New 2014 Harris FloteBote
We Began in the �50�s, with a �Better Idea�
In 1957, brothers Ernie and Pete Harris founded the company, originally called Harris Manufacturing, in Fort Wayne, Indiana. They had been testing their groundbreaking pontoons in the northeast Indiana/southeast Michigan area since the early 1950�s with great success. They kept running into water enthusiasts who had taken 55-barrel and drop tanks off airplanes to build up pontoon boats. The more we saw, the more we thought �Hey, there might be a market for that.� A pontoon boat manufacturer was born.
We decided we wanted to build a more professional-looking boat. We started with the fences, built out of steel. We had a motor mount so you could lower and raise the motor and we got rid of the �barrels� underneath. It looked better! We were pleased with the result, but we still had tubes, everything was steel and flat-nosed (not dolphin-nosed like today). But it was a beginning.
Our Founding Philosophy � Quality that lasts!
We�ve always wanted to build a first-class boat. The more effort we put into it, the more the quality was added. We had the most expensive pontoon in the business, but we still had up to 60% of the business as a pontoon boat manufacturer. That quality is still strong today � Harris FloteBotes are on the water 10 -15 years later, still looking great.
The Pontoon Market Has Evolved
Starting out, being a pontoon manufacturer was the toughest thing in the world. Dealers weren�t that hopped up about it; they needed bigger trailer for it to move everything around. The first year or so, the sales didn�t go to the dealers much. We�d drive around the lake and see people sitting in the yard, maybe with children; we asked people if they wanted to ride. They would say, �Where can we get these?� and they�d go see them. Starting out, it wasn�t an easy product. It did take a lot of effort.
As time went on, when one guy on the lake got one, the neighbor wanted one too. Word of mouth spread amongst boaters. Pontoon boat manufacturers found that dealers didn�t jump on the wagon and promote it as much as people demanded it. A dealer could handle a 16-ft runabout boat�a lot easier than he could handle a 20-ft FloteBote. Dealers couldn�t get them in their show rooms. The public really brought about the demand that the dealer would carry them.
Today, we�re Part of a Large Family
Harris FloteBote is now part of the worldwide Brunswick family of boats, but the company is still headquartered in Fort Wayne, Indiana. It will always be seen by the people here as a �local business� first... our �local pontoon manufacturer;� �This region and the lakes around here are very much dedicated to the Harris FloteBote brand,� says Alan Korte, a local in Clear Lake, Indiana. �A lot of people come into the dealership and say, �Hey, we�ve heard a lot about these Harris FloteBotes. They�re great quality boats.��
Harris FlotBote has Earned its Reputation as a Quality Pontoon Boat Manufacturer.
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