Fred Smith started Bullberry on his off-shift days from the Las Vegas Fire Department. The business grew from a garage-based woodwork hobby to the extensive line you see today after Fred's retirement from the LVFD. The business left Las Vegas in the summer of 1988 and has since been located in Southern Utah, though always under Fred's ownership and his extensive experience. We currently operate with six employees (including Fred) and enjoy maintaining such a small operation, as we are able to work like a family and operate with the best quality control.
Be aware that as Fred has been enveloped in the business since the start he is now celebrating what he calls his "retirement days". Though he's still in the shop for most of each day his schedule is up to him. We all agree that he's earned a bit of time off, so don't be surprised if he isn't available on occasion; especially on Fridays.
When you contact us you are likely to speak to Jean, Fred, Troy or September. While many know that Jean is Fred's wife and September is Fred's daughter, Troy isn't a relative, simply an adopted member of the Bullberry family. He has been with us now for over 15 years and has picked up most operations in the shop. His experience with Bullberry began in the woodshop but he has gradually absorbed task after task making him an integral part in every order's finish. From metal work to custom glass bedding and bluing Troy wears nearly every hat in the shop. He has fully taken over the running/programming of our CNC (computer numerically controlled) mill and turning center. This expertise has him making all the T/C barrel underlugs, the Bullberry custom hanger bars and our solid steel Weaver-style bases. If all that wasn't enough he also does all our chambering and crowning.
As mentioned before, September is Fred's daughter and you can imagine that she grew up in the business. In point of fact as an infant she slept in the gun cases under the display tables at gun shows! Those days seemed far-off when she went across the county for her university education and graduated in Archaeology. Somehow, however, Fred was able to pull her back to the family business and for the last ten years she has been re-immersed in the gun trade. September does much of the general business workings but don't count her out of the gun building itself — she has previously done barrel turning and used to handle the final parts fitting in the barrels. Today all break-action trigger adjustments are done by September, and her general knowledge of the T/C-based products is top-notch. She also does all custom engraving and taught herself how to checker a few years ago, so she's often busy with that very detailed work.
Jean is usually the first person a customer will correspond with. She is actually in no way new to the company - as it was mentioned above - she is Fred's wife and helped him begin Bullberry back in 1980 out of their Las Vegas home's garage. Now that she retired as a local bank manager she is back on our phones and behind the keyboard after a long absence from Bullberry and it is a pleasure to have her. She actually gets many of the jobs that no one else wants, but every order requires. Whether it's cutting metal, bead-blasting, sweeping, you name it - Jean is not afraid to get her hands dirty and the shop could not function without her! We all wonder how we managed before she rejoined the team.
As for the employees you are not likely to speak with but can thank for their work: Carl is actually the longest standing employee next to Fred and Jean, having been with Bullberry for nearly 20 years now. He is our woodworking expert, though his background is in show-car bodywork and finishing. This made a great lead into top quality wood finishing. All woodwork is shaped by his hands to fit your request — no duplicators here.
And our newest addition to the crew is someone that is another former employee put back into action. Trevor is Fred's great-nephew, believe it or not, and worked at Bullberry for three years over a decade ago. Between then and now Trevor has served our country domestically and in Iraq as part of the National Guard. We were lucky to grab him up again in 2010 and have put him to work as yet another all-around skilled employee. The day-to-day manufacturing processes are his specialty once again, while he is also assisting Fred in the design and testing of our first-ever fully Bullberry designed and built firearm. This project is in its infancy and not yet ready to manufacture, but Trevor is Fred's right hand man at the moment.
The current Bullberry crew is working much more seamlessly than ever before and you can thank them all for the improved lead-time on all custom items, and the ever-present high quality you get with all Bullberry products and services.