Published in Manufacturing

Hemisphere Design Works to close two plants, layoff 68

BY MIBIZ STAFF Thursday, October 31, 2019 02:25pm

MUSKEGON — Kayak manufacturer Hemisphere Design Works is closing two factories in Muskegon, according to a notice filed with the state’s Workforce Development Agency. 

The permanent closure will be completed by December and will result in 68 people losing their jobs. 

The company had been in the process of seeking capital that would have enabled it to continue operating the two plants. 

“Unfortunately, the company’s efforts have not been successful and the company has unexpectedly learned the term lender will not provide additional funding,” according to the notice. 

The company could not be reached for comment. 

Hemisphere Design Works’ brands include Sundolphin, Future Beach and Evoke kayaks. 

The company, which claims to be “the world’s largest kayak manufacturer,” was formed in 2017 from a merger between Muskegon-based KL Outdoor LLC and Montreal, Quebec-based GSC Technologies Inc., a manufacturer of organization products like storage totes, folding furniture and shelving systems. 

Hemisphere is a portfolio company of New Water Capital Partners, a Florida-based private equity firm that initially acquired KL Outdoor. 

At the time of the KL-GSC merger, the kayak brands made by Hemisphere Design Works held 30 percent of the market with a forecast of double-digit growth through 2020, according to a statement. 

The company opened a 400,000-square-foot manufacturing and distribution facility near Atlanta, Ga. last year “to be the cornerstone of a planned expansion into the Southeast region,” according to a release. At the time, Hemisphere Design Works employed 500 people.

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