FF plant to produce boats in 6 weeks [UPDATED]Published 10:50am Thursday, October 25, 2012 Updated 10:50am Thursday, October 25, 2012
Electric boat manufacturer Go-Float has the keys to a new home in Fergus Falls, and the first batch of boats should be coming out the door in about six weeks.
The business became official owners of the old ShoreMaster Fabric building Tuesday, and general manager Steve Hendrickson said he plans to spend the rest of October and November getting equipment and employees ready to go, but by Dec. 1, the assembly plant should be up and running.
“It’s quite thrilling,” Hendrickson said. “We have a nice clean slate in this building, and it’s laid out better than our current facility in Hopkins. We’re also excited about all of the wonderful support we have received so far.”
The facility in Hopkins will continue to operate, but much of the assembly will move to Fergus Falls. Hopkins will remain Go-Float’s headquarters, and it is where much of the sub-assembly and research and development will take place, he said.
“We will start out with a workforce of eight (in Fergus Falls), but we project to grow to 50 within five years,” Hendrickson said. “We will migrate sub-assembly work to the Fergus Falls facility over time.”
The manufacturer chose to move to Fergus Falls for several reasons. It is less expensive to operate a manufacturing business outside of the metro area, and Fergus Falls has immediate access to I-94, putting it right on a major trucking lane. The city and Economic Improvement Commission also provided resources that made the move good economic choice, said Hendrickson.
“The whole thing just seemed to make a lot of sense,” he said.
Having a presence in the lakes area was another reason Hendrickson thought Fergus Falls would make a good home, he said.
“Go-Float’s vision is to provide families with a new way to enjoy their lakeshore and other waterways,” he said. “Our boats are powered electrically, so it’s a greener solution as far as the ecosystem goes. You’re not burning gas and oil creating emissions in the atmosphere.”
Electric boats don’t have to be winterized, and maintenance is minimal. Other advantages include a quieter ride and a sleek, comfortable design that utilizes a richly upholstered seating area that is soft but doesn’t hold water, Hendrickson said.
“We’re excited to get things up and running,” he said.