A pontoon boat factory will create 200 jobs in Bristol

BRISTOL ― Even with the announced closure of two motorhome factories in Goshen at the end of September, other manufacturers continue to expand their operations in Elkhart County.

Barletta Pontoon Boats said it plans to begin construction later this summer on a 184,000 square foot extension to meet demand for its high-end products. Completion of the plant is scheduled for late spring or early summer next year.

“This expansion is necessary for the growth of the business,” said Jeffrey Roth, vice president of marketing for the company. “We no longer have the space to be fully effective.”

There has been record demand for boats and RVs during the pandemic, but the surge appears to be waning and demand is returning to pre-pandemic levels, Roth explained.

The expansion of the Barletta plant is the result of expanding its market share, Roth said, adding that the company is now striving to become one of the top five pontoon manufacturers in the country.

The company’s current line of boat stickers cost just over $50,000 to over $130,000, but a new line of products likely to be introduced later this year could approach $200,000, Roth said. .

With approximately 241,000 square feet under roof on its campus, Barletta already employs approximately 400 people. With the new plant and new product line, it expects to need 200 additional workers, Roth added.

Earlier this year, Godfrey Marine, a division of Polaris Industries, announced an expansion of its manufacturing operations in Elkhart. It plans to create 50 new jobs over the next 18 months to help meet growing demand for its products, the company said.

Keystone, which operates the two Goshen RV factories that will be closed, did not provide an explanation for the closures. But RV dealers have reported that sales have fallen from the peak of the pandemic and shipments of finished goods are expected to slow slightly in the second half.

Rare workforce:Elkhart County’s labor market is tight. Soon Amazon will need another 1,000 workers here

Meanwhile, Barletta is building boats to meet current demand. “We’re having issues keeping boats at dealerships,” Roth said.

Barletta was founded by Bill Fenech, an RV industry veteran who also helped start Grand Design in 2012. After Grand Design was sold to Winnebago Industries, Fenech launched the Barletta pontoons in 2017.

In 2021, Fenech sold Barletta to Winnebago Industries, but he remains president of the company.

“We created Barletta with the goal of redefining the pontoon segment with boats of unparalleled craftsmanship for boaters across North America,” Fenech said in a statement.

“This expansion illustrates the continued progress we have made through the commitment and dedication of our team and the support of Winnebago Industries,” he added.

Barletta Boats

Comments are closed.