Genmar to shut down production in Sarasota

MINNEAPOLIS – Genmar Holdings, Inc. will move production of its saltwater brands from Sarasota, Fla., to other facilities throughout the U.S. over the next six months and eventually close its Sarasota facilities, the company said in a release today.

Genmar’s announcement will affect a total of 19 models.

The three boat brands impacted by the move – Hydra-Sports, Wellcraft and Seaswirl – manufacture a total of 58 models. Presently, 67 percent of Hydra-Sports' models are manufactured in Murfreesboro, Tenn., 52 percent of Wellcraft's models are manufactured in Cadillac, Mich. and 75 percent of Seaswirl's models are manufactured in Little Falls, Minn., Genmar said.

"Genmar's Wellcraft operation has a 50-year history of boat building in Sarasota,” said Irwin L. Jacobs, Genmar’s chairman and chief executive officer. “Unfortunately, negative manufacturing economic conditions in Florida and the State of Florida's complete lack of interest in attempting to save these jobs has left Genmar with no other choice than to move such operations out of the State of Florida. As evidenced by Genmar's past efforts, it has diligently attempted to preserve its manufacturing presence in the State of Florida, but it is just too costly compared to the other states where Genmar has existing manufacturing operations.”

Nearly 225 employees will be impacted by the shutdown, but the company said all of Genmar’s Sarasota employees would be able to earn special incentives during the transition period, which it expects to occur over the next six months. The company said it would also be offering jobs at other Genmar facilities to some of the Sarasota employees.

"Over the past several years, Genmar's management has cautiously implemented a variety of strategies that, to the credit of all parties involved, have resulted in substantially strengthening Genmar's affected boat brands and have helped to make several of Genmar's other manufacturing facilities significantly more efficient," Jacobs said. "We are confident that more can and will be done to help our boat brands become more competitive in the market place and will in fact, better position each of those affected Genmar boat brands to further accelerate many more improvements to the benefit of our dealers, their customers and our entire organization.

“While the above decisions and changes have been very difficult to make, the opportunities created for the affected Genmar's brands and its other facilities are very significant. Additionally, we recognize we are entering the beginning of the annual retail boat show selling season and all of our dealers can be assured that supporting them with sales, marketing and product are our first priorities.

“Equally as important, Genmar's continued aggressive focus on new product development for all of our brands is not being slowed or affected. In fact, all of Genmar's saltwater boat brands involved in this transition, have and will continue to have, a more aggressive new boat product development schedule than at any time in each brand's history. The transition referenced above has been carefully planned for a prudent and seamless transition as it relates to our dealers, their customers and our entire organization."

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