For two decades, Craig Ellis and the team at Appearance Products in Grand Rapids, Mich., have been the steadfast, go-to shop when it comes to handling many of the custom interiors for Skater Powerboats in Douglas, Mich. Of course Ellis’ company assembles seating, side panels and more for other performance boat brands not just Skater—it even handles aircraft, automotive and RV interiors on occasion—but its proximity to the Skater manufacturing facility, not to mention Ellis’ relationship with company founder Peter Hledin and the fact that Ellis used to own a Skater, only solidifies the affiliation.
The leader of Appearance Products in Grand Rapids, Mich., Craig Ellis (pictured in a Skater 3312 catamaran with an interior from Appearance Products) loves working in and around performance boats. Photo courtesy Paul Rose
We asked Ellis, who said that roughly half of Appearance Products’ business is upholstery work while the other half is custom sign design, fabrication and installation, what he enjoys working on most and he didn’t hesitate with his answer: “Powerboats.” In fact, if he had his way, he’d only work on performance boats because of the creativity involved. As someone who takes a considerable amount of pride in always being on time with his interiors, Ellis had some difficulty wrapping his head around the two-month shutdown his company endured due to COVID-19 shelter-in-place requirements. That said, Appearance Products is now pushing forward at maximum effort.
Do you ever feel much added pressure with the fact that so many people consider appearance to be the go-to company for Skater interiors?
Not so much. Obviously when you’re talking about a brand like Skater, the customers purchasing the boats are more than likely detailed people with high expectations. We love getting to know our clients and working with them to provide the best experience possible. We’ve produced interiors for tons of incredible customers, some of them multiple times, and many have become friends.
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