Archive for » January, 2018 «

Juice brand Paper Boat loses steam, sales down 12.5%

MUMBAI: Ethnic drinks brand Paper Boat seems to be slowing down finally after sailing high for almost seven years, as health-conscious consumers cut back on sugary products in a slowing economy.

Hector Beverages, maker of Paper Boat, posted a tepid 12.5% growth in sales in the year ended March 2017 after doubling its sales in the previous year.

Hector Beverages reported sales of ₹69 crore and net loss of ₹78 crore for 2016-17, as per its latest filing with the Registrar of Companies (RoC). It had posted sales of ₹62 crore and net loss of ₹84 crore in the previous year.

Rival beverages makers PepsiCo and Coca-Cola, too, have been struggling to grow their sales while top confectioners Mondelez and Ferrero India posted one of their slowest sales growth last year.

Hector Beverages has had a successful run since Neeraj Kakkar and Neeraj Biyani, both former Coca-Cola employees, founded it in 2010. While its first product was energy drink Tzinga, the company shifted complete focus on the ethnic drinks segment two years later, and managed to create a niche for itself, growing three times between 2012 and 2015.

Its success prompted packaged juice category leaders such as Dabur’s Real and PepsiCo’s Tropicana to bring out traditional flavours such as coconut water, jaljeera and mosambi.

ITC has announced new launches within its B Natural brand with region-specific fruits.

This rising competition, according to experts, may have affected Hector’s sales.

“The novelty factor in terms of product and packaging seems to be waning,” said Abneesh Roy, senior vice-president, institutional equities, at Edelweiss Securities. “Also, the price doesn’t appeal to mass consumers and the initial sales were boosted by Indigo Airlines tie-up,” he said.

Hector Beverages didn’t respond to an email query sent to the company as of press time Thursday.

Shifting consumer tastes are prompting beverages giants, including Coca-Cola and PepsiCo to diversify away from traditional soda and high-calorie juices.

Two years ago, Hector Beverages spent about ₹30 crore to set up its second manufacturing unit in Mysore to cater to southern and western markets. The company has also partnered Japanese food giant Indo Nissin Foods to strengthen its distribution and brand presence in tier II cities and rural markets.

It entered ethnic snacks market last year by launching peanut chikki.Backed by multiple investors such as Sequoia Capital and China’s Hillhouse Capital, Hector Beverages has so far raised nearly ₹300 crore.

Growth has slowed in the ₹22,000-crore carbonated soft drinks market as consumers increasingly switch to healthier beverages such as juices, energy drinks, flavoured tea, fortified water and dairy-based beverages.

While Paper Boat sells non-carbonated drinks, the products are still high in sugar and aren’t considered healthier than other beverages such as fruit juice.


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No more dumping ground? Hilton Head should see a ‘big difference’ in Broad Creek soon

Removing derelict boats from South Carolina waterways is no simple task. Just ask Hilton Head Island resident Russell Patterson, who has been at it for about three months.

After watching people use Broad Creek as a dumping ground for their abandoned boats — and realizing that state and local agencies didn’t have the funding to remove them — Patterson took matters into his own hands.

As a part of the task, Russell and a group of friends have tried on four separate occasions to raise Nanna, a 30-feet boat that sunk in Broad Creek more than two years ago, to no avail. Now, they’ll have to wait two more months for a professional diving crew to take a stab at it.

Still, Patterson remains optimistic.

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“We feel confident that we’re on the right path,” he said. “… Hopefully, people — as they’re driving over the bridge or riding down the Broad Creek — will be able to see a big different in the next four, five, six months.”

Officials agree that South Carolina has an ongoing problem with derelict boats. The state is among 19 of the 30 U.S. coastal states without a funding mechanism for the removal of abandoned or derelict boats, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

And Beaufort County — which is 50 percent water and wetlands — is stuck directly in the middle of it.

In early October, officers at the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources began investigating boats anchored in waterways across Beaufort County, including 30 boats in the Broad Creek.

As of Wednesday, eight boats in the creek were officially deemed abandoned, according to DNR investigator Michael Brock. Officials at DNR spent 90 days searching for their owners, but were unable to locate them.

