Maverick America, a Wilmington-based national distribution company for spearfishing, has opened a second location near downtown Wilmington, to begin production of an all-North Carolina manufactured spear gun.
The company has expanded from its small location in the Dry Corp building off Military Cutoff Road to its newly renovated 7,500-square-foot building at 1316 S. Fifth St., said Mark Laboccetta, founding partner of Maverick America.
Maverick America was founded in 2015 by Laboccetta and California partner Petros Yiannikouros. In the first year, it had more than $1 million in revenue, Laboccetta said. The company sells nine different brands focused on the spearfishing market, from apparel to parts.
Tides are now changing for the company, as it extends the business into manufacturing its own product lines.
“We have a 100-page catalog of all the finest brands … Most of our products are geared toward the free dive and spearfishing enthusiast,” Laboccetta said. “The vision here is to be the largest distribution company for spearfishing in the country."
Laboccetta found his love for spearfishing early in life, and has set 11 world records in the sport. His passion has translated into his 26 years of experience in the industry.
Laboccetta was in the spear gun manufacturing industry for more than a decade, before his family’s business Technosport was bought out by a public corporation in 2013. After that, he and his wife, Lydia, who also holds a world record in the sport, decided to “start from scratch” in Wilmington.
Maverick America still has its retail outlet off Military Cutoff Road. But with the extreme sport of spearfishing growing in popularity, Mark Laboccetta said they soon realized one building was not going to afford the company room for expansion.
The second location allows the company to grow, while also being a part of the effort to revitalize the Greenfield Lake area, Mark Laboccetta said.
“The city has plans for revitalizing this area," he said. "
I feel like we are right in the center of that."
The company's new space includes a showroom and distribution room. Currently, Mark Laboccetta is also working on installing a CNC shop in the back of the building to manufacture the company's new top-of-line spear gun.
The new spear guns (left
) are designed in Hawaii by spear gun designer Darrian Yokooji, and manufactured and assembled in Wilmington. The guns range from $900 to $1,100 each.
Once the new facility is up and running, the custom spear guns will take about three months to produce. The first “full line” of spear guns has already pre-sold, Mark Laboccetta said.
He said that Maverick America's spear gun manufacturing facility is just the first phase of the company's expansion. Next, the company seeks to further its brand in the wetsuit market.
“The direction that we are taking with the spear guns is the same that we are taking with other products made over seas,” Mark Laboccetta said. “Specifically, when you think about neoprene … most of that always comes from overseas. But our phase two of the expansion in North Carolina-made production, is to make wetsuits here.”
Mark Laboccetta aims to start wetsuit production in the next six months, but the 1,000 square feet of space left inside his current building may not have enough room for additional equipment. He's looking into nearby buildings.
“Spearfishing is growing, and I know this business. So I’m taking the opportunity to make this stuff in the U.S. again," Mark Laboccetta said.
The company currently has six employees, and expects to hire two more by July.