Twenty years ago last month, Mike Fiore started his own custom high-performance powerboat company called Outerlimits. As the son of Hustler Powerboats founder Paul Fiore, the then 23-year-old didn’t enter the business blindly. Still, he faced—and overcame—all the challenges of building and selling exotic go-fast boats, including the toughest economy the industry has ever seen.
The recession, which Fiore knew was upon him and his business after the 2008 Miami International Boat Show, wiped out all but the most hardy and tenacious go-fast boat companies. Like all builders who survived, Fiore had to make hard choices, choices that included laying off staff and taking on tasks—from lamination to wiring—he thought he’d left behind.
“My lowest moment was when we had to cut staff back and cut things to survive,” said Fiore.
Despite endless rumors that had Outerlimits closing its doors, up for sale, seeking outside investment and more, the company survived and emerged stronger and leaner. And Fiore emerged a wiser and more efficient boat builder.
“There’s nothing else I really want to do other than get up and build boats,” he said.