Ex-Genmar execs form boat company

TULLAHOMA, Tenn. – Ex-Genmar executive Gary Clouse has formed boat builder Phoenix Bass Boats, the company reported in a statement yesterday.

Clouse formerly served as president of Stratos Boats and Champion Boats, leading design, manufacturing, marketing and sales for both Genmar subsidiaries.

“Phoenix will produce top-of-the-line bass boats with special attention to customer service,” he said. “Our plan is simple: We’ll build a company people trust because we design and manufacture high-quality boats that are offered at competitive prices without compromising customer service.”

Clouse, who serves as president of the new company, is joined in the venture by Hank Baker and Teresa Johnson, both of whom served on the management team of Stratos Boats with Clouse until leaving in February 2006. Greg Strahm was also previously with Stratos as part of its design team.

Phoenix Bass Boats will be headquartered at the former Bumble Bee plant, which closed its doors earlier this year.

“We didn’t buy Bumble Bee, but we were able to acquire their equipment and molds, and lease their modern 50,000-square-foot factory where they had previously been,” Clouse said.

That allows Phoenix to get up and running quickly, putting out a boat line based on the acquired molds, according to the company.

“Our first boats will be the Bee Line series, which will include eight models ranging from 15 to 21 feet long,” Clouse said. “The first of those boats will be on the market by Oct. 1.”

The Bee Line series will be built by many of the same employees who worked for Bumble Bee, and will be priced for the entry-level angler, said the company. In addition, Phoenix will provide service to current Bumble Bee owners.

“We can’t assume Bumble Bee warrantees, but we’ll do whatever we can to help owners of those boats and would welcome a call if they have any issues with their boats,” he said.

The first all-original, performance-based Phoenix Bass Boat designs will be ready for market by the spring of 2008, with 18- and 21-foot versions being released first, according to the company. Two new models will then be marketed every nine months for the next four years to bring the Phoenix stable up to 18 models, Clouse said.

“We’re going to design these boats for serious bass anglers,” the one-time professional angler said. “My experience goes back to using the product, and I am constantly looking for new ideas to make our day on the water better. We’ll be introducing innovations not seen before in the bass-boat industry. These won’t be cookie-cutter, mass-produced boats.”

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