Wisconsin-based Johnson Outdoors, the parent company of Old Town Canoe & Kayak, said its plans to consolidate operations in Old Town will ultimately mean a net increase of jobs in Maine, despite the elimination of seven Old Town positions.
The company last week said it will relocate R&D and marketing operations for its Watercraft division from Bellingham, Wash., to Maine over the next year. It also said it would streamline operations, leading to 17 layoffs. Spokeswoman Cynthia Georgeson yesterday told the Bangor Daily News that seven positions in Old Town are being cut, though four people have taken other positions. She said the relocation of employees from Washington to Old Town would result in a net addition of five new positions.
The changes are expected to save the company $2 million annually by the end of 2014, while the cost of implementing the changes will be between $2 million and $2.5 million over the next year. The company is also restructuring its European operations, which will impact 11 overseas jobs.
In 2009, Johnson Outdoors celebrated the consolidation of plastic-boat manufacturing in Old Town, after it closed a plant in Washington and moved work to Maine. That move created 48 new jobs in Old Town. At that time, the facility employed 200.