World Largest Kayak Manufacturer establishing global headquarters in downtown Muskegon
Today Gov. Rick Snyder, along with Muskegon Area First and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) announced that KL Outdoor/GSC-Future Beach, the world’s largest manufacturer of kayaks and other recreational products, will invest $9.2 million to establish a new corporate headquarters office in downtown Muskegon and create 153 jobs over the next three years.
Snyder was joined KL Outdoor Chief Executive Officer Chuck Smith along with other company executives, government officials, and local partners in Muskegon to celebrate the company’s planned headquarters in the iconic pyramid-shaped Terrace Point office building at 700 Terrace Point Drive.
“KL Outdoor’s decision to establish its global headquarters and expand here rather than in another location means good jobs for Michigan residents and underscores the strength of the state’s manufacturing talent,” Snyder said. “KL Outdoor’s merger with Quebec-based GSC Technologies makes the company the largest kayak manufacturer in the world, and we can’t think of a better place for that company to be than in the Great Lakes State.”
KLO Holdings dba KL Outdoor, established in 1982, manufactures Sun Dolphin kayaks and other recreational products including pedal boats, paddleboards, canoes, hunting blinds and playground equipment. The company recently merged with Quebec-based GSC Technologies, maker of Future Beach kayaks. The merger is expected to result in a company with increased capacity to accommodate fast-growing customer demands, as well as a broader product offering and brand portfolio.
To accommodate the new growth, the company plans to locate its global headquarters as well as expand production at its existing facility in the city of Muskegon. Michigan was chosen over a competing site Quebec, Canada.
Today the Michigan Strategic Fund announced a $765,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant in support of the project.
“We applaud KL Outdoor’s commitment to Michigan and look forward to working with the company as it continues to expand in the outdoor water sports market,” said Jeff Mason, CEO of the MEDC, the state’s chief marketing and business attraction arm that administers programs and performs due diligence on behalf of the MSF.
Muskegon Area First worked with the merged company in collaboration with the MEDC to assist in KL’s local growth versus out of state possibilities. “The company’s 30+ year history, combined with a great workforce and ideal costal location on Lake Michigan made this the perfect choice for the company’s headquarters” said Ed Garner, President & CEO at Muskegon Area First.
“On behalf of the New Water Capital, KL Outdoor and GSC-Future Beach, I want to thank Muskegon Area First, the city of Muskegon, and the state of Michigan for all their support. Local and state leadership has continuously demonstrated commitment and support of our mutual interests and growing partnership. We are extremely excited about the short and long term prospects for this combined enterprise. The newly formed company is the largest producer of kayaks in the world and will continue to benefit from the fast growing paddle sports business,” said KL Outdoor Chief Executive Officer Chuck Smith. “We are also excited to continue to call Muskegon home and anticipate the office move to the lakeshore site to be a great benefit to our dedicated employees.”
The city of Muskegon has offered a 12-year tax abatement valued at $69,000, and West Michigan Works! has offered hiring and training assistance.
“We are excited and humbled to be selected by KL Outdoor as the home of their new world headquarters” said Mayor Steve Gawron, “ KL has strategically grown into a world leader in design and production of outdoor recreational products, and it’s fitting that their home will continue to be in one of Michigan’s premier waterfront communities”.
About Muskegon Area First Economic Development Corporation The Muskegon Area First is the lead economic development organization in Muskegon County, focused on business attraction, retention & expansion projects the stimulate private investment and job creation. For more about Muskegon Area First, visit www.muskegonareafirst.org.
Contact: Ed Garner 231-724-3172