White River Marine Group, a boatbuilder affiliate of Springfield, Mo.-based Bass Pro Shops, has acquired Hatteras Yachts. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper made the announcement yesterday in New Bern.
“Boat and marine manufacturing require specialized and experienced workers, and White River Marine knows our state can deliver the people they need to successfully expand their business in New Bern,” Cooper said.
White River plans to invest $35 million to modernize the New Bern facility and will move manufacturing of its saltwater brands — Mako and Ranger Saltwater — from the Midwest to the New Bern. The revamped plant will also serve as a technical center for research and development for the saltwater lines.
White River said it will add approximately 500 jobs in New Bern, an estimated $22 million annual payroll impact to local economy.
It will also invest in maintaining and growing the venerable Hatteras brand.
“We’re committed to support Hatteras in staying true to its roots as a legendary saltwater brand built by a passion for fishing while expanding our operations to better serve all those who love the sea,” Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris said in a statement.
“We are inspired by the many similarities between the pride and passion of the master boatbuilders from our home in the Ozarks and the legendary boatbuilders of North Carolina and the New Bern area … with scores of family members working together and generations of highly experienced boatbuilders taking pride in what they do,” Morris added.
“With Hatteras’ rich heritage of craftsmanship and access to some of the world’s best offshore angling, our aim is to help solidify New Bern as the world’s capital for saltwater gamefish and boatbuilding,” he said.
White River’s expansion plans are to be supported by a 12-year Job Development Investment Grant via the state’s Economic Investment Committee. The grant is expected to grow the state’s economy by $1.17 billion during the course of the investment.
“The marine trades are an important part of North Carolina’s heritage,” said Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “It’s great to see a company with the leadership and reputation of White River Marine choose our state for this important expansion of their company.”
White River Marine Group president Scott Ernest announced that Lauren Good was named director of saltwater operations in New Bern. Good has been with the company for 12 years, holding several leadership roles.
Bass Pro also announced a $1 million conservation pledge focused on wildlife and habitat conservation in North Carolina. Click here for the complete list of grants.
“It’s great to see the next chapter open for this important manufacturing site in our region,” said N.C. Rep. Steve Tyson. “White River Marine Group is the number one company in their industry, and we welcome the new jobs and investment they’re bringing to New Bern and Craven County.”
Click here for a video that shows what the revamped New Bern facility will look like.