Brownells, the Nation's Leading Gunsmith and Accessories Company, Earns Iowa Farm Bureau 'Renew Rural Iowa Entrepreneur Award'

Poweshiek County Business Honored for Community Contributions, Job Creation, Innovation  

A family-owned Montezuma gunsmithing business known as the “World‘s Largest Supplier of Firearms Accessories and Gunsmithing Tools™”, is being honored by Iowa Farm Bureau for its commitment to continued rural Iowa job growth.  Brownells’ model of success and incredible growth has earned the company the latest Renew Rural Iowa entrepreneur award.            

Growth has been ongoing since founder Bob Brownell, a self-described tinker, outdoorsman and gunsmith, started the company in 1938.  The family says their desire to be that go-to source for customers led to new, creative approaches and their incredible growth.  “The thing that really turned it around and got the company going was a book Dad published called, ‘The Encyclopedia of Modern Firearms.’  It contained drawings of every gun in the current market at that time and it included charts of all the pins and springs and screws and that became an instant success,” says third-generation owner, President and CEO, Frank Brownell.  Brownells’ expansion into the catalog business started with 11 employees in 1964.  The advent of the internet brought Brownell into global markets, and paved the way for the 400 employees they have today.           

“This company shows that rural Iowa is important to them and not just rural Iowa, but the rural communities around this country; those things are important to Farm Bureau.  So, to have a company this large see the importance of sticking to their rural roots, it’s very assuring to a young farmer and a young person who wants to stay in the rural community, like me,” said Drew Rempp, a Poweshiek County farmer.           

Brownells’ headquarters will remain in Montezuma, but their warehouse and office facility is expanding to a new location in Grinnell this spring.  Poweshiek community developers say the loyalty to the community is inspiring.  “Having a locally-owned business is great; they’re giving back to the community, they’re hiring people from within the community, they live here, they work here, they do a lot,” says Laura Mannatt with the Poweshiek Iowa Development Group.           

Renew Rural Iowa (RRI) is an IFBF initiative supporting new and existing businesses through education, mentoring, and financial resources.  The next Renew Rural Iowa seminar, “The Journey to Your Vision,” is scheduled for January 13, 2015 in Newton.  For more information, go to