HOLLY RIDGE | When Onslow Bay Boatworks went looking for a new location to expand its business, Holly Ridge put out the welcome mat.

“We’re very excited,” said Mayor Anita Dingler. “It is an all-around good thing for the Town of Holly Ridge.”

The town and Jacksonville Onslow Economic Development (JOED) recently announced that Onslow Bay Boatworks plans to build a 50,000-square-foot manufacturing facility at Camp Davis Industrial Park in Holly Ridge.

JOED Executive Director Sheila Knight said the new industrial park is being developed by brothers Tom and Bernie Rollins, owners of Gulfstream Steel in Holly Ridge, and Onslow Bay Boatworks will bring a high-quality marine industry to be a centerpiece of the park.

“This facility will be anchor for Camp Davis Industrial Park and set the stage for future businesses to follow,” Knight said.

When Onslow Bay started looking for places to grow its business, the Town of Holly Ridge saw them as a perfect fit for their town and joined JOED, Camp Davis Industrial Park, and other partners in helping to bring the industry to Onslow County - and specifically their town.

Dingler said Holly Ridge was one of three locations being considered by the company and the town saw the opportunity and offered a performance-based incentive grant of up to $46,125 for projected jobs and capital investment.

Dingler said the return on the town’s investment goes well beyond the location of the business to the area.

Onslow Bay, now located in Hampstead, is relocating to expand its growing business.

While the boat manufacturing company is close enough that it can bring its current employees with them, it will also being hiring additional employees, providing new job opportunities for those living in the Holly Ridge area.

It is job securing and business growth for the town.

“The town has had the incentive package to help us grow and bring in new business and jobs to the area,” Dingler said.

Onslow Bay Boatworks manufactures high-end fishing boats for tournament fishermen and Dingler said the town is proud to say its high-quality performance boats will be made in Holly Ridge once the facility opens.

Dingler said the town is hopeful that as they welcome Onslow Bay to their town other businesses and industry will follow.

“Other businesses will see (Onslow Bay) coming into town and when those businesses will see they are doing well and there is workforce in the area and say ‘let’s put our company there, too,’” Dingler said.

Dingler said Holly Ridge is a business-friendly community with a diverse population, from young adults beginning careers to active duty and retired military families, providing a workforce for prospective businesses.

“The Town of Holly Ridge is excited and pleased to welcome Onslow Bay Boatworks to our community,” she said. “The boat manufacturing industry will bring job opportunities and a boost to the economy in our quickly growing area. Our appreciation and gratitude to Camp Davis Industrial Park, Sheila Knight and JOED, and to all those who made this opportunity happen. We look forward to seeing Onslow Bay Boatworks make their home in Holly Ridge.”

The groundbreaking for the new facility is expected in the fall.

Jessica Hayes, office manager at Onslow Bay Boatworks, said the Holly Ridge location was chosen because of the potential workforce and the availability of land.

Onslow Bay Boatworks currently offers a 27-foot Offshore Edition and 33-foot Tournament Edition. Coming soon is a 41-foot Tournament Edition.

Hayes said their current facility is 22,000 square feet and they’ll be relocating to a 55-square-foot facility in Holly Ridge, leaving some room on site for expansion if needed in future. They currently have 16 employees and will be growing their number of employees as well as their boat production.

“We are probably looking at adding 30 positions over the entire process,” Hayes said.

She said that in 2017 they produced 24 boats and are looking at about 30 boats this year. The goal for the first year in the new facility will be to have about 40 boats in production.

Onslow Bay Boatworks founder Brad Knight said they look forward to continuing a tradition of building a top-quality product from their new location.

“Every product we manufacture is built with quality, performance and longevity in mind,” Knight said via a press release announcing their plans. “We feel the correct way to build your boat is to do it right the first time so you have many years of stress-free enjoyment.”

In addition to JOED, the Town of Holly Ridge and Camp Davis Industrial Park, other key partners in bringing Onslow Bay Boatworks to Onslow County were the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, the North Carolina Community College System, and Duke Energy Progress.

 

 

Reporter Jannette Pippin can be reached at 910-382-2557 or Jannette.Pippin@JDNews.com.