Larson Boats lays off 50 – 60 people

Pontoon start-up didn’t work as planned 

By Tina Snell,  Staff Writer

On Dec. 3, approximately 50 – 60 people were laid off from Larson Boats in Little Falls. President Rob Parmentier and Chief Financial Officer Steve Christensen both said it was due to, in part, to the economy and in part to issues with the company’s new line of pontoons.

“Larson Boats was busy coming up with a new product,” said Christensen. “We were hiring at that time in anticipation of 300-400 pontoon orders. We only received 70.”

There were issues with the product, said Christensen, and the company got a black eye because of it.

The issues included the pontoon leaning to the right or left when it should have been more stable.

Not just pontoon workers at Larson Boats were laid off, but people in sales, customer service and other areas. The problems affected the entire plant.

More layoffs are pending.

“The pontoons are running well now, the issues have been corrected and we have more dealers on board since the MDC Boat Show in Orlando, Fla., in November,” said Parmentier. “We are now ready for the winter boat shows.”

The boating industry took a huge hit with the downturn in the economy. Its heyday was in 2006, and since then, sales of inboard/outboards and runabouts have declined 70 percent.

People have gravitated to pontoons because of the ability to seat more people, the boat’s safety record and that it’s easier to accommodate both the elderly and small children.

“Fishing boat lines are doing better than before and we are now putting money into that product development,” said Christensen. “Larson offers both the FX freshwater and the Striper saltwater fishing boat.”

Christensen said other excellent lines, along with the pontoon, will be new in 2015.

“We are hoping our customers and dealers will be patient as we work out these issues,” said Parmentier.


  • robin hensel

    Inquiring minds want to know just exactly how much CORPORATE WELFARE FUNDED BY THE TAXPAYERS OF THIS STATE OR CITY will be lost now because of another failed ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION business.

    • Josh

      Whether or not there is any fault of Larson this country is being brought to its knees by our government and the hatred this current administration has towards businesses. They believe that we need to keep on spending our way into prosperity. Let’s put the fight where it really needs to be fought and that is against an overreaching government. Government cant create jobs but it can destroy them through over regulation and taxes. I agree however that the government shouldn’t be funding and propping up businesses and museums and such. The market will decide what is good and what is not. When the government props up a failing business (I.E Solyndra) it only delays there bankruptcy. We need to support the private sector and our businesses small and large. And lets quit demonizing profit as without a profitable business they would not be able to hire, it seems some don’t understand that simple logic.

  • robin hensel

    Josh…….why do you believe its ok for larson to be propped up with big.government.tapayer.funded corporate welfare?

    • Josh

      Robin did you read my post? “I agree however that the government shouldn’t be funding and propping up businesses and museums and such. The market will decide what is good and what is not. When the government props up a failing business (I.E Solyndra) it only delays there bankruptcy. ”
      Maybe you assumed I was for it or you didn’t read my whole statement.

      • robin hensel


        • Josh

          Camp Ripley is not a private business so it does not fit the mold of a private business receiving monies from our government. I agree that propping up businesses is not good, they should be getting tax breaks to try and lure businesses here and not propping them up with tax dollars. As you probably know Little Falls has no jobs and why they don’t I haven’t really looked into it. We have lots of non essential spending now and it is getting worse. Obamacare being the biggest culprit. We need to be more financially conservative, less taxes on people so we can have more to save and spend, instead of giving it to our government who wastes it. We need to welcome more businesses in this town not chase them away. And we need to let the market decide who is strong enough to stay in business instead of propping them up.

