See more of the story

Alumacraft Boat Co. has laid off 68 of its employees at its St. Peter, Minn., plant, which city officials say will affect the community's economy.

St. Peter city administrator Todd Prafke said approximately a third of the laid-off employees were from St. Peter — a city of about 12,000 — and the rest live in the surrounding area. There are still 207 employees at the location, according to a spokeswoman for Alumacraft's parent company, Canada-based BRP Inc.

"Alumacraft has been a good corporate citizen in St. Peter for many, many years," Prafke said.

Alumacraft, founded in 1946 in Minneapolis, was initially a subsidiary of Flour City Ornamental Iron Works Company and one of the first aluminum boat manufacturers in the country. Operations moved to St. Peter in 1970 and BRP Inc. acquired Alumacraft in 2018.

According to St. Peter officials, Alumacraft recently expanded its multibuilding campus in St. Peter. The remaining employees will work on a centralized first shift, and there will no longer be a second shift, according to BRP.

Alumacraft officials informed the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) via a letter Thursday that it had informed all affected employees of the layoffs. The filing to DEED was part of the State Dislocated Workers Program, and the layoffs are not subject to the Federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) since the layoffs didn't account for 33% of the company's total employment.

"We made these very difficult decisions to adapt our production to the current marine industry realities and position the business for future growth," a BRP spokeswoman said in an email.

Earlier this month, BRP Inc. reported second-quarter results showing total revenue was up 14% to $2.8 billion in Canadian currency ($2.1 billion in U.S. dollars), but revenue in the marine segment was down 9% to $127 million ($95.1 million USD). BRP's marine segment also includes pontoon boat company Manitou, based in Lansing, Mich.

The company attributed the segment's declining sales to a lower volume of boats sold, extended supply-chain issues and unfavorable weather in the Great Lakes region, the largest market for Alumacraft and Manitou. BRP lowered its guidance for the marine segment's revenue for the fiscal year but still expects total revenue growth of 5% to 10%.

Prafke said the city has been in contact with DEED regarding additional programming for displaced workers.

"One of the positive notes is that based on state data, St. Peter lies within a region where job growth is the largest in greater Minnesota," Prafke said. "There is opportunity, we hope, for many of those families to be re-employed very quickly."