Americus boat plant will re-open - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Americus boat plant will re-open

AMERICUS, GA (WALB) -

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

Americus, GA (WALB) – A new company is breathing life into a Sumter County boat plant that's been closed for more than a year. It could create as many as 150 jobs.

Sak Marine reached an agreement with Caravelle Powerboats to reopen the Sumter County plant. Work could start in as little as 10 days with the first boats rolling off the production line just after the first of the year.

This deal almost didn't happen, Sak Marine was preparing to move the company to Florence Alabama, but persistence throughout the community will add up to 150 jobs for a county where unemployment rate is 9.7%.

Georgia Power crews were reconnecting power to the Caravelle Powerboats building on Mathews Drive in Sumter County. The plant's reopening is welcome news to former employees who've had a difficult time finding work.

"Yeah, around here yeah, not many places are left and the one that are full," said Earnie Johnson.

Johnson just started back after working for Caravelle for 10 years. It was Ty Turner, President of Sumter Bank & Trust in Americus who made a last ditch effort to bring Sak Marine Company in Sumter County.

"I hit him up again about the technical college here that we have here as well as Georgia Southwest University, the education, the management that was still available in town or some of them that were," said Turner.

Sak Marine owners said if a meeting could be set up they'd hear the county out, 20 minutes later a meeting was scheduled. County officials say it was a collaborative effort to keep much needed jobs in Sumter County.

"Anytime you lose jobs in difficult economic times it hurts the community, but we're really proud that the Sak family has made a decision to keep this industry here and to re-employ many of the citizens that were there before," said Lynn Taylor, Sumter County Administrator.

Co workers have called Ty Tuner hard headed, he says it was persistence. "I hate no for an answer."

A simple case of singing the area's praises. "Southwest Georgia has a lot to offer in my opinion and maybe we're not telling everybody."

Now a chorus of workers are excited about the company's future. "I've talked to a couple of them and three or four of them I believe are wanting to come back," said Johnson.

A move that also helps improve the county's unemployment numbers a little at a time. 

Sak Marine managers feel that the market for these types of boats is coming back and their confident cost conscious consumers will drive sales.

Sak Marine has hired approximately 20 employees to get the company restarted.

They'll be interviewing soon for more positions. Sak Marine also agreed to lease the vacant Lockheed Martin Building. 

 

More on Caravelle-

  • The company was founded in Arkansas in 1966
  • Caravelle does not use wood in their boat construction
  • The company set up in Americus in 1987
  • In 1997, they started a line of off-shore boats

Click HERE to go to the company website


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