Irwin Jacobs sent a letter to suppliers this week saying he's looking forward to doing business with them once again, while recognizing many were hurt financially when Genmar filed for bankruptcy.
"I totally understand that there may be some reluctance as to whether or not your company may want to do business with us again," he wrote in the letter dated Feb. 2. "I want to assure you that our new recreational boating enterprise has never been financially stronger than we are today."
Jacobs, though his company Jacobs Trading Co., along with business partner John Paul DeJoria, recently formed J&D Acquisitions and purchased the Marquis and Carver yacht lines at auction. They later purchased Larson, Seaswirl, FinCraft and Triumph boats, and other assets, from Platinum Equity, which last month bought the majority of the former Genmar Holdings' boat lines.
In his letter, Jacobs acknowledged it may seem odd to say his new company is financially strong, but "J&D has purchased all of their recent boat company acquisitions ... for cash, as well as additionally we've invested several million dollars in working capital into the companies."
He asks suppliers to offer their products at competitive prices and plans to give priority to previous Genmar suppliers offering competitive prices.
"I've been happily surprised as to their wanting to do business with us," Jacobs told Soundings Trade Only this morning. "Unsolicited, we're getting calls from other vendors in the industry who are asking to become our suppliers, who haven't been and some that used to be asked to come back and people who cut us off during the process are asking to come back."
Several vendors who spoke with Soundings Trade Only confirmed they will again do business with Jacobs, though some said they would do it on a cash-on-delivery basis.
Jacobs said "everything is really, really active" right now as he gets these boat lines back up and running, and said things are going better than he expected. The Little Falls, Minn., plant is booked through the third week in March, he said, and planning is under way to come out with new, innovative designs for the boat lines.
Also, he said, the company is looking at moving the Triumph line from North Carolina to an existing facility and should have a decision on that possibility in the next few weeks.
"It's really amazing to me, from such a low I was going through in this whole process to what a high I'm going through right now," he said. "It's exciting to come to work again - we're building rather than tearing down."
For more on this story, read the March issue of Soundings Trade Only.
— Beth Rosenberg