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Stardust Cruisers and Thoroughbred Houseboats Formally Announce Joint Venture
Stardust Cruisers and Thoroughbred Houseboats have announced a joint venture to combine their houseboat manufacturing businesses.

It brings the two largest remaining houseboat companies together to create the largest houseboat company in the country. Trifecta Houseboats will manufacture the three leading brands of houseboats, which includes the Sumerset brand.

“We are very excited about what this will do for the industry, our employees and the houseboating community,” said Jerry Harden, president of Trifecta. “The combined purchasing power of both companies will enable us to negotiate better pricing on components, which will flow through to our customers in savings. In addition, development of new, improved building techniques will be accomplished more quickly at the combined volume of the three brands. Each company has its own strengths, and this joint venture will allow us to capitalize on our strengths and improve the quality of all brands. Our companies possess the most talented work force in the industry, and we want to leverage their talents.”

Stardust Cruisers, the oldest continually operating houseboat company in the nation, has delivered more than 1,500 custom houseboats. Thoroughbred Houseboats, which also manufactures the Sumerset Brand, has been in business since 1996.

Both companies are located in Monticello just a few miles from each other and currently have approximately 70 employees each.

The owners of Stardust and Thoroughbred also have common ownership in State Dock and Wolf Creek Marina on Lake Cumberland. The synergy between the manufacturer and the marina will provide an on-water houseboat super store and provide the ideal place to shop for new models and trade-ins of houseboats as well as the many private boats for sale at the marina.

“We also believe this merger will build on the momentum we’ve gained in exporting our products through the Governor’s export initiative,” said Bruce Chesnut, part owner and executive officer.

The Stardust facility will be used to refurbish older houseboats and contain a new company, Wayne Manufactured Structures, which will focus on accelerating the Houseboat to Energy Efficient Residences (HBEER) initiative. HBEER is a partnership among Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation, Southern Tier Housing, the University of Kentucky and Stardust Cruisers to create energy-efficient modular housing at the region’s houseboat plants.

A third houseboat plant, the old Waterways Houseboat Company, also will be leased for the new operation. Hulls will be manufactured there before being sent to the old Fantasy Custom Yachts/ Thoroughbred facility for finishing.

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