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KL Outdoor, the maker of Sun Dolphin and Evoke brands of watercraft, sold to New Water Capital, a Florida-based private equity firm. KL Outdoor, the maker of Sun Dolphin and Evoke brands of watercraft, sold to New Water Capital, a Florida-based private equity firm. MIBIZ FILE PHOTO: JOHN WIEGAND

KL Outdoor relocates headquarters to downtown Muskegon

BY Friday, August 25, 2017 02:09pm

MUSKEGON — KL Outdoor LLC plans to establish a new global headquarters for its operations in downtown Muskegon.

The Muskegon-based manufacturer of the Sun Dolphin brand of kayaks and other recreational products will invest $9.2 million in the project, which is slated for the pyramid-shaped Terrace Point building at 700 Terrace Point Drive. The expansion is expected to create 153 jobs over the next three years, according to a statement.

While KL Outdoor has always maintained a headquarters in Muskegon, the move to form a “global” headquarters comes after the company acquired Montreal, Quebec-based GSC Technologies Corp. in April. GSC Technologies also manufactures a variety of plastic kayaks and other consumer products.

“We are extremely excited about the short and long term prospects for this combined enterprise,” KL Outdoor CEO Chuck Smith said in a statement. “The newly formed company is the largest producer of kayaks in the world and will continue to benefit from the fast growing paddle sports business. We are also excited to continue to call Muskegon home and anticipate
the office move to the lakeshore site to be a great benefit to our dedicated employees.”

The Michigan Strategic Fund approved a $765,000 performance-based grant to support the headquarters project. The city of Muskegon also provided the company with a $69,000, 12-year tax abatement to support the project.

The recent announcement comes on the heels of a busy year for the company. In February, the family-held company was acquired by New Water Capital.

KL Outdoor consummated the transaction after an unnamed investor decided to sell its stake in the company, as MiBiz previously reported. At the time, company executives told MiBiz that the transaction infused needed capital into KL Outdoor’s operation at a time when customer demand was strong.

Two months after the acquisition by New Water Capital, KL Outdoor inked the deal with GSC Technologies. KL Outdoor planned to wrap GSC’s products into the KL Outdoor brand portfolio, Vice President Dan Harris told MiBiz at the time.

CEO Smith recently joined KL Outdoor in June to lead the merged companies, according to a statement from New Water Capital LP, the Boca-Raton-based private equity firm that owns KL Outdoor.

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