Glasstream reports growth in 2011

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Panama City, Fla.-based Glasstream Powerboats experienced 100 percent growth this year, according to company president Kruis Retherford.

“We build a lot of the bay boats, the 17- to 24-foot boats for the local market,” Retherford recently told the News Herald newspaper.

Retherford also pointed to the company’s export business as a reason for its success.

“We have a load of boats going overseas two weeks from now, over to Saudi Arabia,” Retherford added.

Glasstream, which has about 35 employees, seems to have survived the recession in good shape. Retherford attributed the company’s success to hard work, innovation and creativity.

Glasstream focused on smaller boats when the economy slumped, and now, Retherford said, it can hardly keep up with demand.

“This is what we do for a living and this is what we do really well,” Retherford said. “We have been in business for almost 33 years. There are a lot of ‘cookie-cutter’ products in the marketplace. A lot of boats look the same. When you see a Glasstream on the water, you know it’s a Glasstream immediately.”

Retherford credited much of Glasstream’s success to A.L. Kirkland, the mastermind behind the company’s hull designs.

“I design them from scratch, and I build them,” Kirkland told the newspaper. “I do all my own tooling and design. Even our logos are hand-painted. We don’t put any stickers on our boats. I can’t stand tape; it cheapens the product.”

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