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World’s leading sailmaker North Sails breaks ground on new 53,000-square-foot facility



MINDEN, Nev.—North Sails, the world’s premier sail manufacturer, is breaking ground on a new 53,000 square-foot facility that will increase operations by 18 percent and bring 20 new jobs to the community over the next six months. The new facility, located at 2549 Business Parkway in Minden, Nev., will house the machinery for the company’s latest product line, one that has been in development over the last two and a half years.

Funded by a $3 million investment from Douglas County developers, David and Sharon Davis, the commitment to build this new facility for North Sails is seeded in the desire to increase business opportunities for the area.

“Stimulating the economy with an expansion, especially in its current state, drives business,” said David Davis, developer of North Sails’ new manufacturing facility and a Douglas County developer. “Our investment will yield a $30 to $40 million return back to the community over the next 10 years. That’s a serious economic shot in the arm. Our community needs to tout the success of companies such as North Sails. By our taking this risk, we hope to open the opportunity for others to see the same potential and invest in our community and its businesses.”

The deal was brokered by Chad Coons, CCIM, broker and president of Gillmor Coons Real Estate Group, LLC., based in Genoa, Nev., and member of the Northern Nevada Development Authority’s (NNDA) Commercial Real Estate and Development committee. Coons had worked with the Davis’ before on other projects within Minden’s business parks.

“North Sails needed more space and was already occupying several buildings, but that wasn’t going to be efficient for their latest expansion and product line…they needed significantly more space,” Coons said. “That’s when I contacted David Davis and made the introductions. It didn’t take long for the determination to be made that a new building was the best option.”

Rob Hooper, executive director of the NNDA, added, “NNDA in conjunction with Chad Coons, broker, and David Davis, developer, and support from Douglas County, has made this expansion one that showcases the importance of working together to create jobs for the Sierra Nevada Region.”

The North Sails 3DL sailmaking process was invented in a small shop in San Leandro, Calif., in 1990. The first true production facility opened in Minden in 1994 on Heybourne Road. The Heybourne Road facility went through two expansions to its current approximate 80,000 square-foot size. Additional expansions over the last five years included acquiring space at three smaller locations on Airport Road in Minden for overflow production and for research and development; this is where North Sails newest technology has been honed.

This latest technology, named “3Di” is now ready for worldwide distribution. The new building gives North Sails an additional 53,000 square feet of manufacturing footprint to allow the expansion of the 3Di production capacity to meet the projected increase in market demand.

“North Sails was originally attracted to Nevada due to the favorable business environment and the quality of life in Carson Valley.  Once the foothold was established, the company has partnered with an excellent core of intelligent, motivated and dependable local staff,” Dan Neri, North Sails vice president of manufacturing said. “Most of the inventions and process developments behind our unique and technologically innovative products can be attributed to graduates of the northern Nevada public schools and universities. The management of North Sails, headquartered in Milford, Conn., feels fortunate to have landed in the Carson Valley and is happy to commit to another decade and beyond of doing business here with this latest expansion.”

According to Lisa Granahan, economic vitality manager for Douglas County, this is exactly what Douglas County is attempting to accomplish with its Ascent Douglas program, a component of its 12-year economic vitality plan, “Douglas County has several outdoor recreation and lifestyle businesses that choose to do business here because of our quality of life and Nevada’s favorable business climate. North Sails is one of a number of businesses in this arena that are proud to call this area home. More importantly, these success stories showcase to potential manufacturers and outdoor recreation and lifestyle businesses that you can indeed do very well and also increase the quality of life for business owners and their employees.”

North Sails Minden facilities are the most sophisticated sailboat sail manufacturing facilities in the world and begin with raw materials to completion where 80 percent of the final product is exported. The products that ship from Minden are used by racing boats and ocean going cruising sailboats on every continent. In the most demanding and prestigious sailing events around the world, the 3DL/3Di products enjoy over 90 percent market share. All of the production processes employed in Minden are patented and exclusive to North Sails. Currently, the Minden 3DL factories employ nine engineers, 20 managerial level staff, a small laboratory staff and 100-115 production and support staff and operates 24 hours, six days a week.

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