Now, due to a lack of state and local funding, it’s up to Patterson and his friends to actually remove the boats from the waterway.

“Unfortunately, they have to clean up the mess of their fellow citizens who left their boats for other people to deal with,” Brock said. “But it’s impressive to see a group of private citizens step up and care enough about the waterways to do this.”

Patterson has raised $14,500 in private donations so far for the removal and demolition of the boats, but does not expect that to cover it all.

The cost of removing an abandoned boat from a waterway can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars depending on the size of the boat and where it’s located.

Throughout the coming months, he plans to acquire titles for all the abandoned vessels, demolish those in bad shape and try to sell those that can be salvaged.

Patterson is not sure how many of the boats are worth selling, but any money collected from boat sales would go back to the cleanup effort, he said.

“We’re not trying to make any money. We’re just trying to get them out of the creek and into the hands of responsible owners,” Russell said.

‘There is no ugly boat law’

The Town of Hilton Head Island may have the best chance at preventing the problem from getting any worse in the future.

John Gobel, supervisor of the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office environmental crimes unit, said he constantly gets complaints from citizens about “unsightly” boats in county waterways.

“Naturally, if you’re a homeowner — especially if you’re a homeowner on a waterfront lot — it has to be aggravating for someone to be able to basically park a very unsightly vessel in front of your home and there’s nothing you can do about it,” he said.

As Gobel sees it, the real issue is not the boats actually deemed abandoned but those parked in the waterways that are not.

“Right now there is no law to address the real problem, which is not abandoned derelict boats, it’s the boats that are owned by people who just park them wherever the want and leave them there,” he said. “Even though it may not run, it may not have a motor and it may not even have a sail, it’s lighted and properly registered, so it’s legal.

“… Because there is no ugly boat law.”

One option to address these “unsightly” boats is for a municipality or county to create an anchoring ordinance, in which boat owners would have to acquire a permit and possibly pay a fee before anchoring in a waterway under it’s jurisdiction, according to Gobel.

Therefore, the town would have more ability to regulate boats before they became a hazard to navigation and the environment.

Although the Town of Hilton Head Island doesn’t have jurisdiction over most waterways, it could impose an ordinance in the Broad Creek because Hilton Head lies on both sides of the creek, Gobel said.

Town leaders, however, have never discussed the prospect.

In the meantime, Patterson and his group of friends are making strides little by little. If all goes well, the first two boats will be removed from the Broad Creek on Saturday.

Want to help clean up the Broad Creek?

Donations can made to the Hilton Head Reef Foundation through The Community Foundation of the Lowcountry or by mailing a check to the Hilton Head Reef foundation, c/o Russell P Patterson, P.O. Box 8047, Hilton Head Island, S.C.

If you have any questions, you can contact Russell Patterson at russell@russellpattersonlaw.com


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Boat show big business for Lake Lanier companies

Local dock builders, marinas, boat dealers, organizations and educational institutions are playing a large role in the event and make up a significant portion of the vendors in Atlanta.

As a result, the show is not only a showcase of extremely expensive boats or fishing equipment and expertise in the Southeast, it’s a forum for innovation and news around Lake Lanier.

This year, Lanier Technical College will reveal its plans to establish a marine technology degree program that for now will focus on engine maintenance and repair but could eventually encompass a wide range of disciplines.

Lanier Tech President Ray Perren will discuss plans to launch the program in 2019. The move is intended to offer students a path to employment in a growing field in Georgia, which ranks ninth in the nation in sales of boats and equipment — adding up to $550 million in sales in the state, according to the organizers of the Atlanta Boat Show.

Perren will discuss the program at the show beginning at 9 a.m. Thursday at the World Congress Center.

Meanwhile, Hoschton’s Windsong Sailing Academy is ringing in its 20th year at the show.

“It’s one of the largest events for the sailing community, and it’s been a hugely successful event for us in the past years,” said David Crumbley, owner and operator of the academy.

Crumbley and his American Sailing Academy-certified instructors offer a wide variety of classes and training on everything from introductory sailing to survival at sea.

Windsong Sailing will offer seminars on Friday, Saturday and Sunday focusing on introductory sailing, celestial navigation and chartering tips and tricks.

