Donzi, Pro-Line production headed to North Carolina

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1123liberty.webDonzi Marine and Pro-Line Boats are closing their Florida plants in Sarasota and Crystal River to relocate to Washington, N.C., where parent company Liberty Associates LC builds Fountain Powerboats.

North Carolina officials offered state and county economic grants as incentives to encourage the move.

Liberty has also announced plans to relaunch Baja as a stand-alone brand.

John Walker, the newly appointed vice president and chief operating officer of Liberty, said Donzi and Pro-Line boats will be produced in North Carolina by their own dedicated work forces.

“Sales, marketing and administration for both brands will continue to be run from our Florida offices,” he said. “At the same time, the added production volume will significantly enhance manufacturing efficiency at the North Carolina plant, which has been fully operational since November of 2009 when Fountain emerged from bankruptcy under our ownership.”

Production for both brands is expected to commence by late November. Officials say the move could bring more than 400 jobs to North Carolina.

Click here for the full release.

Click here for a local news report from Florida and here for the North Carolina perspective.

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Comments

17 comments on “Donzi, Pro-Line production headed to North Carolina

  1. wetjets

    Sucks for Florida. Pro-line was a great manufacturer that cared about its people and customers. I have owned many Pro-lines We will miss them, and hope this is not a sign of a company going corporate, and losing its way just to make bean counters happy. That kind of attitude has hurt America and small business.

  2. Lynn Halterman

    Good news for North Carolina.  Washington, NC is a wonderful area and I’m sure the community will enjoy a strong work force.

  3. Mark FR

    Sucks big time for Florida.
    It shows how ineffective our state government is and will continue to be regarding our environmental impact fees program. Let us hope that the new Governor elect takes on this fight (doubt it).
    States like NC and SC keep handpicking boat manufactures at will. These are much needed blue collar manufacturing jobs.

  4. boatnut1978

    Good job Florida….NOT…
    Looks like our new governor is doing a great job keeping the jobs in Florida!
    Way to go Rick Scott!!

  5. NC Boatman

    The State of NC has already paid Reggie alot of $$$ to build Baja here once and what did that get us? I hope that Liberty holds up their end of the deal this time. We need jobs in the state, but at what cost? Don’t get me wrong I’m all for helping bring jobs here, but how about the deals that have been made to several boat companies in the last 10 yrs. that we have been left high and dry? Sea Craft, Mako, Cobia, Chris Craft and Baja they’ve all taken the money, then when it gets tough, they run out and leave us holding the empty bag.

  6. Tampa Bay

    Think it is a little early to point a finger at a govenor that hasn’t taken office yet!
    But I hope Florida boaters will remember to support the local brands when it comes time to buy a new boat. Not the brands that pulled out of the state!

  7. COnnecticut Dealer

    boatnut1978, Are you serious?!! How do you explain how Rick Scott could have done anything about Donzi and Pro Line leaving Florida, when he hasn’t even been sworn in yet!
    This is the problem with our population now! They’ve never been educated to how the politcal system works, and on purpose in my opinion, because the teachers unions want to dumb down our population, so they can get their agenda through.

  8. ex disgruntled

    After all is said & done…the boating industry will emerge a tad bit smaller.
    Only the strong will survive.
    These 4 merging boat groups will be the cornerstone of the boating industry and will have about every type and size of recreational boat manufactured @ one facility!
    WOW…off to the market !

  9. john ennis

    A huge loss for Crytstal River and all boaters who found the expert workmanship in Pro Line often lacking in other brands. With Pro Line now in a larger family..with a big drive on the bottom line I can’t help but wonder where quality may go and why , with the millions Florida spends on attracting business it was unable to keep two rather small but  first rate boat companies. from bailing for more lucrative offers. Florida’s real unemployment rate is over 12 percent..the line forms to the right for former Pro Line and Donzi workers.Nice going  Mr. governor.

  10. Karl Kaukis

    Sucks for FL but a sign of the times.  Industry shrink has been so great that we should expect about 1/4 of the number of manufacturing facilities to survie into the future.  Simple math.  Not pretty and hurtful to many, but a regretful fact of life.

  11. SunnySide Up

    OK, people, let’s face a little reality here shall we?  Pro-Line and Donzi were always bottom of the barrel brands and most of that was due to the poor decision making of Johnny Walker.  Anywhere he could pull a dime out of those boats, he did.  And the brands suffered for it.
    Now…they join with Reggie and the defunct Baja?  All four of them are going down in flames because it’s the blind leading the blind up there.
    Don’t blame this on Florida or our politicians…this is a good thing for Florida!  Let’s get the junk out of our otherwise good boat building brand names and not look back.  I’m sorry for the workers at both plants…I really am.  But this has been coming for a long time.  Both plants have been running skeleton crews for years and selling off equipment just to keep foreclosure at bay.  I know how business was run at both plants and I know the principals involved.  That’s why I’m happy to see them gone.  I only wish someone had warned NC what they were getting into, because they’re going to lose their shirt!

  12. E. Shover

    Simple business math.  Business and money flows to areas that offer tax breaks, cheap (and/or skilled) labor, location, etc. North Carolina has both.  North Carolina has been actively seeking boating businesses with great success for quite some time now.
    When times were good and money was flowing like honey, it was fashionable to beat up on businesses and raise their taxes.  This was, or has been, very true in Florida when it comes to the real estate taxes.  So how’s the real estate market look now?  So many decent marinas are now gone now and in their place are condos.  How many of those are empty?
    BTW – how do you beat up a governor that hasn’t even been sworn in yet? WOW!   And you voted?

  13. Capt. Rich

    Hey Conn dealer…looks like the teachers union are doing a bang up job!
    Sad to see Florida loose more companies, especially considering that the state has never benn very “industrialized” to begin with. Fact is that the blood letting at these companies already happend years ago, this was just a technicality.

  14. wilbur

    Moving to North Carolina is a fallacy. The workers up there do not have the skills required to build boats. Mako, Cobia, Chris-Craft have all left. Economy is often sited, but a little secret it is that it was a nightmare trying to train people to build boats in North Carlina. High turnover, different skills….by the time they get a labor force they are in deep snot with quality. Why not stay where you are and run your business efficiently. Some things never change in the boat business. Once again a portfolio of marine industry retreads grabbing headlines. Mark it down, this effort will fail. And I’m not hoping for that, but it is surely going to happen

  15. NC Boatman

    Hey Wilbur, I guess since NC workers don’t know how to build boats, Regulator, Grady White, Albemarle, Carolina Classic, Parker, May Craft, Ken Craft, Hatteras, and a lot of other smaller companies should be looking for a new home with better craftsmen.

  16. SCBoat22

    To NC Boat Man in reply to Wilbur. Thanks, you beat me to it. The CG of boatbuilding in general seems to increasingly favor NC.

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