Saturday, April 25, 2015

Pioneer Boats Expands Workforce to Produce New Line

Henry Sikes in the 197 Islander at the Pioneer warehouse
Henry Sikes is the Vice President for Sales and Marketing at Pioneer Boats and asked me to tour the warehouse with him. Sikes started out as an independent dealer for Pioneer in his home state of North Carolina. After the economic recession that hit boat builders so hard began to fade, Sikes moved to South Carolina in order to be present everyday to oversee the operations at the 122,000-square foot warehouse space in Walterboro, located right beside Interstate 95.
Each boat is built in Walterboro, near to I-95
“We usually rig the 197 Islander with a 150-horsepower 4-stroke motor, and we have multiple motor manufacturer options,” said Sikes. “Our boat model year runs from July 1 through June 30 and for the year 2014 we probably doubled our previous best mark. We build these boats as soon as an order comes through and we have had to expand from 26 employees in January 2014, up to 66 employees in 2015 just to keep up with demand.” Although some of them are working on a new project.
197 Islander cruising along the Lowcountry
Carolina Composites launched a new line of boats called Bulls Bay in 2013 and now in 2015 they are launching the Avenger line of boats. The Avenger boat hull has its origins in South Louisiana, a place where they as many various boat types as they have wading birds. Sikes says they acquired the Avenger brand so that they can build and launch a 26-foot bay boat, with plans to roll out two smaller models after that.

 If I had to guess, I’d say the folks at Pioneer Boats are having fun right now with the growth afforded their small company by customer demand. All of which sounds like a recipe for success when it comes to giving boat buyers a bevy of boating options.

To read this entire magazine feature article click on All At Sea.

To view past blog entries about boat builders click on Hinckley Company - Scout Boats

To view past blog entries about classic wooden boats click on Osprey - Annalee - Aphrodite - Grace

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