“Coastal navigation is what you do near land when you can see coastal features,” Crumbley said. “Celestial navigation is what you do in the middle of the ocean.”

Chartering tips and tricks will focus on how to rent a sailboat while traveling. The academy’s general instruction includes about 200 classes, but the academy also offers just-for-fun programs for both singles and couples.

The Atlanta Boat Show is going to be a critical event for Matt Thompson and his son, Tyler, this year. They’re launching their smart-dock startup: Dock IQ.

Thompson talked to The Times in June about his business, which was then called Watch My Dock — a combination of hardware and app that would allow dock owners to keep tabs on their equipment while they were away.

But since then, the idea has grown into a full-fledged smart dock business that mirrors what Amazon’s Alexa has brought to the home.

“It’s really evolved. It started out just being a dock monitoring service, but it really ended up being more of a security system, a video camera — and not just monitoring the dock depth — but partnering with the dock dealers,” Thompson said. “We’re adding GPS tracking, even to the dock so if you’re dock breaks loose (you can find it).”

The business is based on a piece of cellular-capable hardware installed to the dock that includes a security camera. It connects to two apps, one provided to the customer and another provided to dock dealers.

Customers are able to connect to their security camera, monitor dock depth, check the GPS devices attached to their boats and other vessels, and — if they’ve hired a dock service company — to even request their dock be moved with the changing lake level.

The business was borne out of Thompson’s own frustration. Living in Atlanta but owning a home on Lake Lanier, he found he was always worried about the condition of his dock and boat.

“My focus was taking care of that dock that I spent $40,000 on, taking care of my boat lift that I spent another $10,000 on. I’ve got a Sea Ray sitting on top for another $30,000, and I’ve got two Wave Runners sitting over there. If you add all that up, you’re looking at $100,000,” Thompson said in June. “That’s what I was worried about: how to protect that.”

But now, he’s created an Uber-style app for dock service. His app will allow lake dwellers to simply tap their screen and notify their dock servicer that they need their dock moved.

Thompson’s hope is to save money for both dock companies — who spend huge amounts of cash on gas, equipment and people to boat around the lake checking docks that don’t actually need to be moved — and customers who pay potentially hefty annual subscriptions for dock service.

Look for the Thompsons and Dock IQ at the Marine Specialties booth at the boat show.


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Arrival of region’s biggest shipment of private yachts in Thailand

Boat Lagoon Yachting Co., Ltd., Thailand’s largest importer and distributor of luxury yachts with more than 23 years of experience, has made history in the region’s yachting industry with the importation to the region of the largest single shipment of luxury yachts, worth over Bht 1,400 million.  The shipment comprises nine luxury yachts manufactured in the United Kingdom by one of the world’s leading luxury yacht builders, Princess Yachts, with sizes ranging from 62 feet to a superyacht of over 100 feet.

Mr. Vrit Yongsakul, Managing Director of Boat Lagoon Yachting Co., Ltd., said, “This very large shipment helps further solidify Boat Lagoon Yachting’s position as Thailand’s leading importer of luxury yachts and one of the largest in the region.  It adds to the 200 boats we already have in the water throughout the region, giving us the economy of scale to further invest in the most comprehensive after-sales and maintenance facilities.”

He said, “We are seeing surging interest in the yachting lifestyle, especially in Thailand.  It’s largely being driven by the appeal of the absolute privacy that luxury yachts provide an owner together with giving the owner an ability to reach beautiful and uncrowded beaches, and at any time at the owner’s pleasure.  Because of the level of comfort and luxury of modern yachts, it’s like taking your own condominium with you, complete with living room, kitchen and bedrooms.”

Mr. Yongsakul said that yachting was also a very social sport where friends and family take several yachts out together to go cruising to islands in the way that owners of luxury sports cars or motorcycles will go out in groups during weekends, helping to cement long-lasting friendships.

According to Mr. Yongsakul, global experience shows that the yachting lifestyle increases in popularity as a country’s per capita GDP approaches US$10,000, and with Thailand’s per capita GDP now at around US$ 6,000, the sport is seeing rising interest.

