Fast-growing trailer maker expects to hire 60 workers, grow to 200 in two years
BONNER, MONT. — One of America’s fastest-growing and most respected brands of aluminum trailers will soon be made in Missoula County. On Wednesday, November 14, Maine-based ALCOM LLC announced it signed a lease to establish a new, 70,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Bonner.
The company expects to initially employ approximately 60 workers and begin production of its hand-built aluminum trailers at the former Stimson Lumber mill site in early 2013. The company anticipates expanding to 200 employees at the facility within its first two years of operation.
Wages and benefits at ALCOM’s Bonner facility are expected to begin in the upper-$30,000 range, plus additional daily production bonuses. Notably, the company intends to do much of its own training, thus providing entry-level manufacturing workers with an opportunity to build skills on the job.
“Manufacturing is alive and well in Missoula County,” declared Missoula County Commissioner Jean Curtiss. “ALCOM will bring excellent jobs and benefits to local workers and help revitalize the Bonner community as a whole.”
“ALCOM’s decision to locate its first expansion plant in Missoula County is a testament to the high quality of our local workforce and infrastructure,” added Missoula Mayor John Engen. “This community is ripe with potential for manufacturers, and I salute the visionary leadership at ALCOM for recognizing and seizing that opportunity.”
Founded in 2006 in Waterville, Maine, ALCOM quickly rose to nationwide prominence in the recreational trailer marketplace. During its first year of operations, the company surpassed $2 million in sales. Since then, the company’s growth has continued unabated. In 2008 and 2009 — during the worst years of the recent economic recession — ALCOM’s year-over-year revenues increased 65 and 25 percent, respectively. Company revenues topped $25 million in 2011.
Today, ALCOM employs just shy of 200 workers at its 70,000-square-foot facility in Winslow, Maine. ALCOM’s hand-built trailers range in size and function from mini-trailers that attach to all-terrain vehicles to large, enclosed car trailers. In 2010, ALCOM founders Tom Sturtevant and Trapper Clark were named the Maine Small Business Persons of the Year.
Despite the company’s location in the far northeastern corner of the continental United States, ALCOM has developed a nationwide dealer network. The Bonner operation will allow ALCOM to reduce costs associated with shipping its trailers to dealerships in the western United States and Canada.
“We are excited to begin our next stage of growth in Big Sky Country,” said Clark, president of ALCOM. “We considered several communities before choosing to locate in Bonner. Thanks to the professional assistance of Missoula Economic Partnership and the can-do attitude of local officials throughout Missoula County, our decision was ultimately made easy.”
James Grunke, president and CEO of Missoula Economic Partnership, said that ALCOM’s decision to open a facility in Missoula County is an early and welcome success for his organization, which was founded in June 2011 with investment from more than 80 Missoula-area businesses.
“Companies considering relocation or expansion into new communities often take more than a year to make their final decisions,” Grunke said. “ALCOM saw a window of opportunity and moved quickly to make it happen here.”
Grunke noted that significant space still remains available at the former Stimson Mill site, which is owned by Bonner Property Development LLC. Several other companies are actively considering the site for their operations. Two tenants, Northwest Paint Inc. and wood chipping company Willis Enterprises, are already operating at the site.
“I am confident that we will see other smart companies choosing our community in the coming months and years,” Grunke said. “Even with the arrival of ALCOM, we have the existing skilled workforce to support 900-plus additional jobs in our manufacturing sector. Because those jobs produce exports, they are critical to Missoula’s overall economic balance and health, creating a positive ripple effect that will be felt throughout the community.”