Maverick Boat Group is investing $7 million in a 277,000-square-foot expansion on a 38-acre site in Fort Pierce, Fla., creating 100 new jobs.
The company currently builds 25 boats a week in a 66,000-square foot building across its four brands — Cobia, Hewes, Maverick and Pathfinder — including its nearly 35-foot Cobia, said MBG president Scott Deal.
The expansion, which will begin any day and wrap up next spring or summer, will allow MBG to add 15 boats to that weekly total initially. Deal has already been adding staff so that there will be plenty of trained people when the facility is up and running.
“Phase one is 106,250 square feet, and we plan to migrate the larger boats over there,” Deal told Trade Only Today. That will free up capacity at MBG’s existing 9.5-acre facility in Fort Pierce, which will increase production and expand model offerings for each of the company’s four brands.
The company also plans to introduce larger models than it currently offers “if the market continues to do what it’s doing now,” Deal said.
“Things are getting bigger. We have the capability [to build larger models], but we don’t have the facility. Our dealers are calling for it,” Deal said. Dealers are also asking for more boats than the company can supply. “There are too many markets we’re unable to enter,” Deal said. “We can’t supply what our dealers are asking of us, nor can we take on new dealers.”
“This being the boat business, we’re being conservative in our approach, understanding that the market is likely to go up and go down,” Deal said. “We’re going to do what we’ve been doing here the last few years, which is remain debt-free. So we’re not taking on leverage to do this.”
The new property also has a 10-acre lake on it. “It’s a pretty piece of property, and we’re looking long term at trying to create a destination environment,” Deal said. “When we give plant tours, people get really excited. We only do it once a week in the current facility. We would like to set this up in a more retail-friendly environment where the consumer can see his product being constructed.”
In its current facility, “a square box,” the 344 CC has to be physically turned 17 times during production. “This is a long, narrow building,” Deal said. “The nice thing about the new facility is it’s got room to continue to expand. It’s a big enough piece of property that we can build the boats in one straight shot, and we won’t have to turn the boats at all.”
Here’s a video walkthrough and sea trial of the Cobia 344 CC:
Gov. Rick Scott touted Florida’s favorable tax climate as helping prompt the expansion during an announcement on Thursday.
“I am proud to announce that Maverick Boat Group will be opening a new manufacturing facility, which will create 100 new jobs for families in St. Lucie County,” Scott said in a statement. “By working to reduce burdensome regulations and cut taxes, like permanently eliminating the sales tax on manufacturing machinery and equipment, we are making it easier for businesses like Maverick Boat Group to invest in our state. We will work to cut $180 million in taxes during the upcoming legislative session to ensure Florida remains the top destination for job creators.”
“It’s very important and significant that our region and leaders are facilitating and recognizing the importance of manufacturing jobs like the ones we provide,” Deal said in the statement. “The jobs are essential, not subject to offshoring, and preserve the legacy of boatbuilding and manufacturing that is an organic part of the community culture.”