The fleet of new arrivals includes a Princess 62, Princess 64, two Princess S65s, a Princess 68, two 80-foot Princess 75 Motor Yachts, an 88-foot Princess 88 Motor Yacht, and a 100-foot Princess 30M superyacht with prices ranging from around Bht 80 million to Bht 450 million, each.

“The Princess 62 is the newest addition to the Princess line of luxury yachts and incorporates the latest ship-building technology to make the yacht lighter, stronger and more fuel-efficient and with an interior design that is bright and airy,” Mr. Yongsakul added.

Boat Lagoon Yachting offers a comprehensive range of yachting products and services to suit every need and every occasion, including new and pre-owned yacht sales from world-class brands such as Princess, Jeanneau, Prestige and Wider, yacht rentals, yacht management and after-sales services.

Boat Lagoon has made substantial investment in its own maintenance infrastructure that includes its own Bht 1,200 million, 80-rai service and maintenance facility.  It has more than 80 staff, with many experienced staff including expatriate engineers.

Boat Lagoon Yachting has nine offices in five countries, including Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and the Maldives, as well as five branches in Thailand in Bangkok, Pattaya, Krabi, Koh Samui and Phuket.

 


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Boat show big business for Lake Lanier companies – Gainesville …

Local dock builders, marinas, boat dealers, organizations and educational institutions are playing a large role in the event and make up a significant portion of the vendors in Atlanta.

As a result, the show is not only a showcase of extremely expensive boats or fishing equipment and expertise in the Southeast, it’s a forum for innovation and news around Lake Lanier.

This year, Lanier Technical College will reveal its plans to establish a marine technology degree program that for now will focus on engine maintenance and repair but could eventually encompass a wide range of disciplines.

Lanier Tech President Ray Perren will discuss plans to launch the program in 2019. The move is intended to offer students a path to employment in a growing field in Georgia, which ranks ninth in the nation in sales of boats and equipment — adding up to $550 million in sales in the state, according to the organizers of the Atlanta Boat Show.

Perren will discuss the program at the show beginning at 9 a.m. Thursday at the World Congress Center.

Meanwhile, Hoschton’s Windsong Sailing Academy is ringing in its 20th year at the show.

“It’s one of the largest events for the sailing community, and it’s been a hugely successful event for us in the past years,” said David Crumbley, owner and operator of the academy.

Crumbley and his American Sailing Academy-certified instructors offer a wide variety of classes and training on everything from introductory sailing to survival at sea.

Windsong Sailing will offer seminars on Friday, Saturday and Sunday focusing on introductory sailing, celestial navigation and chartering tips and tricks.

“Coastal navigation is what you do near land when you can see coastal features,” Crumbley said. “Celestial navigation is what you do in the middle of the ocean.”

Chartering tips and tricks will focus on how to rent a sailboat while traveling. The academy’s general instruction includes about 200 classes, but the academy also offers just-for-fun programs for both singles and couples.

The Atlanta Boat Show is going to be a critical event for Matt Thompson and his son, Tyler, this year. They’re launching their smart-dock startup: Dock IQ.

Thompson talked to The Times in June about his business, which was then called Watch My Dock — a combination of hardware and app that would allow dock owners to keep tabs on their equipment while they were away.

But since then, the idea has grown into a full-fledged smart dock business that mirrors what Amazon’s Alexa has brought to the home.

“It’s really evolved. It started out just being a dock monitoring service, but it really ended up being more of a security system, a video camera — and not just monitoring the dock depth — but partnering with the dock dealers,” Thompson said. “We’re adding GPS tracking, even to the dock so if you’re dock breaks loose (you can find it).”

The business is based on a piece of cellular-capable hardware installed to the dock that includes a security camera. It connects to two apps, one provided to the customer and another provided to dock dealers.

Customers are able to connect to their security camera, monitor dock depth, check the GPS devices attached to their boats and other vessels, and — if they’ve hired a dock service company — to even request their dock be moved with the changing lake level.

The business was borne out of Thompson’s own frustration. Living in Atlanta but owning a home on Lake Lanier, he found he was always worried about the condition of his dock and boat.

