Seth Johnson/Daily Journal: Go-Float was honored at the annual Manufacturers Appreciation Breakfast Wednesday morning for being the newest addition to the list of Fergus Falls manufacturers.

Archived Story

FF plant to produce boats in 6 weeks

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.

  • doctipster

    Lets take light of this. This business is moving from Hopkins to Fergus Falls, A major reason is because of the tax base.

    So Fergus Falls City Council and School District take heed. If you want to keep this business around, you might want to re-think your expensive thoughts, or as you can see, Employers will cut ties and move their business.

    We DO NOT need to upgrade our athletic facilities just because we have a current tax that is set to expire. That is crazy talk. My wife didn’t go out and buy a car just because I just got done paying off car last month. Normal people don’t do things like that, and neither should our school district.

    And I urge the city and school district to look carefully on how this question is worded on the ballot. There is a group of people ready and waiting to see how the question is worded. The school has been pushing that this is not a tax increase because it is just replacing the old tax. It should be noted on the ballot that by voting Yes for this you are voting for a tax increase, or it could be put “By voting No you will be getting a tax reduction. But if the wording isn’t correct this action if passed will go straight to the court system and be thrown out. We as a tax paying group will not allow this to be passed under false impressions.

    • stymie

      Since taxes were not mentioned in the article, we don’t know if that was a reason. Either way, property owners and businesses alike are going to be hammered by state and local governments in the coming years, it doesn’t seem to matter who’s in office.

    • Jake Krohn

      No need to wait for November 6 to see how the question will read. It’s right here:

      http://myballotmn.sos.state.mn.us/QuestionDisplay.aspx?QuestionId=55

      Minnesota residents can get a preview of their entire ballot on the Secretary of State’s website:

      http://myballotmn.sos.state.mn.us/

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