Regal, Everglades and Edgewater to expand

ORLANDO, Fla. – Three Central Florida boat makers plan to significantly expand their operations next year by adding workforce, increasing production and, in two cases, adding factory space as well, the Orlando Business Journal reported in an article this morning.

Regal Marine Industries, Everglades Boats and EdgeWater Power Boats are all planning to expand thanks to strong demand for their products, according to the article.

“Maybe there’s something in the water here – either that or we’re all crazy,” Peter Truslow, president of EdgeWater, told the Business Journal.

Regal Marine plans to add 100 employees next year at its Orlando and Valdosta, Ga., plants – but primarily in Orlando. Most of the new hires likely will work on Regal’s new 53-foot product, the 5260 Commodore Express. The first production model came out last month, and the company is sitting on 50 orders, with plans to eventually crank out two per month, the newspaper reported.

Combined with sales of its other models, which range in size from 19 feet to 44 feet, company officials predict an increase in sales and production, despite the overall industry woes. Regal plans to build at least 3,200 boats, up from 2,700 in 2007.

“We’re doing the best we can in a tough economy,” Rob May, Regal’s director of marketing, told the Business Journal.

Everglades Boats

Everglades Boats added 150 employees in 2007 and expects to add 100 more during the next 12-18 months, which would bring its total to 370 workers. The firm also plans to create 20,000 square feet of manufacturing space between two of its existing buildings, bringing its total to 145,000 square feet, and expects to make 150 more boats next year than the 650 it made this year.

“As we become more visible, we believe we’re taking the boats out of other people’s mouths,” company President Stephen Dougherty told the Business Journal. “We’re building a better product than anyone else in our market.”

Edgewater Power Boats

EdgeWater Power Boats is on track to get up to $5.7 million in industrial revenue bonds, which it plans to use for a major expansion. The company already received a $2 million-plus bridge loan from National City Bank to start construction next summer on 50,000 square feet of space next to three buildings it just bought.

In addition, EdgeWater plans to add 50 employees to its staff of 100 during the next three years as it aims for significant growth in 2009-2010, the newspaper reported.

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