Boat production ramps up with construction of A&M Manufacturing and Style Craft Boats in Alachua

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ALACHUA, Fla. (WCJB) — Beginning in the 1970s, hundreds of sailboats were produced each year at the Hunter Sailboat factory in Alachua. For 15 years, the 38-acre site has been inactive.

“It was like a ghost town. Everything was left in place like they had dropped everything and moved on,” said Patrick Williams, who started working at the 210,000 square foot facility in 1988.

Now as site manager for new owner A&M Manufacturing and Style Craft Boats, he has been on the front line during the transition from building sailboats to now pontoon boats.

“I’m glad we made the decision to come back, so we’re going to get it going again,” Williams said.

The five-year plan to ramp up production includes: creating more than 300 jobs, repairing plant infrastructure, and doubling the number of ship moulds.

A&M Manufacturing owner and CEO John Hemken said nearly $6 million would be invested in the project.

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“We’ll bring it down to around a thousand boats a year and we think there will be 350 people here in 5 to 6 years,” Hempken said.

They are hiring and training people for fiberglass, welding and assembly jobs. For more information, click here.

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