Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced the expansion of boat manufacturer Sunsation Products’ operations in Cottrellville Township, which is expected to create 20 jobs and generate a total capital investment of $7.7 million due to support from the Michigan Strategic Fund.
“Sunsation’s $7.7 million in St. Clair County will create 20 good-paying jobs and build on our economic momentum,” said Governor Whitmer. “We are supporting today’s expansion and grateful to Sunsation for continuing to bet on Michigan by creating jobs and providing strong in-house training for its workers. Let’s keep working together to create opportunity for Michiganders in every region of our state so anyone can ‘make it’ in Michigan.”
“Congratulations to the team at Sunsation Products on your tremendous growth and success. We appreciate your continued vote of confidence in our state and in our workforce,” said MEDC Sr. Vice President of Regional Prosperity Matt McCauley. “We are grateful to the Governor, legislators and local partners for their continued support of our efforts. We’re proud to join our local partners as we support the investment by this longstanding Michigan company. We will continue working to win projects, invest in places and support our people as we encourage businesses of all sizes to make it in Michigan.”
Sunsation Starville Road LLC is a real estate entity of Algonac-based Sunsation Products, Inc., a manufacturer of high-performance boats since 1982. Sunsation builds every boat from start to finish, including designing, developing, assembling and completing. The boats are distributed through a network of dealers across the U.S. Sunsation currently has 47 employees in Michigan.
Sunsation is experiencing increasing customer demand for its powerboats to the point where the company has outgrown its current building. The company plans to use its real estate entity to construct a new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Cottrellville Township, where it will enhance its operations, offer a new line of boats, and add more boat dealers to its network. Michigan was chosen for the expansion over a competing site in Florida due to the easy access to Lake Huron and the advantage of Michigan’s east coast, boasting shoreline-driven tourism and boating in the region.
“Sunsation Powerboats, a family-owned company, has been producing high-quality, high performance powerboats in the Algonac, Michigan area for over 40 years,” said Sunsation President Joe Schaldenbrand. “We are very proud to have the strongest group of professional skilled boat builders in the boat manufacturing industry. Our team is what has made Sunsation Powerboats so successful. Special thanks to Bruce Seymore of the Economic Development Alliance of St. Clair County, and Joe McCulloch of the MEDC and their teams who put together an excellent economic incentive package for us which certainly helped us make our decision to stay here in Michigan. We look forward to building the greatest boats here in the great state of Michigan for many years to come.”
“St. Clair County has a long history of boat building and Sunsation Powerboats is keeping that tradition alive,” said Economic Development Alliance of St. Clair County Vice President of Business Services Bruce Seymore. “The continued growth of Sunsation Powerboats requires an expanded, state-of-the-art production facility, and we are pleased they have decided to continue their growth here in the county in Cottrellville Township. The EDA provided support to both the company and the community on this project, which will be a win-win for both.”
The state is supporting the project with a $350,000 Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant. Cottrellville Township has offered a 50-percent property tax abatement in support of the project. Learn more about careers with Sunsation here.
“Cottrellville Township is excited to welcome Sunsation Powerboat to our community,” said Cottrellville Township Supervisor Mary Agnes Simons. ”This growing company is bringing well-paying jobs to our township and will be making a positive contribution to our tax base. We look forward to having their home here along the Marine City Highway Corridor (26 Mile Road) in Cottrellville Township in our light industrial area.”
In addition to building on Michigan’s manufacturing leadership, the project also highlights Michigan’s travel and tourism industries. Michigan is the third-largest marine market in the country and ranks No. 3 in boat registrations. Boating has a $11.7 billion economic impact on Michigan’s economy each year, supporting more than 45,000 jobs and 1,500 businesses (source: Michigan Boating Industries Association).
“Michigan’s outdoor recreation economy is tied to our beautiful outdoor places and also to our industry-leading capabilities in technology and product innovation,” said Michigan Outdoor Recreation Industry Office Executive Director Brad Garmon. “We’re excited to celebrate Sunsation’s expansion in the Algonac area as they build on that region’s deep heritage of enjoying, designing and manufacturing industry-leading boats, and we look forward to partnering with them to drive the global recreational boating industry.”
According to new federal data on the outdoor recreation economy, Michigan is gaining momentum in outdoor recreation-based manufacturing like boat building. The state saw a 35 percent growth in value added to GDP from outdoor recreation manufacturing from 2019 to 2022, and ranked fourth nationally in outdoor manufacturing employment growth (7 percent) and outdoor manufacturing compensation growth (12 percent) from 2021-2022.