Trailer manufacturer projects 30% growth

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WINSLOW (AP) – A manufacturing company that got its start in a garage in Liberty and now operates out of a former paper mill projects year-end revenues of $25 million, a jump of more than 30 percent.

Thule Trailers Inc., formerly known as C&C Distributors, produces trailers that are used to haul snowmobiles, motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles and other cargo.

Thule, the Swedish firm known for its bicycle carriers for cars, bought the company just over two years ago and is already opening divisions in New York and Chicago.

Bill Cleaves, who founded the business, said Thule continues to make the former Kimberly-Clark mill its primary base, employing 120 workers there year-round and more than 200 during periods of high volume.

Cleaves’ business partner, Ed Cullivan – the other “C” in the C&C name – said the partnership with Thule has worked out well for everyone.

“I think we are headed in the right direction. It is good for Thule. It is good for us. And most importantly, it is good for our workers in this area,” said Cullivan, vice president of sales and marketing.

Annual sales have jumped from $15 million to $19 million since they formed the relationship, he said. The $25 million projection for the current year would represent sales growth of 66 percent since 2004.

In addition Thule Trailers has quadrupled its work force at its Jamestown, N.Y., factory from 10 to 40 employees and opened a division in Chicago with 15 employees that is building the smaller galvanized trailers that Thule sells in Europe.

The focus of the company’s growth will be in custom trailers, including a two-level model featuring living quarters, Cleaves said.

High-end models are equipped with a full kitchen and eating area as well as satellite TV and a DVD player.

Plans for this summer include a model called the tailgater trailer that will feature four television sets along with standard living quarters amenities. Cleaves said it’s ideal for NFL fans.

“I’m going to visit every NFL stadium to show the product,” he said.

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