These boats range from $250,000 up to $1.5 million. They are handcrafted from mahogany and take about 2,000 hours to build. The company that makes it is called Grand Craft in Genoa.
“So Grand Craft boats are definitely a very high end. This is not your typical purchase,” said Patrick Gallagher, President and CEO of Boats.
He bought the company in February 2021 and in June moved it from Michigan to Genoa in Walworth County. The boats they make are similar to those from the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s.
“I think what they like most about Grand Crafts is that it’s a mixture of vintage styles, lines and designs from the past paired with the latest technology and features in the boat,” he said.
Celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, Robert Redford, and George Clooney all own a Grand Craft.
“The wonderful thing about wooden boats is that they actually have become heirlooms for most people,” Gallagher said.
If cared for properly, these boats can last several a lifetime thanks to the craftsmanship.
Previously, Grand Craft only produced about one boat per year. But now, Gallagher has big plans for the future.
“We are looking to sell about five this year. We are looking to build and sell about 10 next year, and then in the third year we expect we will build another 20.”
It is an important economic boost to the state. Grand Craft employs people from Wisconsin and obtains supplies from Wisconsin businesses. In addition, Gallagher decided to create the Lake Geneva area because it already had the skilled labor he needed.
“We also picked her because she’s a talent pool and that’s exactly what we were looking for,” he said.
Since there were wealthy homeowners who had boats on Lake Geneva, the people who had the knowledge to make these fine vintage style boats were already here fixing the boats.
Despite their high price, these boats are in great demand. Some customers want bigger, more expensive boats, Gallagher said.
“Many of the customers we work with are requesting larger boats up to 36 or 42 feet in length, and these will exceed one million, and some will reach two million.”
So, don’t be fooled by the cornfields. You never know what could be built next to one.
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