecca for those visting Hampton Roads.
The plan was to raise two buildings on the property. The headquarters building would house the company with an entire extra floor for lease to outside businesses in order to help offset the bank note. The second building would be another source of additional income. It was never built. By the time the HQ was complete, the housing crisis began to take hold. Not long after, Noell sold Blackhawk to ATK.
Since then, ATK has tried to use the space as much as possible, moving various business units in and out. Last week, ATK’s Utah-based Vista Outdoor Inc closed the facility.
According to Vista Outdoor spokeswoman Amanda Covington “The decision to close this facility was made after careful consideration of the facts and benefits to the business, customers and stockholders.”
This closure affects 43 employees. About a quarter of them were laid off and the remainder reassigned to other facilities in Virginia Beach or Overland Park, Kansas to Vista’s outdoor-products segment.