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OBX Boatworks seeks growth in former Hatteras plant

OBX Boatworks has big goals for the original Hatteras Yachts plant in High Point, N.C., where the company began producing boats in 2012.

Owner Brad Flater, a former Hatteras employee in product development, wants to tap into the customized luxury yacht market and is utilizing his employees’ furniture craftsmanship skills to give him an edge.

“When Hatteras was here, it was really something that High Point prided itself on. We’ve got a perfect facility and great work force with the old Hatteras employees,” Flater told the High Point Enterprise. “I would like to turn the facility from an eyesore into something we can be proud of.”

Hatteras left High Point in 1997 to consolidate with the New Bern, N.C. facility, but Flater hopes to make the region a boatbuilding hub again.

Following a stint in the furniture business after Hatteras closed in High Point, Flater returned to his passion in 2010 with the goal of using the latest technology to build fishing boats ranging from 23 to 32 feet in the Outer Banks style.

“The timing was not great to start a luxury-yacht business, but I think people have been waiting so long now to buy a new boat, we’re seeing the market pick up,” Flater said, adding that he wanted to “do something he loved again.”

Since production started in 2012, OBX has built about six boats a year.

With a base price of $355,000, the boat has customized interior features — such as handcrafted cabinets — that Flater hopes will appeal to a high-end clientele he reaches primarily through boat shows and word of mouth.

Flater hopes to revitalize the 135,000-square-foot factory and site as the business grows.

“I would like to get the city and community involved in helping me achieve this goal with the facility, making it something we can be proud of instead of another dead manufacturing facility,” Flater said.

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