In 1904 Thompson Bros. Boat Manufacturing Co. made its first home in the small, northern town of Peshtigo, Wisconsin starting the legacy of a family boat building business.
Always thinking big, and confident in the craft and durability they brought to the boat industry, the second generation of Thompson’s started building wood lapstrake outboard cabin cruisers in Oconto, Wisconsin in the early 1950’s. The first known Cruisers, Inc. catalog debuted in 1956, as prior to that the company was building 14’ and 16’ boats under the Thompson Bros. label.
In 1965 wood boats were replaced with fiberglass as the new technology was wreaking havoc with the wood boat business. In 1971 Cruisers, Inc. was sold to Mirro Aluminum Company of Manitowoc, Wisconsin. It wasn’t until 1979, when Roy Thompson retired, that someone other than a Thompson ran the company.
In 1980 the fiberglass product line of Mirro Marine Division (Cruisers) was sold to T.J. Bogart (the former President of Mirro Marine Division) and T.A. Lisle (formerly of Eaton Corporation). In the early 1990’s K.C. Stock, who was born and raised in the Oconto area, saw the potential for opportunity. So in 1993 Stock’s KCS International Inc. purchased the company and changed the name to Cruisers Yachts.
Evidently the Thompson brothers’ commitment to finely crafted, high-quality yachts is alive and well. The unique culture they created in Wisconsin is continued today by more than 450 employees in four area Oconto plants. The country’s foremost manufacturer of wood lapstrake boats in the 20th century has become one of the world’s premier providers of midsize to luxury pleasure yachts for the 21st century.