This past February, Robert Gould announced that the new president of Gould & Goodrich would be Scott Nelson, a businessman with a strong firearms background. Although it may have come as a surprise to some in the industry, according to Gould it was a necessary change.
“I was a pilot light and we needed a furnace,” Gould said of the recent sale.
Before founding the leatherworks company, Gould began working for a subsidiary of Smith & Wesson in 1979. His first role was a product manager, and later he advanced to the position of marketing planning manager. In 1985, Smith & Wesson was purchased and the new owners decided to focus predominately on the firearms side of things. Wishing to stay in the holster business, Gould and John Goodrich bought the company from Smith & Wesson later that year.
Coming up on its 27th anniversary, Gould & Goodrich offers a wide variety of innovative holster designs, which are made in its North Carolina facility. Worldwide, law enforcement and government agents gear up with these holsters, belts and accessories. Although it has synthetic leather merchandise, the company is best known for its all-leather products, like the Gold Line holsters and the leather duty holsters.
Time for a Switch Up
“I thought, ‘I’ve got to treat these people right,’” he explained. “This is such a good company, so I started looking for a buyer. I kept it really low-key. I thought for the benefit of the employees I need to step aside and let somebody younger take over.”
After some searching, Gould found the man for the job. Nelson was no stranger to firearms. He served in the Army as an intelligence officer in Central and South America. At the end of his service in 1992, he continued to work in Latin America in the crisis management industry.
Switching gears, Nelson enrolled in business school ten years later. Upon graduating, he went into the corporate renewal and turn-around management fields. His most recent endeavor included a replica gun company. Upon selling it last year, the Gould & Goodrich opportunity presented itself.
“I’ve always had a passion for the firearms business,” says Nelson. “I felt comfortable in that regard. But what really attracted me to the company was the environment, the culture and the set of values that Bob had set for the company and the manner in which he led it for so long. It really seemed like the kind of place that my family and I could call home for a really long time.”
Continued Innovation, Commitment to Quality
Gould & Goodrich intends to keep on top of industry trends to determine what customers really need. Currently, there are a few its design team is addressing. For example, due to the popularity of weapon-mounted lights it continues to expand and improve its offering of tactical light holsters.
In addition, they strive to make accessories and cases that maximize the efficiency of duty belts. Officers are carrying more and more tools on their belts. While just 20 years ago a LEO might carry only a holster, cuff case and some bullets, today’s cop carries additional gear, such as a flashlight, baton, mace, radio, backup flashlight, knife, phone, gloves and so on. Combination cases that hold multiple pieces of gear, like a magazine and a pair of cuffs are important to making the most of the duty belt space.
Over the years, Gould & Goodrich has garnered a lengthy list of international buyers due to its reputation for high quality products. They have outfitted the Saudi Arabian Royal Guard Regiment, French police officers, Puerto Rican state police, Jamaica Constabulary, Hong Kong police forces and many other departments. Thanks to the 50,000 square foot facility, the company is able to meet tight deadlines and large order sizes. Its employees were able to produce 20,000 complete police rigs in just 87 days.
“We were able to knock it out because of our capabilities,” said Gould. He will stay on to assist Nelson as he becomes acclimated to the business.
Nelson said there are no major short- or long-term changes in the future for Gould & Goodrich. He describes its foundation as solid and based on providing quality products at an affordable price and excellent customer service.