Broom Boats’ plans for new cruisers
Boat show stalwart Broom Boats is planning to expand its fleet with new boats and potentially move back into the hire boat sector, according to its new boss.
The Brundall-based firm, which took its 395 and a Broom 50 to the show, has undergone a rollercoaster ride in the past year, having seen losses, a takeover and the closure of its boat building business – now relaunched under the parent brand.
Speaking at the show Mark Garner, managing director, said in five months the business, one of Norfolk's flagship boat builders, had undergone five years' worth of change and that more was yet to come.
It is re-establishing a dealer network, instead of selling through Broom, with plans for a dealership on Jersey in the Channel Islands.
The firm's distinctive red branding has been changed to a silver and white colour scheme and its Broom 395 motorcruiser, on Broom's stand inside London's Excel exhibition centre, has had a 'facelift' with a new modern interior. One has already been sold.
Next in line is a 'major facelift' for the Broom 365.
But longer term, Mr Garner, part of the team that bought Broom in late summer of 2010, says he wants Broom to do more and return to its roots.
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'It has been hard work for everyone but I really want Broom to provide the best mid-range cruiser,' he said. 'Fifteen to 20 years ago it was the market Brooms dominated. I want us to regain that space but to keep our niche.'
However, one of the bigger new developments will be new models – one smaller than any in the current fleet and another boat larger than anything else it currently builds.
'We want to try to extend the Broom range,' said Mr Garner.
'Where we are on a commercial level is that we do not have any entry level boats in the range.
'At the moment our cheapest, smallest boat is a 36ft at �255,000. Brooms' heritage was built on having entry-level boats on the Broads.
'Today it is partly river and mainly ocean boats. We need a boat in the �150,000 to �170,000 range.
'And we are trying to make them more social and sunshine- friendly boats by extending the aft deck across the range.
'Long term we might go back in to charters, having a hire fleet,' he said. 'I think the Broads are under-supplied.'
Broom, including C J Broom & Sons, was bought by businessmen Mr Garner and Akis Chrisovelides.
Shortly after the buyout, the firm closed its boat building arm, C J Broom & Sons.
The firm had run up losses of more than �1m over the previous couple of years.
However, the firm then relaunched its boat building under the Broom Boats name and has been back in production since.
Mr Garner said, 'touch wood', the firm would be back in profit in 2011.
'It feels as though, generally, we are back to running the business how it was,' he said. 'We have got three boats in production, two 450s, each of which retail at �450,000, and one of the 425s.
'Orders we have take the workshop through until October.'
The firm has a large following on the Thames but it is also popular in Ireland, on the South Coast and East Anglia.
It hopes to move into Scottish and Scandinavian markets.
Mr Garner said the firm decided to stop selling itself because its expertise was in boat building, not selling.
'Dealers can also bring in real market feedback and not having a single point of purchase was confusing for customers,' he added.
'We are trying to turn it on its head and produce what people want instead of just saying this is what you get.
'We have started bringing in working parties to go through the boats and tell us what they think about them.'