Wenonah Canoe has announced plans to move construction of its Current Designs brand of kayaks from Victoria, B.C., to Winona, MN, where it will build a new 40,000-square-foot factory.
Wenonah Canoe, founded by Mike Cichanowski, bought Current Designs in 1999. The growth of the company’s kayak business has been robust for the last several years and this growth has led to the need for increased productivity in boat building and logistics management, Cichanowski said. Additionally, the company introduced a new line of recreational kayaks for the 2004 model year, Kestrels, which have been overwhelmingly popular with both dealers and consumers. Increased production space for this new line of boats will be featured in the new facility.
Wenonah Canoe currently operates out of an existing 65,000 square foot campus in Winona, housing primarily canoe manufacturing, administrative offices and warehousing facilities. There are 70 employees at the current facilities. Corporate headquarters and canoe manufacturing operations will remain at the existing ocation in Winona.
Construction will begin immediately and the new plant will be operational in the early fall of 2004, at which time there will be a significant shift in the manufacturing operations from the kayak production facility in Victoria, B.C. to the new Winona operations. This new plant will mean the creation of 50 new jobs in the Winona facility, with a corresponding loss of jobs in Canada.