A longtime Outerlimits Offshore Powerboats customer and close friend of the late Mike Fiore—the Bristol, R.I., company’s founder—Joe Sgro has purchased the assets of the custom high-performance V-bottom and catamaran builder. The details of the deal, which closed earlier this week, were not released.
“We finally closed on the deal,” said Sgro. “I am the sole owner of the assets of Outerlimits and the new name of the company is ‘Outerlimits of Rhode Island.’ Michael left us with a lot of molds and a lot of ideas and we are working on a couple of projects I don’t want to talk about yet. Hopefully, we’ll be in full production in six months.”
Said longtime Outerlimits customer Scotto (above in his new SL 50) regarding the new ownership of the company: “I will always be an Outerlimits fan and I am looking forward to doing business with Joe and Dan Kleitz—he’s kind of like a ‘mini Mike’—and all the crew at Outerlimits in the future.” Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
Since Fiore died three days after sustaining severe injuries during a crash at the 2014 Lake of the Ozarks Shootout in Central Missouri, the future of the company has been in question. More than Outerlimits’ founder and the designer of all its V-bottoms, Fiore was the company’s primary sales person and was deeply involved in day-to-day operations. It was not out of the realm for the legacy go-fast boat builder—his father, Paul, founded Hustler Powerboats—to help build a wire harness (his first task as 13-year-old in the boat business), stitch upholstery or help his crew rig a boat.
After Fiore died, his father came out of retirement to work with production manager Dan Kleitz, office manager Donna Fiore (Mike Fiore’s sister) and the rest of the employees to keep Outerlimits running, while Sgro worked on the acquisition.
“Why did I do this?” Sgro asked rhetorically. “Out of respect for Michael. He was a dear friend, like a brother or son, depending on how you want to see it. Why would anyone want to break it (Outerlimits) up and sell the parts? I know that Mike’s V-bottoms are the best on the planet.
“But it’s hard to get people to buy boats if they don’t know the company is going to be here the day after tomorrow,” he continued. “Outerlimits is not going out of business. Period. I have a very strong partner who is going to be coming to help run things. Outerlimits is probably in the best financial situation it has been in for the last six or seven years. Now we can pay attention to the business of doing business.”
Longtime Outerlimits customer Dave Scotto, whose most recent Outerlimits was built after Fiore died, said he is optimistic about the future of the company, particularly given that his SL 50 V-bottom turned out “beautifully” in Fiore’s absence.
“Mike and I talked about the boat and made the deal together, but it didn’t start production until he passed away,” said Scotto. “So I guess you could say I was somewhat leery about it, but I am delighted with the way the boat turned out. The only thing missing is Mike—I miss that man every day. Everybody misses him like crazy. I am sure he’s up there looking down on us and seeing what’s going on.
“But now that Mike is gone, things have to move on,” he added. “I will always be an Outerlimits fan and I am looking forward to doing business with Joe and Dan Kleitz—he’s kind of like a ‘mini Mike’—and all the crew at Outerlimits in the future. I know they’ll keep the company moving forward.”
“We have been working on this for awhile,” said Paul Fiore. “They company needed a ‘white knight’ and Joe Sgro was willing and eager to step up. And I think he’s a great guy to do it.
“I think the company is going to be better than ever with Joe’s financial backing,” he continued. “Obviously, we’re not going to have Michael there every day and it’s going to take some time, but I think it’s a real good thing. Right now, I am there every day. What it’s going to look like in the future for me, I don’t know. I was retired when Michael died. I am not planning on putting in the 80-hour weeks I have been, but I will probably always be involved with the company. When they need something, I’ll be there to help.”
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