Go-Float is internationalPublished 11:11am Friday, July 19, 2013
They’ve become popular for the fun they bring to the lakes area, but sales numbers show they’re just as popular around the world.
Workers at the Go-Float facility in Fergus Falls loaded a shipment of 24 watercrafts into a shipping truck on Thursday morning. The boats are en route to the city of Dubai in the Middle East.
International shipments have become more common for the small company after they hit it big with their innovative electric watercraft.
“We’ve been seeing our export numbers grow and this is really an exciting order for us,” said Steve Hendrickson, CEO at Go-Float, a Hopkins based company with a manufacturing facility in Fergus Falls. “International business has become a nice spot in our story as a company and is becoming a bigger and bigger part of our demand.”
Resorts and other water based tourist businesses have shown growing interest in the personal sized crafts since they started exporting in 2012.
The company sent 30 boats to Dubai, a popular tourist destination in the oil-rich United Arab Emirates, in the last year. Other countries that have received shipments include Columbia, St. Lucia, Croatia, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Russia.
“It’s a learning curve. Each country has different kinds of duties and tariffs to pay,” Hendrickson said “It’s not as easy as shipping to Iowa, but a good healthy market is a good healthy market. We don’t mind jumping through the hoops.”
After establishing a strong market in the Midwest, Go-Float shipments have stretched across the country and into Canada. Steady business from international markets help to keep steady production going at home, however.
“Like most water sport businesses, we had a bad spring. Demand has been up and down, but for the most part has really come back strong when the weather turned nice,” Hendrickson said. “But international demand tends to level out the curves in our demand.”
Go-Float boats are sold at 35 dealer locations across the country, including Frontier Marine & Powerspots in Fergus Falls. The Fergus Falls facility employs eight workers and another facility is based in the Twin Cities.
The company has become an innovative part of the Fergus Falls business community. For Harold Stanislawski, executive director for the Economic Improvement Commission, the manufacturer has become a ambassador for the community.
“For a Fergus Falls manufacturer to be in an international market says a lot about the company and puts Fergus Falls on the map,” he said. “This shipment is great. It’s going to a very different type of market in a different type of the world. Who knows what can happen when certain people see the manufacturing that is going on here.”