Simms File

Simms Fishing Products

Simms Fishing Products will lay off more than a dozen workers over the next five months as it transitions warehouse operations from its current Bozeman location to a third-party company in Seattle.

The move comes as a result of the company’s growth and need for “fiscally responsible” logistics, said Diane Bristol, Simms senior director of employee and community engagement. Land prices and the difficulty of shipping freight to and from the state also factored in the decision, Bristol added.

“We were exploring all of our options to stay here in Montana, but when you think about the cost of land and building, it just wouldn’t work for us,” she said.

On Monday, the company informed its 20-person warehouse team of the cuts — which will go into effect in March — and the new partnership with Hong Kong-based global shipping and logistics company The Tigers Group.

Six employees will stay on to assist with local receiving, Bristol said, while the remaining 14 will be offered a “transition bonus” and encouraged to apply for other positions within the company.

The decision will not affect the company’s manufacturing operations, Bristol said.

“We have no intention of moving that anywhere else,” she said, “and with this added space we intend to expand the manufacturing.”

Founded in 1980, current owner K.C. Walsh acquired Simms and relocated it to Bozeman in 1993. Originally located off Evergreen Drive, in 2012 the company built a 60,000-square-foot facility — which included its corporate headquarters, production facility and warehouse — off Jackrabbit Lane. The company added a three-story, 14,000-square-foot expansion early last year.

In July, the company was honored as one of 50 state products displayed in the White House as part of the “Made in America Product Showcase.”

Simms currently employs 180 people.

Kendall can be reached at 406-582-2651 or lkendall@dailychronicle.com. He is on Twitter at @lewdak

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