SALEM - The new owners of Quality Trailer Enterprises, Inc. want to double sales and employment within five years.
On July 8, a private equity group purchased the assets of Quality Trailers, Inc. from the North Carolina company that owned it, according to Dennis Gardner, president and operations manager for the new owners.
The acquisition of assets was an out-right purchase with no financing involved, Gardner, 47, said. He explained that talks on the deal began two to three months ago noting that Quality Trailers was "the only wholesale outfit" in a location where there was no conflict of interest.
Shop foreman Jason Jones of Diamond draws a bead of weld on a single-axle “utility” trailer at the Quality Trailer Enterprises, Inc. manufacturing plant on Monday. The company just finalized a change of ownership deal on July 8, according to Dennis Gardner, president and operations manager for the private equity group that purchased the company. Currently there are about 25 employees and the company expects to double that within the next five years. The corporate name was changed from Quality Trailers, Inc. and the company has been in the Salem Industrial Park since fall 1999. (Salem News photo by Larry Shields)
Since 1999, Quality Trailer has been building top-line deckover trailers, fender equipment, car haulers and landscape utility trailers at 1664 Salem Parkway West, in the Salem Industrial Park.
The company distributes trailers through a network of 100 dealers in the Northeast and Midwestern United States.
Quality Trailer currently employs 25 people in the manufacturing-weld shop and the office.
Last year sales were about $5M said Gardner, a Pennsylvania native who also lived in New Mexico.
"We plan to expand sales to $10M over the next five years, adding $1M in sales each year ... and to add about five full-time positions each year for the next five years."
Why take a chance now, in this economy?
"I believe like many businesses out there that we've seen the darker side of this recession and feel positive about it and think it's a good move," Gardner replied.
"We have some very aggressive growth plans based on this company and the quality of our product," he said, adding it truly is a quality product.
"We are immediately expanding on one segment of our product line (economy) and plan to run seasonal specials to boost production sales in the slower selling season," he said.
"We want to expand our economy line to allow dealers to become more competitive with Home Depot and Lowe's," Gardner said, explaining the market for small economy trailers is aimed at people who own motorcycles, are in the landscaping business or need utility trailers.
"Expansion is definitely an option ... expanding on the building and to add a second shift. That would be a priority, another 20 or so employees over a period of time."
Quality Trailer Enterprises has a three-year lease on its current home and Gardner, who was a jet-helicopter mechanic in the U.S. Marines for four years, said it will be considering its real estate needs and options as the business expands.
"We're going to be out there aggressively supplying our dealers and recruiting new dealers," he said, noting most of Quality Trailer's employees are from the Salem area.
"We've got a great core team already and our intention would be to add to it," Gardner said.
For more on Quality Trailer Enterprise, Inc., visit: www.qualitytrailersinc.com.