“My focus was taking care of that dock that I spent $40,000 on, taking care of my boat lift that I spent another $10,000 on. I’ve got a Sea Ray sitting on top for another $30,000, and I’ve got two Wave Runners sitting over there. If you add all that up, you’re looking at $100,000,” Thompson said in June. “That’s what I was worried about: how to protect that.”

But now, he’s created an Uber-style app for dock service. His app will allow lake dwellers to simply tap their screen and notify their dock servicer that they need their dock moved.

Thompson’s hope is to save money for both dock companies — who spend huge amounts of cash on gas, equipment and people to boat around the lake checking docks that don’t actually need to be moved — and customers who pay potentially hefty annual subscriptions for dock service.

Look for the Thompsons and Dock IQ at the Marine Specialties booth at the boat show.


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Global Underwater Boat Light Market 2017 Key Players – AAA WORLD-WIDE ENTERPRISES, Cooper Crouse-Hinds …

Global Underwater Boat Light Sales Market Research Report 2017 tracks the major market events including product launches, technological developments, mergers acquisitions, and the innovative business strategies opted by key market players. Along with strategically analyzing the key micro markets, the report also focuses on industry-specific drivers, restraints, opportunities and challenges in the Underwater Boat Light Sales. This research report offers in-depth analysis of the major market segments, and different geographic regions, forecast for the next five years, key market players, and premium industry trends. It also focuses on the key drivers, restraints, opportunities and challenges.

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Marine Accessories Corp. names two US outside sales agencies

Marine Accessories Corp. has hired the Derema Group, Inc. and Haimes Coleman Group to represent its brands in the United States. Derema will represent Fishmaster, Monster Tower, TurboSwing and XTP tower companies in the Northeast, Midwest and West Coast markets.

Haimes Coleman Group will represent these brands and MAC’s marine canvas brands – Great Lakes Boat Top and Westland Industries – in the Southern region.

“We identified that our internal assets are most valuable executing our aggressive new product plan,” said Rick Reyenger, MAC’s chief executive officer. “We hired external professionals with proven track records to expand our sales in those retail, dealer and OEM markets where we are not already well represented. This allows both teams to focus on what they do best.”

Derema Group, Inc. is specifically responsible for sales in Connecticut, Washington D.C., Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

Haimes Coleman Group will be responsible for new business development and sales in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

“These two sales agencies are known for their professionalism and successful track records,” Reyenger said. “That is extremely important to MAC because they are representing our brands in the marketplace. Their efforts will complement our existing channels in identifying opportunities not only for new sales but for new product. That saves valuable time that the MAC management team can use to ensure our brands continue to lead their respective segments.”



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Boat retailer, medical office get initial OK from Gainesville planners

A burgeoning speedboat retailer got the OK from the Gainesville Planning and Appeals Board on Tuesday to develop a storefront at the intersection of McEver Road and Hillside Gardens Lane in Hall County.

City Council will have the final say when it reviews and votes on the proposal at its Feb. 6 meeting.

Skier’s Marine Southeast opened a temporary location in Oakwood in December, and owner Rett Tyler said he plans to complete construction of the permanent Gainesville retail center by the end of the year.

Tyler has opened other retail locations in Alabama and Tennessee.

The Gainesville store, which would also be adjacent to Gainesville Exploration Academy, Hall the County recycling center and a funeral home, will have MasterCraft ski and wakeboard boats displayed inside and out.

Tyler said the facility would be “state-of-the-art” like the Porsche equivalent of a boat store with most selling for an average of $130,000.

Tyler said he’s making a $6 million investment and expects to have $12-15 million in retail sales annually.

“We know what we’re doing,” Tyler said.

Planning officials said they would advocate for Tyler to use a gravel road and lot rather than a paved, impervious surface at the location, but the city’s Department of Water Resources must first review the proposal.

In other business, the planning commission also gave its approval to the development of a 10,800-square-foot medical office building on the corner of Park Hill and South Enota drives.

The location is catty-corner to a CVS Pharmacy and adjacent to a senior living facility opened in the last few years.

City Council will also vote on this proposal at its Feb. 6 meeting.


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Boat Dealer Wants His Property Rezoned, But Sunrise Beach Says Not Without A Plan

SUNRISE BEACH, Mo. — The owner of Heartland Marine says he was misled when he bought a five-acre property on Highway 5, but the city is reluctant to rezone the land without seeing a plan for how it will be used.

