MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark. – An agreement was reached last week on the sale of Yar-Craft Boats to Challenger Inc., the parent company of Bass Cat Boats.
According to a release from the companies, the sale stems from a decision by the Suthers family, owners of Yar-Craft, to assure longevity for the boat brand.
The Yar-Craft brand was purchased by Corey Suthers and Norlen Inc. in 2004. As Norlen grew its Tomcor business arm, it sought to reduce its marine division, making room for its core business structure.
The decision to purchase Yar-Craft came about quickly, according to Rick Pierce of Bass Cat. The two companies had talked previously about Bass Cat purchasing Yar-Craft, but the timing was right this October to acquire the walleye boat builder.
“This all came together pretty quick. I was eating dinner with a marine industry friend in Louisville, Kentucky, last October,” Pierce said in a release. “I was explaining how we just finished reviewing the data on the walleye market were intent on entering the market, developing our own brand. After we finished dinner I retrieved my e-mails and there was a memo from Corey wondering if we were interested in revisiting a Bass Cat purchase of Yar-Craft. It was really a no-thought decision this time, especially considering Yar-Craft is a functioning product line. It all came together very fast. Plus we just finished looking at the viability of the walleye market in depth.”
The companies said the sale of Yar-Craft is not a “sell and goodbye relationship” and both are interested in the mutual success of Yar-Craft as a brand. Former owner Suthers said he feels Bass Cat will provide the level of service and support that is necessary for sustaining business in this economy.
“I said then that if small boat companies all go away the large companies will never listen to the customer, they will build what they want and the customer will suffer in the long run. That still holds true today, the small dealerships stayed strong and the big box store dealerships suffered and some went under,” he said in the release.
Production of Yar-Craft Boats will move to Bass Cat Boat’s Mountain Home, Ark., location. However, it will remain an independent line produced alongside Bass Cat after the move.