The hiring of 100 new employees is underway as Sportsman Boats expands its Dorchester County footprint.
Gov. Henry McMaster, elected officials, company executives and employees gathered Thursday for a groundbreaking ceremony to kick off the boat manufacturer’s expansion.
The company launched in 2011 with six employees in a 20,000-square-foot space. Since shipping its first boat in 2012, the company has grown to 250 employees and sells through 50 boat dealers throughout the United States, as well as in Australia and Italy.
Sportsman produces two lines of offshore boats, two lines of inshore boats and two lines of center console boats. Boats typically range from 17 to 31 feet.
“We’ve come a long way ... in a little over five years,” Sportsman Boats President Tommy Hancock said during the news conference.
Hancock said the company will invest $3.5 million for the new hires and for the addition of 70,000 square feet of production space at its existing facility at 113 Isaac Way in Summerville.
The company needs the expansion to give more room for its upholstery, welding and small part fabrication operations.
The first phase of the expansion will add a 25,000-square-foot building for welding and upholstery shops. Construction is set to begin in a few days.
The second phase will add an adjacent, 50,000-square-foot building for additional manufacturing space. Both additions are expected to open in the spring.
The company also installed an 800-kilowatt solar array on the roof of its facility.
Sportsman Boats, the S.C. Energy Office, the Business Development Corp., S.C. Electric & Gas Co. and U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development collaborated on the $1.2 million project, including a $294,000 grant from the Rural Energy for America Program.