An unexpected boom in the boating industry struck last Spring when the pandemic hit the United States. As states began to slowly reopen, many people found themselves looking for outdoor activities in which they were able to stay socially distanced. This sudden interest resulted in more first-time boat buyers than the industry has seen in the past decade. With this huge increase in people on the water, boat manufacturers have found themselves falling behind on an overflow of orders.
As of March 4th, Bennington manufacturers say they plan on expanding immediately. The company already has over 600 workers in Indiana and plans on expanding further into Elkhart County. Jake Vogel, President of Polaris Boats, Bennington’s parent company says “We are back to, and exceeding pre-pandemic, and actually all-time levels for us right now. People having a newfound appreciation for being outdoors and time with their family and friends on the water and our boats are a perfect platform for that.”
Bennington’s new facility is about 50,000 square feet and is located about a half a mile away from their other facility in Indiana. The boating industry employs about 690,000 people and Bennington continues to grow that number, expecting to hire at least 75 new workers all making a minimum of $15 an hour. Vogel says the number of buyers of new boats is up an unprecedented 35 percent, and there’s ‘half’ a chance they’ll end up buying something that was made in Elkhart. Bennington is one of the top boating manufacturers in the United States and expects this expansion to be very successful and beneficial to the workers and civilians of Elkhart County.
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