ROSEAU, Minn. – While Polaris Inc. plans to shut down a Syracuse, Ind., plant that produces three boat lines, the snowmobile plant in Roseau continues to thrive, a Polaris spokeswoman said.
“We’re actually hiring in Roseau,” said Jessica Rogers, Polaris spokeswoman. The plant in Roseau has openings for more than 50 employees who will work on the manufacturing lines, she said. Polaris, founded in 1954, employs about 1,500 people at the Roseau plant.
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Polaris has implemented health and safety protocols at the Roseau plant, including temperature checks of employees, requirements for employees who work fewer than 6 feet apart to wear masks and placing physical barriers, when needed, in some manufacturing lines, Roger said.
Polaris announced in mid-April it will discontinue the production of Rinker, Striper and Larson FX boat brands at its Syracuse plant and will focus on its flagship brands: Bennington, Godfrey and Hurricane, which are produced in two campuses in Elkhart, Ind. The Syracuse plant will be closed in June.
The closure of the Syracuse plant will result in the loss of 120 jobs. Some employees will have opportunities to work on the Polaris Boats’ Elkhart campus, Polaris said.
Polaris had been prepared to expand the Rinker, Striper and Larson FX brands and their presence in their segments of the marine industry, said Bob Mack, global adjacent markets and boats president and Polaris corporate development and strategy senior vice president. However, because of the market dynamics and uncertainty of the impact caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Polaris decided not to move forward with investing its resources into maintaining and expanding the Rinker, Striper and Larson FX brands and will discontinue them, Mack said in a news release.
“When we purchased them, we had purchased them as turnabout brands,” Roger said.
The intent was to invest in them and get them to grow, she said. Polaris revised that plan after the coronavirus pandemic hit.
“We’re being very intentional with our investments in our current environment,” Rogers said.
Polaris will continue to provide customer service and parts support for the lines it is discontinuing and will honor the warranties of boats purchased from Polaris.