We caught up with Kelly Cawthorne, the new owner of Gibson Boats, at the Minneapolis Boat Show to chat about the company and what's in store for the future. Check out our interview in this video!
Business has been going wonderfully since Cawthorne and his wife Pam along with their son Shane and his wife Danielle purchased the rights to manufacture Gibson fiberglass houseboats in March 2017.
Gibson Boats was started by William C. Brummett in 1968, though Brummett’s houseboating experience went back much further than that. By 1990, the company had built more than 6,000 boats and that number just kept increasing until the company was hit hard by the 2008 recession.
For more than 40 years, Gibson Boats produced a hybrid cross between a houseboat and a cabin cruiser and thanks to the Cawthornes from South Dakota, the Gibson tradition and boating legacy is living on.
The family has a history of rebuilding boats in the past as well as successfully running heating and air conditioning companies.
“We have a strong mechanical, electric and plumbing background and I’ve been a boater my entire life,” said Kelly. “My son Shane has the same love for boating and that’s why I wanted to go into business with him.”
In its prime, you could argue Gibson was easily one of the most successful houseboat companies, building over 150 houseboats a year on average. The Cawthornes are continuing to build on the brand’s popularity and quality construction.