By Maureen Werther
Hacker-Craft, a long-time maker of wooden motor boats is in the midst of negotiating a sales agreement that could propel sales of the sleek mahogany crafts into Europe, doubling its annual production at home.
The iconic vessels have reportedly been a favorite of the wealthy and celebrities such as Tommy Hilfiger, Donald Sutherland and Rachel Ray.
Erin Badcock, vice president of operations, said the company produced 16 boats in 2016. This year, they have turned out 15 to date and are continuing to work on orders through the end of the year.
The company is still running its operations out of Ticonderoga. However, Badcock said they are still focused on moving the operations south, possibly into Queensbury, to accommodate their potential expansion.
If the European sales deal goes through, it will mean a doubling in annual production for the company. Currently, Hacker employs 27 people full time. Winning new sales abroad would mean the company will hire more people to manage the increase in orders.
According to the company, each boat takes approximately 1,500 hours to complete and the price tag ranges from about $125,000 all the way up to $1 million.
Founded in 1908 in Detroit by John Ludwig Hacker, the company gained a reputation for superior craftsmanship. After going through some turbulent times during the Great Depression, Hacker managed to hold on and continue to grow its reputation for power and sleek lines.
In 1959, local boat maker, Bill Morgan took controlling interest of the company, which was in financial trouble, and moved the operation to Silver Bay in Lake George. Morgan’s level of craftsmanship and commitment to excellence propelled the company back to its former standing. Today, after weathering a series of legal issues following the death of Bill Morgan, owner George Badcock is poised to take the company to a new level.