Ocean Kayak and Necky Kayak move to Old Town Maine

Posted by: TomAdministrator

Ocean Kayak and Necky Kayak move to Old Town Maine - 08/13/09 09:28 AM

A major relocation is taking place summer of 2009 as Ocean Kayak and Necky Kayak move to Old Town Maine. Johnson Outdoors the owner of Old Town Canoe, Ocean Kayak and Necky Kayak made a decision to consolidate the 3, once separate, companies into one location, in the New England state of Maine. Johnson has owned all for some time now, but each company started out with an entrepreneur's dream as a separate and competing company.




Ocean Kayak, the dream child of famed sit-on-top kayak designer Tim Niemier, has been hosting the Canadian born Necky Kayaks for some time now in the Ferndale Washington plant. Tim moved Ocean Kayak from Southern California to Ferndale WA about 20 years ago or more and the Ferndale plant could be considered hollowed ground by SOT devotees. Most of the significant early development of SOT design and concept has emerged from this location. Who knows, Tim, now with his new start up company, my regain his realm and move back to his old haunts? All whimsy aside, things change, and the move may be a good thing for all.

Old Town Canoe of Maine is an icon of paddle sports past and present. With their start in the wood-and-canvas canoe days, and their endurance into the 21st century of plastic and hi-tech design, they bring a wealth of boat building resources. Maine has a long time cultural history of boat building back to the native American roots, both in a nautical, ocean going vessels and in an inland paddle craft. A strong Maine tradition of sea kayaking will also benefit the sit-in-side Necky brand, a long time leader in sea kayak design, and infuse new horizons for Ocean Kayak.

Maine is a grand paddle sport state, sporting a 3500 mile ocean coastline generously sprinkled with islands, many lakes both large and small, countless rivers, both flat water and white water, as well as estuaries, parks, beaches and wilderness. The state is home to the Maine Island Trail and much of the Northern Forest Canoe Trial passes through it. It should prove fertile soil.



The move out of Ferndale has shocked this hard hit region in Washington State. The people there have already been loosing jobs during the economic down turn. Washington’s loss is Maine’s gain, a state that has been suffering with employment issues since the decline of the mills, paper and lumber industries that once where the back-bone of their economy.

Naturally the decision to move was made in an effort to save money, and increase profits for Johnson Outdoors, and one would hope this would trickle down to the consumers. I suppose that production could have been moved overseas, but I for one am happy that the Johnson brands are still American made.

This cross-country move is scheduled to be finished in September of 2009. Such a change will likely not affect the buyers and end users of these paddle sport brands. At the very most, we may see some minor shortages of supplies in August and September. West Coast dealers will be paying more in freight, and the East Coast dealers will be paying less, but this should have little, if any, affect on prices.

It is expected that the three brands will retain their distinct identities, and this has indeed been the case during the years that that they have been owned by Johnson Outdoors. So we should still be seeing sit-on-tops from Ocean Kayak, sit-in kayaks from Necky and a mix of kayaks and canoes from Old Town. I expect little change, but a greater degree of similar outfitting, which has already been apparent over the years. Now all we can do is keep on eye on the new developments.
Posted by: chpaton

Re: Ocean Kayak and Necky Kayak move to Old Town Maine - 08/13/09 03:00 PM

Just as Tim Niemier seems to be getting back into the kayak business, so too it appears is Mike Neckar the founder of Necky Kayaks. His new venture is Delsyk Design kayaks and at least one model is in production.

Posted by: TomAdministrator

Re: Ocean Kayak and Necky Kayak move to Old Town Maine - 08/26/09 10:23 AM

Maybe Tim and Mike can move into the old plant. wink