By Ken Hedler
July 31, 2017 at 11:32 p.m.
Skeeter Products Inc. is adding boat trailer manufacturing to its operations and plans to hire 35 people to staff a new 43,000-square-foot factory in Kilgore.
Production of Skeeter Built trailers will match production of the company’s performance fishing boats by the end of the third quarter, officials said Monday.
“The expansion into the boat trailer category was another step with our overall focus on the vertical integration aspects of our business,” Senior Vice President Jeff Stone Sr. said in a statement. “With the addition of Skeeter Built trailers, we are now positioned as an industry leader in delivering the total boat/trailer package.”
Skeeter, which has been building boats in Kilgore since 1972, has outsourced trailer manufacturing, said company spokesman Brady Lobue. It began building prototypes for its trailers earlier this year and started production last month, said JoAnne O’Bryant, senior marketing projects manager.
The expansion plans drew praise from Kilgore Mayor Ronnie Spradlin.
“It’s exciting and says a lot about our workforce here,” he said. “They could have located anywhere or even bought a manufacturer instead of starting one up.”
Skeeter currently has about 280 employees, Lobue said. Company officials declined to say how much the new jobs would pay.
All 2018 Skeeter Bass and Deep V models will have a Skeeter Built trailer manufactured in Kilgore, company officials said. All Bay boat aluminum trailers will be transitioned within the next year.
Skeeter boats are sold by dealers throughout the country, O’Bryant said.