  • robin hensel

    Josh… are kidding right? 58% of our taxpayer funded dollars go to fund the war machine(a BIG GOVERNMENT WELFARE SUBSIDIZED PROGRAM) and you don’t think that “fits the mold of business”? How about all the BIG AND SMALL CORPORATIONS THAT GET BILLLIONS OF $$$$ in corporate welfare like Raytheon, Halliburton, Northrup Grummond, Boeing, Blackwater, BAE Systems, just to name a few to prop up the war machine? How about make the military budget equal to that of the Education funding….6%. Why would any nation funnel more social welfare money into the military, than into educating it’s children? Doesn’t make sense. Money for HUMAN NEEDS, NOT TO FEED THE WAR MACHINE. President Truman warned about over militarization and what that would do to this nation. Did you forget that, or don’t you know about what he said. You complain about a healthcare system that was passed into law because our people have been dying without adequate medical care. This puzzles me. American is the only advanced nation on the planet to not have UNIVERSAL healthcare or some other health care system that allows ALL THE PEOPLE TO HAVE EQUAL ACCESS TO MEDICAL CARE. I urge you to get to the next Economic Development Association meeting at the Little Falls city hall on January 27th at noon. Put your money where your mouth is and show up. It is one thing to complain on a commentary thread, quite another to care enough to voice your opposing position to the very committee that continues to spend tens of thousands of TAXPAYER FUNDS TO PROP UP LOCAL BUSINESS TO ENTICE THEM TO COME OR TO STAY. I have owned three businesses in my lifetime, one here in town and never took one damn dime of taxpayer money to prop my business. The list of those who come with their hands out looking for Historic Preservation Handouts, and Economic Development Association handouts are the very TEAPARTIERS THAT ARE HOLLERING ABOUT ALL THIS BIG GOVERNMENT GIVEOUTS. Do you see the hypocrisy here. If you don’t believe me, come check it out for yourself. Ask your city government to show you the funding reports/loans/failed business. I urge you to do this. This conversation is pointless unless you do something with your concerns. The problem with this area, is that nobody has the guts to stand up against the corruption/cronyism that lies within the halls at Little Falls City Hall, and the Morrison County Government. We have a mess at the state and federal level because in every small and large town government, there are not enough people willing to speak out. Why else do you think there is the phrase that says “all politics starts local”. Every politician in their own districts fights for all the federal and state welfare funds, including and MOSTLY THE WAR MACHINE MONEY. Do some research and find out what I am saying is truth. I challenge you. America needs a healthcare system like the best healthcare system on earth, which is France. Second only to the Veterans Administration. Check that out also… is truth. Single Payer Healthcare. President Obama is a centrist and this is why he has obliged BIG HEALTH CORPORATIONS AND HMO’S. Richard Nixon(Rethug) is the president who authorized the HMO’s to begin operating and that is when PROFIT REALLY ENTERED THE HEALTHCARE SYSTEM. Why should there be profit in healthcare anymore than there should be profit in LAW ENFORCEMENT OR SOCIAL SERVICE PROGRAMS, OR SCHOOLS? At least you have begun a conversation….that’s a start. I welcome you to join me at all the city government meetings that you can possibly get to. That is WHAT WILL CHANGE WHAT IS HAPPENING. Ask your city and county government how many tax $$$ have been flushed down the toilet on propping up local businesses. Just sayin.

    • Josh

      You say you are against big government but yet you are for it with healthcare? You advocate for a system that takes away our freedom of choice, that raises premiums, kicks people off of their insurances that they chose. When Obama said that you would be able to keep your health insurance he already knew that was a lie when he spoke as admitted by a woman on his committee. Probably the biggest lie ever told by a politician. You advocate for a unconstitutional bill that is apiece of garbage and you should have known it was from the beginning as the writing was right in front for us all to see. Did you believe Pelosi when she said we have to pass it to find out what is in it? You want the simplest solution to all of our problems? It is quite easy get rid of all big government and anything that suppresses our freedom and follow the constitution! The role of the federal government has gotten way to big they are nothing more than a huge mafia nowadays. We have a mess because people vote for politicians because of party, they believe the lies and rhetoric used. No group is perfect but the Tea Party group as a whole believes more in individual freedoms than occupy groups. I respect our individual freedoms but when I see the vandalism, the feces they leave behind in there camps, the utter disrespect that the occupy group has shown I have no respect for them and they ruin it for those who are in it for what they believe to be a good cause. Say what you want but there has been much more violence in occupy movements than tea party gatherings. Don’t believe me look it up for yourself. I do agree though that many politicians on both sides of the aisle are in bed with and have helped promote the moneymaking with wars and other illegal incidents such as Benghazi and Libya (which I believe the likes of Obama, Clinton and Holder should be charged or impeached). What is going to change it? We need to vote in politicians that stand strong for this country and don’t want to be a police state, that is why I supported Ron Paul he had more common sense than any of the candidates put together for both the R’s and the D’s. Stop the lobbying and earmarks for these businesses. As many are in bed with them and I don’t agree with it one bit. Is there a place for these businesses? I believe so as they do there part if they are used in a right way. If we are truly free we will be allowed to succeed and fail and should not need to prop up businesses, it goes to show that we don’t have much of a free market it is run by those who want control of the market for themselves. You can blame it on capitalism but we have not been capitalists for along time. Look up Keynesian politics that fits what we are doing now.