Jeremiah Ogden was born in Sugartree Ridge, and grew up hunting, fishing and trapping with his father, who served with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources as a hunting and fishing instructor. Ogden said that’s perhaps where he got his love of guns – and it shows when you walk into the new Hillsboro Armory and Manufacturing.
Ironically, Ogden said, he’s not allowed to sell or manufacture guns yet, pending the approval of his request for a Federal Firearms License, which can be an arduous process.
“You have to jump through a lot of hoops,” he said, “but we’re getting there.”
Ogden has been quietly setting up his shop on Governor Trimble Place for the past few months, and recently opened his doors. The shop got quite a few visitors when Ogden opened during the Festival of the Bells, he said.
Ogden, who is an avid collector of guns and various military artifacts, is currently selling items from his personal collection, which includes a wide variety of knives, rifle stocks and military surplus items dating back to the Civil War.
During an interview with The Times-Gazette, Ogden walked behind the shop counter and rolled out a full-size cannon on wheels.
“This is just for giggles,” he said, explaining that the North Carolina cannon is owned by a gun shop owner in Cadiz, Ohio, where he served as an apprentice for a few years.
When asked which of his items has the most interesting story behind it, Ogden joked that everything in the shop has a story.
“We just don’t know it,” he said.
Ogden said some of his more eye-catching items are a pre-1900 Bowie knife and several Civil War-era pocket Bibles, some of which have the names of dozens of family members inscribed inside.
If all goes well, Ogden hopes to open a manufacturing floor in the space adjacent to his shop, where he has several large manufacturing machines, including a three-axis computer-numerically controlled machine that can churn out thousands of gun parts in a matter of hours.
Ogden said he’s been working with the city on getting a revolving loan so he can get the manufacturing floor running, which he said will be the primary source of income for the shop.
If he gets approved for a gun license, Ogden said he hopes to serve a national market with his manufacturing capabilities.
Perhaps at that point, he said, he’ll open a small military museum somewhere nearby where he can display the rest of his collection.
“This is a whole lot better than a real job,” Ogden said, adding that he hopes to have everything up and running in the next two months.
Ogden still resides in Sugartree Ridge with his wife and six children.
Hillsboro Armory and Manufacturing is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570, or on Twitter @DavidWrighter.