LEXINGTON COUNTY – Bentley Pontoons in Lexington County are South Carolina’s latest boat builder to develop.
The pontoon company is investing nearly $ 6 million to build a 50,000 square foot addition at its Two Notch Road facility. The new space will be used to house the company’s furniture and services, according to a Lexington County memo discussing the project.
The additional space will allow the company to increase its capacity to meet the ever increasing demand for boats nationwide. Bentley is also expected to hire 50 new workers, according to the note.
Senator Katrina Shealy, of Lexington, whose district includes the Bentley Pontoons facilities, praised the expansion, saying South Carolina’s boating industry is strong and the state has a plethora of places for recreation on the water, including Lake Murray nearby.
In return for its investment, Bentley is in talks with the county about possible tax incentives. A draft of the proposal was not available on January 11 after Lexington County Council took its first steps towards reaching a deal.
The company was not available for comment.
Bentley joins a host of other boat makers in Palmetto State who have grown their operations in recent years.
Scout Boats announced in December that it would construct a $ 3 million product development and engineering building at its Summerville facility. The company, which employs 435 people, plans to add 100 more workers by the end of 2022. Scout has already ushered in an expansion of $ 11 million in 2020.
Also in 2020, Xplor Boatworks in Columbia and Sportsman Boats in Dorchester County grew and Sea Pro Boats opened a second site in Winnsboro.
New boat sales in the United States hit a 13-year high in 2020, with 318,550 boats sold, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association. These sales trends continued into 2021, with an average of 31,000 boats sold per month, the organization reported earlier this year.