Made in the Northwest: Tedder Industries

Made in the Northwest: Tedder Industries
Derek Deis interviewing Thomas Tedder, CEO of Tedder Industries in Post Falls.

It’s one of the largest and fastest growing manufacturers of gun holsters in the United States.

Thomas Tedder didn’t fully dive into making concealed carry holsters until 2012. And after just a few short years, even he can’t believe how far Tedder Industries and Alien Gear holsters have come.

“It’s a very short span of time with very rapid growth,” said Tedder. “And the success we’ve had, I’m very blessed to see what we’ve done here for sure.”

In the old Post Falls Outlet Mall, Tedder Industries’ 200 employees make a half a million holsters per year in a vertically integrated process, where all of the designing and manufacturing happens in house.

“That allows us to sell a better product for a lower price. And that’s how we’ve become the dominant player in the industry,” explained Tedder.

Almost all of the parts start in Tedder Industries’ machine shop with injection molding.

“We bring plastic pellets into this building and turn them into holsters.”

And while there are still some steps, like sewing, that have to be done by hand, Tedder incorporates as much automation as it can. Its new Shape Shift holster has a lot of parts, so the company’s engineers created what they call a Light Bright system to make sure every part is accounted for.

“The computer will select all of the lights for the parts that are needed,” said Tedder. “And then, the operator can just push that button, grab that part, put it on the conveyor belt and it all moves along seamlessly.”

A literature packing machine, also created in house, will allow two employees to make holsters, instead of spending all day stuffing instruction manuals into bags.

“When we automate those new tasks, it allows us to hold prices down when our competition is having to increase prices.”

As you might expect, the company sees a big boost in sales around Black Friday and Christmas. But Tedder says Tax Season is actually its busiest time of year.

“I sort of make a joke that big screen TVs and guns are what people buy with their tax returns. And so, after the gun, they come buy holsters from us.”

And just in time for Black Friday, Tedder Industries is releasing a new women’s clothing line, designed to be worn with its women’s holsters.

“We will be selling holsters for, say, a belly band or a thigh holster, but it’s the clothing that goes around that that helps hide it and give access to these internal holsters below the clothing,” explained Tedder.

It’s also designing handbags and purses, so woman can carry in style.

Another new line Tedder Industries is working on is duty holsters for police and military, which is due out sometime in 2019.

“Every city in the world has a police force, every country has a military that needs holsters,” said Tedder. “And so, that market is a much larger market than where we operate in now.”

And once Tedder Industries’ Alien Gear goes global, there may be no stopping this Post Falls powerhouse from universal domination.

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