By Mike Davin, Online Editor, Boating Industry — Mercury Marine was founded in 1939 as the Kiekhaefer Corporation of Cedarburg, Wis. Now, after a vote by workers in Fond du Lac to reject Mercury’s latest contract offer, the company just took a big step toward leaving Wisconsin, where it has been an institution for seven decades.
Mercury’s headquarters will remain located in the state through at least 2012, when its contract for the Fond du Lac facility expires. However, officials have said the location of Mercury’s manufacturing facilities could ultimately determine where the headquarters ends up.
Mercury has been a global brand for a long time, but to some — particularly in Wisconsin — it retained the aura of a small Midwestern outboard shop done good. What do you think of a possible move? Will it hurt the brand’s image to leave the state where it was born, or is nostalgia for the past a quick way to ensure your company has no future?