Avalon & Tahoe Manufacturing, Inc.

903 Michigan Ave
Alma, MI 48801






Playbuoy Pontoon was founded in Mason, Michigan in 1972 by Cecil Darnel and moved into the old Republic Truck facility in Alma, MI in 1984. Playbuoy was sold November 1, 2000 to two Saginaw businessmen, along with their families and four key executives of Playbuoy. James Wager continued as President and CEO until his retirement in 2004, at which time Jim Wolf took the helm and rebranded the company from Playbuoy to Avalon, still keeping the pontoon boats.

Prior to joining Playbuoy, Wolf had spent over 20 years running manufacturing facilities as well as working as a supply chain consultant for Accenture’s electronics and high tech practice based out of Los Angeles. Wolf recalls those early years – “When we first purchased the company we knew there was a huge opportunity to transform the company into a world class manufacturer, providing world class products and driving world class results.” Wolf and his team have done just that by focusing on product innovation, employee training and development, product quality, customer satisfaction, and vertical integration.


Like most manufacturers, Avalon & Tahoe suffered through the downturn in the economy, but the company has returned stronger than ever. In 2009, the company cut its staff to 70 and sold less than a thousand boats. Wolf feels that 2019 will be another record year of sales and profits with sales of 3800+ high-quality boats built by 400+ dedicated employees. The company sells through a network of 250 dealers located throughout the U.S. and Canada with a few more dealers overseas. Avalon & Tahoe’s product line consists of 110 standard floorplan offerings ranging from 14 to 27 feet in length. The company also does a lot of customization depending on the consumer’s unique needs and desires. To keep it all straight, the company puts a great deal of focus on its information systems, BOM’s, job travelers, and engineering drawings. 


Over the last several years, Avalon & Tahoe has concentrated on vertically integrating its operations. The company’s four buildings together have over 300,000 square feet of manufacturing, warehouse, and truck loading facilities on a 25-acre campus in Alma, where it fabricates the bulk of the components for its pontoon boats.

Vertical integration is a key factor in Avalon & Tahoe’s never-ending pursuit of improved quality. Wolf says the company has undergone significant changes to its product line over the last 10 years, and bringing capabilities like furniture and foam fabrication in-house has helped push the level of quality beyond the competition. Most recently we have acquired our own anodizing company and we are opening up a powder coat treatment facility on-site. 

“Right now, we’re perceived to be a very high-end, quality boat with a lot of appeal,” Wolf says. “The competition is pretty tough, but we feel we’re offering consumers innovative designs and giving them the best bang for their purchasing dollar. We are selling a lifestyle and our customers purchase our products to spend time with their families on the water. We are selling fun in the sun!!! We’ve seen a lot of growth over the last several years and expect that to continue for many years to come.”

To learn more about Avalon & Tahoe Pontoon Boats, please visit their websites: www.avalonpontoons.com and www.tahoepontoons.com.

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