Hot Springs pontoon boat manufacturer announces expansion project, plans to hire ‘hundreds’

by Wesley Brown ( 1,611 views 

Veranda Luxury Pontoons on Monday (Aug. 20) announced the purchase of a 377,000 square-foot factory in Hot Springs that company officials said would allow the Central Arkansas company to expand its operations and local workforce.

Veranda is a sister company to the larger Hot Springs-based Xpress Boats, a family-owned and operated boat manufacturer that first pioneered the welding of aluminum boats for hunting and fishing. Veranda, which was started 12 years ago, specializes in manufacturing the fast-growing aluminum “catamaran-type” boats that are popular for both leisure and fishing.

“The heritage and DNA of our company started — and continues to this day — with a focus on innovation. My grandfather and company founder was the original to all-weld an aluminum boat to create a unibody structure, and today Veranda employs a patented, all-aluminum system that’s completely wood free,” said Veranda President Rory Herndon.

Calls to Veranda and Xpress Boats by Talk Business & Politics were not immediately returned, but the privately-held aluminum boat manufacturer did release a brief statement about the expansion through the Greater Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce.

According to the chamber release, Veranda expects to employ “hundreds of new and talented craftsmen and women” in the Hot Springs area but offered few details on the exact number the company expects to hire or invest in the local expansion project.

“This expansive office and manufacturing space will aid in improved production efficiencies, and enhanced quality, while maintaining and sustaining positive incremental growth,” Herndon said of the new facility that will be located at the former General Cable Corp. plant that was shuttered in late 2015.

Earlier Monday, U.S. Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Hot Springs, tweeted that the company would invest more than $8 million in the former General Cable facility and add 100 new jobs to the local economies of Garland and Hot Spring counties.

“This is a big boost for the #ar4 (4th District) economy,” Westerman tweeted concerning his congressional region.