Marine composites toolmaker to revive idle Florida plant

Startup of the former Wellcraft manufacturing site could add 80 composites-related jobs.


Signaling the return of health in the Florida boatbuilding market, JRL Enterprises Inc. (Cape Coral, Fla.) announced plans to purchase the former Wellcraft manufacturing facility in South Manatee County, Fla., to expand the composite tool-making business of its affiliated business, JRL Ventures Inc. The expansion is projected to create at least 80 new jobs over three years, according to Bob Long, president and CEO of both businesses. The former Wellcraft facility has been shuttered since 2008 when the marine manufacturing operation was moved, says Sharon Hillstrom, president and CEO of the local Manatee Economic Development Corp. The deal qualified JRL Ventures for performance-based economic development incentives from the State of Florida and the Manatee County Government.

“The former Wellcraft facility has the elements we need, such as size, ventilation and some necessary equipment,” says Long. “It’s virtually ready to house our expanded operations right away, which is essential to our meeting production schedules for our customers.”
Long says the company is purchasing an additional large 5-axis CNC router for the new location at a cost of almost $1 million, installed.