Ran into Craig Barrie, the vice president of sales marketing, of Donzi Marine last Friday during Michael “Doc” Janssen’s “Taste of Torque” party before the Lake of the Ozarks Shootout. (Barrie’s 103-mph run in a Donzi the following day put him at the top of his class.) I’d heard about the relocation of Donzi from Sarasota, Fla., to Washington, N.C., but I decided to let Barrie enjoy the weekend and catch up with him about the move this week.
When I spoke to Barrie this morning, he was more than optimistic about the move. In fact, he said was excited about the change, although it will take him several months to relocate. The Donzi and Proline models will be manufactured in the same plant as the Fountain and Baja by Fountain, which makes sense as all four companies are majority-owned by Liberty Associates, a private-equity firm.
“If you’ve ever been to the Donzi plant in Sarasota, you know it’s pretty old,” said Barrie. “The facility in Washington is very modern. Donzi has delivered 129 boats in the past 12 months. It makes sense for us to bring our production all under one roof.
“It’s good for everyone,” he added.
While Donzi has fared relatively in the past 12 months, at least by Barrie’s numbers, Fountain has struggled. The builder reportedly hasn’t had an order for several weeks, though it should be noted that with dealer floor-planning gone fall is no longer a booming time of year for any production-boat builder.
Barrie said that all Donzi’s 30 current employees have been offered employment at the plant in North Carolina, and that several key team members have already committed to the move.
“We’re taking everyone who’s interested down there September 17 so they can check out the schools and the area, and see where they might live,” he said.
Barrie added that the Donzi employees who relocate will continue to build Donzi models, despite that they’ll be working in the same general plant as workers on the other boat lines.
“We’re going to keep the teams separate,” he explained. “The Donzi people will build Donzi, the Proline people will build Proline, the Fountain people will build Fountain