228 229 MISTY HARBOR BOATS and Lisa Wilson purchased the company and began manufacturing in Humboldt, Iowa. Then, in 1993, they moved the operations to Fort Dodge. Dave and Lisa continued under the Misty Harbor brand until January of this year, at which time my partners, John Jergens and George Thomas, and I developed the Marine Group LLC and purchased the business from them.” According to Christy, the pontoon segment of the boat industry had grown tremendously throughout the 1990s and into the early 2000s, until the Great Recession came, hammering the entire sector. “Being in a business primarily moti- vated and influenced by the availability of dis- cretionary funds, there was a pretty big swoon in the demand of boats in 2008,” he says. “But then, the pontoon segment of the boating industry has rebounded greatly in comparison to other boat segments. “In 2012, we were building roughly 750 to 800 pontoons per season. I’d say we were primarily regional at that time. A lot of our focus has been in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Those are large pontoon boating states, so it made sense, giv- en our locale.We did distribute to other states beyond that, but our business, overall, has been in those areas. This calendar year, we’ll produce nearly 2,000 pontoons and our distribution goes to Arizona,Washington, Maine, Florida, Texas, and we do some distribution into Canada; we even ship internationally to Australia and China. So, our overall business continues to expand and we expect that to continue over the next three years. We’ve got a projection growth of an additional 75 percent. So, it’s been exciting times.” Today,Misty Harbor Boats operates out of two Fort Dodge locations.“We added a facility in 2016, here in Fort Dodge,where we perform some secondary manufacturing operations,” says Christy.“Our overall square footage is around 150,000 square feet be- tween the two facilities.We employ 145 people.” Christy believes that the company separates itself from the competition in several ways.“Our biggest differentiation that we try to push is value without compromising quality,without compromising the finish and overall appearance of the product,”he states.“For 2018,we have completely revamped our lineup with a focus on continuing to invest in high quality, interior finishes, as well as updating the helm for the captain.Those have been our most dramatic changes for this model year.” “We also differentiate through providing a broad spectrum of product.We produce as small as a 14- foot by 7-foot-wide vessel, up to a 26-foot by 8 ½ -foot-wide. So there’s product for everyone. Some manufacturers focus on larger product, or certain types of product.We try to provide a large spectrum of availability for different types of boaters.” What all pontoon boaters tend to appreciate are their boats’ inherent design features. “You can get up and move around pretty freely,” says Christy, “even with eight people. If you try to do that with some of the other styles of boating vessels that are out there, you can’t; there aren’t good, easy walkways to be able to move about.” Pontoon boats are also more stable. “When you’re dealing