GULF SHORES, Ala. – Saunders Yachtworks celebrated the opening of its’ new headquarters facility in Gulf Shores, Ala., this week with a ribbon cutting and reception ceremony. Taking part in the event were members of the Gulf Shores and Orange Beach governments, local officials and Saunders Yachtworks employees and owners.
According to Saunders, the new 15,000-square-foot headquarters building is the first of three phases for the 6-acre Yachtworks Gulf Shores facility. The multi-use two-story building combines sales and administrative offices; a marine engine and equipment shop; and a full service parts department and warehouse. Future phases of development at the site will include a full service boatyard with capacity to dry dock 100+ foot vessels.
With a focus on larger vessels, this new facility will complement the company’s current Orange Beach boatyard, which caters to boats 70 feet and below.
"It's all about becoming more of a regional player," says Andrew Saunders, chairman of Saunders Yachtworks.
According to Saunders, the Gulf Shores facility will employ up to 75 people when completed, a sizable non-tourism payroll for the City of Gulf Shores. John Fitzgerald, president of Yachtworks, noted that many of the employees would be skilled craftsman earning upwards of $25.00 per hour.
"Yachtworks understands service and that keeps people in the boating business," says Jim Bronstein, former owner of Rybovich, and now a Yachtworks director and stockholder. "Inevitably, things go wrong with a boat. If you don't have companies like this one who are experts at their trade, people sell the boat and go play golf."
Founded by the Saunders family in 1959, the company first served the commercial vessel segment of the business entering the yacht repair business 25 years ago. Today, it says it would like to be the “Boatyard of the Future” and believes this new facility puts it well on its way.
"We're not just looking at the past and building on that," says Saunders, "We're looking at the future and building with our long range vision of what that will be."
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