Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Pioneer Boats and Economic Milestones in Colleton County

Marketing Manager Henry Sikes with
co-owners Roy McSwain and Mike Holmes
22-foot Islander by Pioneer Boats
Pioneer Boats is successfully launching multiple boat lines from Walterboro. The co-owners of this company are brothers, who grew up around the boat-building business, before forming Carolina Composites as a boat specialty parts manufacturer in 1999. Today the economic success of building Pioneer Boats has the company increasing employee numbers and expanding business with two new boat brands.

In their early years Pioneer Boats was based out of a smaller warehouse in Harleyville, but when they began producing 22-foot bay boats they were forced to look for a larger space. Setting up shop in Walterboro in 2008, co-owners Mike Holmes and Roy McSwain remained committed to the bay boats that are a staple of family time spent on the water. The pace of production remained slow in 2009, but became more steady in 2010 and the business plan for Pioneer to compete against other mid-range cost boats took hold.

In House Upholstery Production
 will create new jobs soon
“Beginning in 2012 we started adding jobs again, and we are presently at 80 employees,” said McSwain. “Our goal is to continue growth until we reach 100 employees, and I’d say 99-percent of them reside in Colleton County. We are on pace to build 900 boats in 2016, which would put us at 65-percent growth over last year.” Business is booming for this local company, because 2015 was up 50-percent over 2014, and they are heading to new heights with a projected $30 million in sales. Colleton County seems to be a great fit for Pioneer Boats, and here’s hoping they continue to make an economic splash well into the future.

To view this feature article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

To view past blog entries about Carolina Composites click on Bulls Bay Boats

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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