By Tina Comeau
FOR THE SOU’WESTER
When the opportunity arose Cory Guimond, president of Millennium Marine, couldn’t pass up the chance to purchase the Donelle 35 and Donelle 43 moulds for his boat building company.
The moulds were purchased from a company elsewhere in New Brunswick that had gone out of business. Guimond said they fit in well with Millennium Marine’s business in Escuminac, N.B., as they filled a gap.
“The moulds were a good addition because I have a 52-foot mould that we will stretch out to actually 60 feet, but at 35 feet it was kind of a blank there,” he said, explaining they had been looking for a mould to fill the 30-45 foot gap in his company’s business.
“The 35-foot is the one that interested me the most. It’s for pleasure boats and for commercial boats, but there seems to be a growing demand for smaller lobster boats, more fuel efficient, more economical,” he says. “They’re fast and, of course, a little less money to build as well.”
While fishermen in places like southwestern Nova Scotia, where the lobster fishery is conducted over the winter, prefer larger vessels, Guimond said the boats they build are well suited to the inshore fishery in markets they serve such as the Northumberland Strait, Cape Breton, the eastern shore from Halifax to Canso, and northern New Brunswick and Quebec.
In addition to building the boats, the company can also sell hull kits.
Millennium Marine is a family business dating back to the 1940s. Guimond says he’s a third-generation of his family to be involved in the business.
He admits that the boat-building industry is facing challenging times, though.
“There are fewer boat builders out there these days. I don’t see it ever coming back to where it once was because there are so many fiberglass boats on the market and the life expectancy is really unknown,” he says. “We’ve been building fiberglass boats here since 1981, so it’s been 30 years and those boats are still going strong.”
And with the U.S. dollar weak, it’s difficult to penetrate the U.S. market.
To generate new business many boat builders are diversifying the products they build. Or looking for new opportunities, which is what Guimond did with the new moulds he’s brought on board. It was a chance he couldn’t pass up.
“It was a well-known company, a well-known boat. The boats perform great, the quality was always good there. They have a good reputation,” Guimond says. “I got them at a good price, I couldn’t let them go.”