The Sunrise Beach Planning and Zoning Commission tabled a rezone request by Jason Todd, owner of Heartland Marine, to rezone his Highway 5 property from Commercial-1 to Commercial-2, at their Monday, Jan. 8 meeting.

The property is located at 16238 Highway 5, in an area considered to be “old town” Sunrise Beach.

“North of the school, to Lake Road 5-35, is considered ‘old town,'” Shrimp Daddy Owner Dean Underwood explained. Underwood’s restaurant is next to the proposed rezone property. “And the PZ committee planned for that area to be light commercial,” he said.

The village received letters of opposition to this rezone request from Sunrise Beach residents and business owners, including Shrimp Daddy’s, Sunrise Cantina, Lake Sunrooms and the American Legion Road Mobile Home Park. The meeting got pretty unruly: a call to order by a gavel was necessary four separate times due to arguments and disruptions.

Multiple citizens and business owners spoke in opposition to the rezone request, due to concerns that Todd was moving his boat dealership to the property. Todd owns Heartland Marine on Route TT, in Sunrise Beach. Underwood contended that the TT property looked like a junk yard. “I don’t want that next to my restaurant,” Underwood said.

“We need to be sure the integrity of the area is maintained,” Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman Gerald Jasper agreed.

C-1 zoning allows uses such as restaurants, offices and schools. But if Todd were to obtain a C-2 zoning, he, or anyone that he sold the property to, could use the property for a bar, hotel or large retail operation. According to Sunrise Beach City Planner Roger Corbin, the difference between planning for C-1 (Neighborhood Commercial) and C-2 (General Commercial) zoning has to do with traffic use. “C-2 zoning could result in higher traffic use that could be disruptive to the ‘old town’ neighborhood,” Corbin explained.

Todd says when he purchased the property he was told it was zoned Industrial. “Even the person I bought the property from thought it was Industrial,” Todd said.

The businesses on the property before village zoning came into place in 2009 would have required higher than C-1 zoning, but, according to the village master plan, since they have not been operational for more than six months, they cannot be “grandfathered in” and future uses must comply with the current C-1 zoning.

“I am not moving my dealership,” Todd explained. “We sell a high volume of boats… I can’t do that kind of business out of a 5-acre property.” He says his plans are to lease the property out. “If I choose to use the property myself, it might be a small boat showroom or storage,” Todd said. “It is an investment property, and will not be my main dealership.”

But the PZ commissioners and business owners seemed uncomfortable with not knowing what kind of business would be conducted on the property. “We don’t know what his plans are,” Underwood said. “Why would he need C-2 zoning?”

Planning and Zoning Commissioner Dawn Merrill spoke out at the December PZ meeting, stating she was open to helping new businesses come into the village because it is good for everyone. But, at the January PZ meeting she requested income proof and a business plan, before making a decision. “I want to see annual sales and whether or not this will bring tax revenue into the village,” Merrill said.

The board also agreed with Linda Krehbul, a Sunrise Beach resident, who said the empty building on the property was not productive or attractive to other new businesses or residents.

PZ commissioners voted unanimously to table the request pending further information, since they had not received a definitive business plan from Todd.

Todd said he would be happy to present a more detailed plan to the commission, but he said he will not know who he will lease the property to, until it is leased.

The next meeting of the Sunrise Beach Planning and Zoning Commission is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 5 at the Sunrise Beach City Hall.


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Expanding boat-building business sets new course in Gardiner …

GARDINER — When Southport Boats hits its stride this year in its new larger manufacturing space in South Gardiner, a new boat is expected to leave the facility every week.

That pace is expected to fulfill the company’s backlog of 50 outstanding orders and to meet the growing demand for its line of center console ocean fishing boats along the East Coast.


photo-store

“It’s fun to build a high-end product, and we build a high-end product,” George Menezes, chief operating officer of Southport Boats, said Monday on the brightly lit manufacturing floor.

For Gardiner, whose history was built on manufacturing, the relocation of the company adds a layer of manufacturing back to the local economy.

