Salem, New Hampshire has been home to Dennco, makers and distributors of the Sonocaddie GPS system and the Club Champ brand of golf travel covers, practice and training devices, games, gifts and accessories, since 1981.
Quite remarkably, the company began as a small family operation with a single product–a hand-held pad printer for golf balls.
Jim Dennesen, president of Dennco, told me that the company started in New England because it was ‘home’. It grew from that home operation with a few employees over the years to a significant manufacturing and warehousing operation employing between 25 to 30, with many more seasonal employees.
Dennesen says the focus of the firm has shifted recently to warehousing and distribution, with more and more of the company’s manufacturing done in Asia.
“Some products are still made here when we have the ability to replace cheap foreign labor and high ocean freight with locally manufactured raw materials from recycled materials and modern production techniques.
The company built its present facility in 1996. Dennesen says New Hampshire is truly “home” for Dennco.
“There’s history, great people, a clean environment, with the ocean, lakes and mountains at your doorstep. It’s within driving distance to New York and Montreal, and just 30 minutes from Boston. New Hampshire has always had a favorable attitude toward business, and the lack of any state income or sales taxes makes the state a great place to work and live. We have a hard working, loyal and motivated work force drawn from the local area, and a very low attrition rate. We have a great infrastructure, two airports (Boston Logan and Manchester, N.H.) within 30 minutes, and proximity to major highways and trucking routes, so getting product in from ocean terminals and out to our major customers is fast and smooth.”
Dennco is committed to the area long term, he says.
“Sure we have some snow, and I’d love to spend more time fishing and playing golf in Florida. But at this time we have no plans to move our home office from New Hampshire. We have shifted some of our warehousing and distribution operations to the Los Angeles area to improve efficiency, and as I mentioned, much of the manufacturing has gone overseas. We are lean, mean and green, and well-positioned for a stable long-term future here where we love to live.”
With the current state of retail, golf, and the general economy, the company’s plans are for modest and sustained growth.