Central Lake, Mich. — The expansion of Armor Express™ to new facilities is the emerging company’s latest indication of its continued growth. The manufacturer of body armor used by law enforcement, corrections and the military, is moving operations only a few miles – into buildings about triple the size of its current footprint. Purchase of the new property was finalized March 7, 2011.
The nearly six year-old company makes ballistic-resistant products such as concealable or tactical body armor, accessories, and hard armor – and is already one of the top three law enforcement suppliers in the U.S. marketplace. Armor Express sales to domestic law enforcement surged 32 percent in 2010.
Armor Express now employs about 100, and as the business has steadily grown its existing manufacturing and administrative facilities have become fully utilized. Buildings at the new location will total approximately 45,000 square feet of floor space. The expansion will help create greater efficiencies for producing current levels of orders, and is expected to provide ample space for the addition of more skilled craftspeople and new equipment to meet planned future growth.
As Armor Express expands and relocates just across town, company President and CEO Matt Davis says it is very significant that the fledgling company has purchased buildings formerly used to produce the original Second Chance® body armor. In 1972, Second Chance was founded by Matt’s father, Richard. In 2005 the brand was acquired by BAE Systems, and in 2009 BAE consolidated operations to a facility in Florida. Richard Davis patented soft, concealable body armor, and holds numerous other body armor patents.
Now, the irony of Armor Express buying the former Second Chance buildings nearby isn’t lost on Matt Davis. “The expertise and accomplishments of those original employees became the pedigree from which our present-day company was formed,” he said. “We now have the opportunity to move this next generation business into facilities where so many of the early products were designed and produced – it’ll be both an honor and privilege for us to carry out our work there. I know that for me and many Armor Express employees, it’s going to be an extremely emotional and fulfilling experience to occupy those facilities.”
Perhaps it’s understandable if residents of Central Lake, Michigan, may sometimes think of themselves as living in the body armor capital of the United States.
“Because there was so much armor production that took place here in our town over the years, the workforce became very highly skilled, and they’ve developed all the key capabilities,” said Davis. “Many of those people are now part of the Armor Express team. Making body armor is our specialty – our core competency. It’s what we do.”
Amid a broad product line, current Armor Express offerings include 15 variations of concealable ballistic vests that meet National Institute of Justice (NIJ) Standard 0101.06, with models certified to NIJ threat levels IIA, II or IIIA. Seraph™ is the company’s lightest weight armor; Halo™, the most flexible; Quantum™ offers superior soft armor value; and Gemini™ dual purpose armor provides the utmost in ballistic and spike protection. And Taurus™ correctional armor provides essential puncture protection from shanks and spikes.
With headquarters in Central Lake, Michigan, and a nationwide network of sales representatives, Central Lake Armor Express, Inc., is an ISO 9001 registered company. It manufactures superior quality body armor with unparalleled protection, comfort, wearability and service. A range of products for men and women includes concealable and tactical body armor, accessories, and hard armor. “Body Armor Reborn” is the company motto.
Central Lake, Michigan
ABOUT CENTRAL LAKE ARMOR EXPRESS, INC.
With headquarters in Central Lake, MI and a nationwide network of sales representatives, Central Lake Armor Express, Inc. (DBA Armor Express), is an ISO 9001 registered company. It manufactures superior quality body armor with unparalleled protection, comfort, wearability and service. A range of products for men and women includes concealable and tactical body armor, accessories, and hard armor. "Body Armor Reborn" is the company motto.