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Lakeland Boatworks expanding outside Michigan

Lakeland Boatworks, a Middleville, Mich.,-based manufacturer of wood/composite recreational watercraft, negotiated a lease to develop its first showroom/retail store outside the state.

Located in Syracuse, N.Y., the 5,000-square-foot showroom will serve as the anchor tenant for the nine-story commercial building across the street from the Syracuse Hotel and Towers development and the Galleria Complex.

In addition to displaying the company designed recreational watercraft, Lakeland will sell marine accessories and gifts; foul-weather gear; marine engines from its three OEM partners: Nissan Marine, Volvo Penta and Yanmar; and marine electronics. Restoration and repair services through Lakeland’s manufacturing plant in Middleville can be marketed through the company showroom as well.

“We chose Syracuse as the site for our flagship store due to its proximity to the Finger Lakes regions of New York, the boating culture that exists there and the huge investment in redevelopment in their downtown business district,” said Joe Rahn, Lakeland’s president, in a statement. “In this age of relationship marketing, the Lakeland Syracuse showroom and retail store allows us to know all of our customers by name. By having direct oversight of the manufacturing, distribution and sales functions of our business, we can assure that the customer has direct access to knowledgeable staff and that they are getting the best service and value possible.”

Lakeland Boatworks contracted with Horst Group International, Retail Designers and Strategic Brand Imaging Consultants from Long Island to make the Syracuse store “a boating experience.”

Construction is scheduled to begin Oct. 1, with the store opening planned for March 1, 2009.

While Lakeland Boatworks will keep its manufacturing plant in Michigan, the company said it plans to open two additional retail showrooms in the next three years. Communities in Virginia and Florida are likely targets for the new Lakeland retailing centers.

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