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Trailer maker sees growth potential in new building

April 22, 2008|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The weekend rain left it too muddy for a groundbreaking for the latest utility trailer manufacturer in Franklin County.

Tilman Dump Trailers LLC has been operating out of leased space at Cumberland Valley Business Park since late 2006, said Franklin County Area Development Corp. President L. Michael Ross. The FCADC is building a 35,100-square-foot facility on 6.4 acres in the business park for Tilman to occupy and have fully operational by Jan. 1, 2009.

The cost to FCADC of buying the land on Opportunity Avenue and constructing the building is $2.4 million, Ross said.

"The company envisions significant growth in the next several years," Ross said of owners Eric and Amanda Olson. Tilman Dump Trailers has about a half-dozen employees right now, a figure that is expected to exceed 20 in two or three years, he said.

The company also will make after-market truck parts, Ross said.

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"We have this cottage industry that has blossomed here," Ross said of utility trailers. "They are an important part of the local economy now."

Other manufacturers include CAM Superline, Bri-Mar, EZ Dumper and Foster Rescue Trailers, he said. These companies use some of the same local parts and component suppliers as big manufacturers such as Grove Cranes and JLG Industries, he said.

FCADC built a similar-size building, which CAM Superline leases in Wharf Road Industrial Park in Waynesboro, Pa., Ross said.

Ross estimated the number of people involved in trailer production at 175, a figure that will approach 200 when Tilman completes its expansion.

For many landscapers, contractors and other businesses, the utility trailers are an economic alternative to investing in a dump truck, Ross said. As far as the market for the products, he said, "It's a big country."

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