Grady-White Boats to expand plant
The Daily Reflector
Wednesday, March 7, 2018
Greenville’s Grady-White Boats is planning to add at least 65 jobs as it expands its manufacturing facility north of town, the company announced on Tuesday.
Company officials said the ongoing building project will add more than 70,000 square feet to create additional capacity for its production of offshore fishing and recreational vessels.
The expansion also will give Grady-White more space to build larger boats, including its new flagship, the Canyon 456 center console.
Grady-White’s last expansion took place in 2003, when it invested $6 million to expand its facility by 50,000 square feet.
The company received assistance for the current project from several North Carolina agencies including the North Carolina Department of Commerce’s Rural Economic Development Grant program, matching funds from the Pitt County Development Commission and educational credit funds for training at Pitt Community College.
Wanda Yuhas, development commission executive director, said working with a company like Grady-White Boats on the project is “exciting and rewarding.”
“Grady-White has been here since 1959, employing our residents, paying taxes, and being an excellent corporate citizen,” Yuhas said. “We are thrilled to give this long-term company this support.”
Mark Doggett, Grady-White executive vice president, said the company is “thankful for this opportunity to increase jobs in our community.
“This expansion will help us continue to provide both a rewarding work environment for our employees and to produce additional outstanding boats to delight our customers,” Doggett said.
Grady-White’s growth also will have a positive effect on suppliers in Pitt County and surrounding eastern North Carolina areas, he said.
“We are fortunate to work long-term with so many terrific vendor partners,” Doggett said. Hudson Brothers Construction is leading the expansion, and completion is expected this summer.
Grady-White builds 28 models of fiberglass offshore, sportfishing and family fishing boats ranging from 18 to 45 feet. It presently employees about 200 people.
The company was founded in 1959 by entrepreneur Don White and boat builder Glen Grady, and began its life in Old Star Warehouse No. 2, a former tobacco storage facility on Albermarle Avenue in Greenville.
Its first four boats were shipped in February 1960. Grady-White employed 38 people at the time.
The company moved to its current site in 1972, breaking ground for a modern manufacturing facility at what is now 5121 Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Hwy.
Grady-White has been awarded every third-party customer satisfaction award ever presented in the marine industry, including the National Marine Manufacturers Association Customer Satisfaction Index award for all 16 years the recognition has been granted.
The company was awarded by J.D. Power Associates for all nine years that studies were conducted in the marine industry.