Grand-Craft Shuts Doors For Good. Sad But True.

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Grand Craft made a splash at Lake Dora last year.

I am not one to talk about bad news, after all our mission here is to promote the positive in the classic boat community, and of course the occasional disaster. Okay, maybe being towed in, okay maybe… WOW, I am sure gonna work on that. But over the holidays we have been getting reports that Grand – Craft had shut it’s doors, and is selling lots of equipment. I did reach out to them and just got confirmation that indeed Grand Craft has stopped doing business.  The email note I got was simple and to the point from Patrick Gallagher, CEO of Grand – Craft “Sad but true could not get traction in the market.”

Patrick Gallagher Grand Craft

Now we can all be arm chair entrepreneurs here, it is the internet after all. But one thing that can not be denied is Patrick and the team there tried, then put it out there and went all in to save and rebuild a boat brand that has some very cool history.  In fact Grand Craft has always been a brand that stood for being entrepreneurial. Grand – Craft started when Chris Craft went Corporate and moved to Florida. And Grand Craft was born from many of the old Chris Craft employees that still wanted to build wood speed boats. In a sense, Grand Craft’s are what life would have been like if Wood Speed boats were still being made new.

Steve Lapkin, Kent O. Smith and I all had some fun doing a photo shoot with two, one older, and the newer design on Lake Dora

Like Hacker-Craft, Gar-Wood, Streblow, Van Damm, and Stan – Craft, all competing for that same dollar. Thats a very narrow market, yet, can be a very very rewarding one. Different Boats for Different Folks I say. So I raise my hand and toast the Grand Craft team for going for it, for me in my life, trying something I dream of doing is far far better than wishing I had. And maybe, just maybe, the learning from this, will inspire another try, and another.

12 replies
  1. Mike K
    Mike K says:

    It certainly wasn’t from lack of $, passion, or trying
    I know he moved to a top notch facility in Wisconsin and was paying top of the market salaries

    Sad to see

    Thanks woodyboater

  2. Greg Lewandowski
    Greg Lewandowski says:

    That is too bad. Dave Bortner brought one to Algonac a couple years ago when he was a dealer. I got to drive it and was very impressed. As you said, it is a small market with some very competitive builders. Good luck to those involved for the future.

  3. River Rat
    River Rat says:

    So sad. Beautiful boats. I got help from them to repair my remote control bow spotlight that was not a Ivalite. Thank you Mr. Fly? They were still in Holland back then. I guess they are all
    Collector items now. I would never be able to purchase one anyway. RIP

  4. Jim Staib
    Jim Staib says:

    I thought it was a good business model. Build boats and have them on the showroom for sale. Takes deep pockets to do that. Most of the other custom builders sell the boat then Build it on the customer’s dime. It’s a shame they couldn’t make it. The name has been in and out of business several times.

  5. Mark in Ohio ( today in Florida)
    Mark in Ohio ( today in Florida) says:

    Sad news. It is always bad when a company closes up. Especially when it involves you wooden boats.

  6. Murdock
    Murdock says:

    Grand-Craft goes back a long way to a very passionate individual by the name of Steve Northuis.
    Being a wood boat guy and having had several, his dream was to build a “new” 24′ 1930 Triple. As Chris-Craft was still in business, well, that name was taken.
    Indeed, several retired Chris-Craft employees shared his dream and they lofted full size drawings to do it. A large amount of hardware was sourced and wherever a C-C logo was, it became “Grand Craft”. With subtle, yet sensible changes (like a forward center console with roller door and bucket seats over bench), they brought a boat to market. Wow, the upholstery was stellar too.
    Chris Smith was a friend and would often hang around Steve’s shop with advice and many times Steve would bug him to join up. Chris said not until he retired. Long story short, he did and Chris joined on at hull #4. For several hulls early on, Steve was even able to purchase Chris Craft V-8’s directly!
    Dick Sligh (Sligh Furniture) owned for awhile too. Plus another before current ownership I think?
    Not sure when, but Chris-Craft had ten hulls built for their anniversary too.
    Steve has been my friend for many, many years and resides in Cedarville most of the year, with visits to Holland too. In fact, I talked to him when I found hull #4 and well, that one and another 24′ are now in residence at Howe Marine awaiting resto. (Hull #4 was the only one built with a closed cooling system C-C that was delivered to Irwin Marine on Lake Winnipesaukee. Steve was adamant that I acquire it because it was the first hull that Chris worked on and massaged the original lines)
    Sure hope that Patrick secures the patterns, frame layouts and history of a great line of watercraft.
    Hoping it may not be their last gasp. 🙂

  7. Steven Lapkin
    Steven Lapkin says:

    MS et al: the commissioned photo shoot date was a Saturday morning: March 26. 2022.

    Were it NOT for MS, there would not have been a photo-boat-for-the-shoot. Praise Matt!

    “I/we miss the shots (opportunities) we don’t take.” For posterity, here are a few visual memories for WB WORLD……………

  8. Norm Kitching
    Norm Kitching says:

    Have owned my 1987 Grand Craft Tahoe 23 for 15 years. A fun fast boat it has served us well , has been all over the country, it’s a comfy big utility with a top for rainy days. We will miss Grand Craft as well as All the folks that were associated with its building .
    Norm & Kathy Kitching

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