A new agreement with a global swimming pool manufacturer will save the jobs of 70 employees at a soon-to-close yacht manufacturing facility in Marion.
Leisure Pools Group will purchase the 225,000-square-foot Groupe Beneteau facility, located on 40 acres in Marion, according to a news release.
Groupe Beneteau, a builder of sailing yachts and powerboats since 1884, opened the Marion facility in 1986 but announced in June that it would close by the end of 2020 because of the COVID-19 health crisis.
“It was a tough decision for us to discontinue activities at this plant,” Groupe Beneteau Americas COO Yannick Madiot said in the release. “However, for our future success and out of respect to our dedicated employees, we sought other options. Leisure Pools Group approached us with an innovative solution which allows the plant to remain open while taking advantage of the incredible skills our team has developed over the past 30 years.”
Leisure Pools Group plans a rapid conversion of the plant from boat building to swimming pool manufacturing, with equipment transfers slated to go into place this month. After a training period, the company aims to being production of fiberglass pools in October, and plans to add more jobs in the future, according to the release.
Executive vice president and CFO Chuck West said jobs will be available in production, operations, engineering, logistics, warehouse, accounting and administration.
Founded in 2000 in Australia by father and son Kerry and David Pain, Leisure Pools Group sells one-piece, in-ground composite fiberglass swimming pools in 23 countries.
“This entire idea is focused around finding a way to meet the growing consumer demand for our product,” CEO David Pain said. “We required more capacity in manufacturing space and people to build more of the world's finest in-ground composite fiberglass swimming (pools) to meet the growing demand, and we're eager to access the talents of many of the current Marion team members.”
A grand opening is planned next spring.