77-Year-Old Boat Maker Announces Layoffs

The plant is cutting an entire shift in the U.S., but building a new plant in Mexico.

St. Peter, MN – a town of about 12,000 people – is home to the headquarters of one of the oldest operating boat manufacturers in the United States.

While the Alumacraft name is well known on the recreational hunting and fishing scene, the latest news from the company isn’t fun – Alumacraft parent BRP has announced it will lay off 68 workers at its St. Peter plant.

First opened in 1946, Alumacraft was one of the first aluminum boat manufacturers in the country. After operating out of Minneapolis as a subsidiary of Flour City Ornamental Iron Works Company, the brand moved to St. Peter in 1970 and was ultimately acquired by BRP in 2018.

Since then, the company has expanded its campus in St. Peter, but BRP says it will now go from two shifts down to one. The Minneapolis Star Tribune quotes BRP officials as saying the decision was “very difficult” but was made to address “current marine industry realities.”

The Star Tribune report goes on to point out a recent 9% revenue decline in BRP’s marine segment, which also includes the Manitou pontoon boat brand, leading the company to lower its guidance for the year.

BRP reportedly attributed the segment's declining sales to “a lower volume of boats sold, extended supply chain issues and unfavorable weather in the Great Lakes region.”

The layoff news also comes on the heels of an announcement earlier this year that BRP would be building a new boat manufacturing facility in Chihuahua City, Mexico. The effort, according to Karim Donnez, president of the company’s marine group, would “position the business for success to meet consumer demand for (its) products, be more efficient, and drive market share gains."

The St. Peter plant will hang onto 207 workers, and local officials say they hope to assist those laid off in being “reemployed very quickly."

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