Doyle Unveils New Loft

Senior editor Mark Pillsbury attended the grand opening of the 32,000 square-foot Doyle Sails loft in Salem, Massachusetts.

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Among the guests on hand to help Janet and Robbie Doyle (second and third from right) officially open the new Doyle Sails headquarters in Salem, Massachusetts, is Salem Mayor Kimberly Driscoll.Mark Pillsbury

At 4:30 on a sweltering late June afternoon, Doyle Sails employees were scurrying to pack and ship an order of a few hundred new sails for the Yngling Worlds. By 5, the floor had been cleared, a table of refreshments had been set up, and the crew was welcoming dignitaries for the official ribbon cutting of the company's new headquarters in Salem, Massachusetts.

Opening the loft in a renovated industrial building makes for a homecoming of sorts, said Robbie Doyle, who grew up just down the street. The 32,000 square-foot facility allows the company to combine its service and new-sails operations in one building, replacing two smaller facilities in nearby Marblehead. About 40 are employed at the new location and more sailmakers will be hired.

With one-design manufacturing space at one end off the building and repairs at the other, the center of the loft is a large, open space where sailmakers can work on a range of projects all at the same time. The building also includes manufacturing space for Doyle's line of lighter-than-air ships being developed for the military and other applications.

City and state economic development efforts played a role in luring Doyle to what had been until recently a vacant manufacturing site in Salem. The company moved into the space last February and has been so busy since that an earlier grand opening had to be postponed, Robbie quipped during a brief ceremony that included remarks from Salem's mayor, Kimberley Driscoll.