“There are a lot of people in Gardiner who have the skills for that kind of work,” Patrick Wright, executive director of Gardiner Main Street and economic development coordinator for the city of Gardiner, said Monday.

“We’ve got this great manufacturing heritage in Gardiner and the space to do it in. When you look at the built space, there’s not a lot of job density that can happen without some kind of manufacturing process.”

The boat closest to completion is a 33-foot model, which will retail for between $350,000 and $380,000.

The company makes boats that range from 27 feet to 33 feet long. This year, it plans to add a new, larger model with a cabin that will be about 40 feet long.

This increase in both the number and kind of boats is being made possible by moving the boat building operation from Augusta at the end of 2017 to vacant warehouse space on River Road.

The expansion is the next step long-term plan which included the acquisition of Southport Boats, announced in August 2017, by Tuxedo Yachts, a holding company created to acquire luxury-oriented boat businesses.

“This space is 55,000 square feet,” Menezes said. “We were in about 15,000 square feet in the other building.”

Currently, the business has 45 total employees. The smaller space limited the company’s ability to expand its output, but with the larger space and the 10 additional employees that were brought on before the move and the 15 to 18 workers the company expects to hire this year, the production pace will pick up.

“In 2017, we built 28 boats,” Menezes said. “We could have built more, but we didn’t have the space. This year, we’ll build upwards of 50, and we have the sales to back it up. We have backlog that will take us through July. A lot of the boats are already paid for.”

Standing in the middle of the noise and activity on the manufacturing floor, Menezes said Southport has six to eight boats in different stages of production going on at any given time. A Southport boat takes six weeks to complete. The company uses an assembly line process, and between its two lines of boats, workers will complete one boat a week.

Southport boats are built by layering fiberglass fabric on a mold and infusing it with a resin in a vacuum to make the composite material hull and the internal support structure. The decks are made on a different mold using the same process. The boats are wired and fitted with speakers, electronics, a refrigerator and outboard motors and finished with upholstered benches and a composite canopy which is fitted to a frame that’s fabricated by another company.

“There’s a big investment in tooling, which are the molds,” Menezes said. “We build an actual-size hull just for the purpose of casting a mold, then we throw it away. Whenever we make a new model, we’ll spend between $300,000 to $800,000 on tooling, for the molds and the jigs and the fixtures.”

The second line the company produces is Carbon Craft luxury tenders; they were originally produced in Florida, but as part of the Southport acquisition, that operation relocated to Maine from the Tampa area. The tenders are made with a carbon fiber composite material. Menezes said they are designed to be light so they can easily be brought on board the megayachts they serve.

The decision to move that line to Maine stems from the cachet that a Maine-built boat has in the industry, said Menezes, who has worked in the industry for three decades.

Tuxedo Yachts acquired the boat builder five months after a Pennsylvania company, Creative Pultrusions Inc., acquired Kenway Corp., which owned Southport Boats.

Kenway, which had started in 1947 as Kenway Boats, started making wooden boats and eventually started producing fiberglass boats. Later, the company shifted its focus to producing a variety of corrosion-resistant and custom-fabricated components like pipes and tanks for industrial clients and opened a facility on Riverside Drive in Augusta.

Over the years, Kenway bought other companies that put it back in the boat-making business: the New Hampshire-based Maritime Skiff in 2007 and the North Carolina-based Southport Boatworks in 2011.

At the time of the Kenway sale, Ian Kopp, then company president, said Southport Boats LLC would continue to be owned by him and Kenneth Priest and Michael Priest. But as the companies grow, he said that business would likely be looking for a location in the greater Augusta area into which it could expand.

As they looked for investors, they instead found buyers.

When Menezes came to Southport four and a half years ago, he said there was a huge opportunity for the brand, and the goal was to assemble a team of people who could make the growth happen. Southport currently occupies only a small slice of the market, and there is potential to secure a larger share, he said.

One of the factors company officials considered in relocating was expandability. Being close to the river doesn’t matter, as the boats are moved to dealers via truck. But finding a space that could accommodate the current level of production and the expected additional production does matter.

“We can grow here. We can go two or three years, and we have the option to grow in this facility because there’s 33,000 square feet on the other side of the wall.”

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ


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