FORT LAUDERDALE - Sportfishing boat builder SeaStrike Boats LLC has purchased the nearly 200,000-sq.-ft. former Sport-Craft boat manufacturing facility in Perry, Fla., the company reported in a recent statement.
SeaStrike will be moving its entire manufacturing operation to the 40-acre location within the next two months, said President Tom Thies. However, corporate headquarters will remain in Fort Lauderdale.
Thies said he expects to hire many of the former employees of Sport-Craft, among others. He anticipates hiring up to 50 people by the end of the year, with another 100 being brought on next year, depending on sales, bringing the total employees to 150.
“Sport-Craft was once one of the largest employers in Taylor County and we're looking to exceed that number in the next few years,” he said.
Thies explained that Sea Strike had outgrown the Miami facilities that it had been in for many years and its partnership with the former owner of Dakota Boats to share manufacturing in Stuart did not work out.
“We decided the best move for us was to have our own manufacturing facility with plenty of existing space and even more room for expansion,” he said. “We anticipate using the best available equipment on-site, bringing our existing equipment and purchasing new equipment based on our needs.”
SeaStrike, which will celebrate its 35th anniversary next year, makes sportfishing boats from 16 to 24 feet in length. The 32- and 36-foot boats SeaStrike was producing were being made through a partnership with the former owner of Dakota Boats. That partnership has since dissolved, and Dakota Boats has been sold. While those boats are no longer available through SeaStrike, it does, however, have its own new 28-, 32- and 36-foot boats in the development pipeline.
In 2004, when SeaStrike Boats LLC purchased the company, it announced plans to continue building the most popular existing models as well as expand the line into larger fishing boats.
“At that time, we announced plans to invest in a new manufacturing facility and new boat designs to expand the business,” said Thies. “Today's move to Perry is the fulfillment of that goal. We are in this for the long haul and plan to work diligently to expand the dealer network and develop innovative ideas and products to best serve our customers.”
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