Johnson Outdoors Inc. is moving its research, development and marketing department from Whatcom County, Wash., to Old Town, Maine.
The company made the announcement Wednesday, July 11, in a news release detailing some of its consolidation plans. The move will eliminate any Johnson Outdoors presence in Whatcom County, and, according to the statement, will include “streamlining at Old Town, Maine, due to the capture of strategic synergies between Watercraft and Outdoor Gear, as well as position eliminations.”

Johnson Outdoors said in the press release that 17 positions in the U.S. would be affected by the announcement, including some job cuts in Maine. The move to Old Town, Maine, is expected to take place in the next year and will also include transitioning its watercraft “to a lower- cost local independent distributor business model in Europe by the end of July 2012,” the statement said.

“Last fall, we combined Watercraft and Outdoor Gear units to drive progress against a specialty channel growth platform and return Watercraft to profitability. Today’s actions are necessary to best position the business for future success and increase the velocity of meaningful innovation for paddling enthusiasts,” CEO Helen Johnson-Leipold, said in a statement. “We remain committed to building long-term value for our customers and our shareholders, and are confident today’s actions will help us do so.”

The company’s brands include Ocean Kayak, Old Town canoes and MinnKota electric fishing motors.
As a result of these actions, the company anticipates annual cost-savings of around $2 million over the next 12 months.

(c)2012 The Bellingham Herald (Bellingham, Wash.)
Distributed by MCT Information Services