A Better Boat: Fifth largest manufacturer of pontoon boats in the world is based in Alma

Published online: Mar 02, 2011 News Greg Nelson - www.themorningsun.com
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Pontoons have come a long way from the large, slow, boxy-looking boats of yesteryear.

They are now sleek, fast watercraft that can come adorned with various amenities that can make a day, evening or overnight stay on the lake quite a memorable experience.

Many people probably don't realize that the fifth largest builder of pontoon boats in the world is located in Alma.

Avalon and Tahoe Manufacturing Inc., located at 903 Michigan Ave., has 130 employees and manufacturers about 2,000 boats a year, according to President and CEO Jim Wolf.

The privately owned company was established in 1972.

"Its earliest models were marketed under a different name, with the Tahoe Pontoon brand launched in 1994," said Gregory Knight, the company's vice president and director of sales and marketing.

"(We) had also wanted to add a brand that would speak quality, reliability and luxury so the Avalon brand was born in 2005 to do just that. Both brands have seen a sharp increase in sales since and have continued unceasingly on that path."

Both the Avalons and Tahoes come in a variety of models, including premium, deluxe and economy lines that fit every budget.

"Because pontoon manufacturing is this company's specialty, it is able to offer an incredibly broad choice of over 100 models from 14- to 29-feet long," Knight said.

Read more at http://www.themorningsun.com/articles/2011/03/01/business/srv0000010895196.txt

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