Local business gets creative in tough economy

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 16, 2010

Clark Trailer Service has responded to the challenges of the current economy with a product that provides flexibility for customers and should create local jobs.

Woody Clark said the new product is perfect for companies that need more than one trailer. Called an expandable trailer, it can be used as a normal-sized trailer or expanded for longer loads.

“The trailer is expands from 48 foot to 80 foot,” Woody Clark said. “So far, we’ve made three of these. The two we are working on are going to South Africa.”

Clark said one of the company’s salespeople in Houston helped them land the contract in South Africa.

The trailers will be shipped out of the Jacksonville, Fla., port.

It’s not unusual for the company’s trailers to be sold internationally.

“We sell to a lot of dealers who are exporters. We sent 12 to Puerto Rico and shipped four to Granada,” John Clark said. “We build a lot that go overseas. It just depends on the people we build them for.”

If these trailers are successful on the market, Clark said these trailers could help the company rehire some of the folks it has been forced to let go.

“We’re trying to market these from California to New Jersey,” he said. “We typically build flat beds, drop decks, container chassis and other custom built trailers, but the economy has been slow. And this is one of the projects that might help us bring back some of the employees we’ve laid off in the past.”

The expandable trailers retail for about $45,000 to $50,000.

John Clark is the mastermind behind the design and explained that the trailer is used for hauling specialized loads such as power transmission poles, pipes and other longer hauls.

He said that typically the largest sized trailer that cane be purchased in a 53-footer because anything over that size requires overlength permits.

John Clark said most 48-foot trailers sell for about $25,000 and the 53-foot sell for about $30,000. So, there is a savings of about $5,000 to $10,000 for customers buying an expandable trailer.

“It retracts back to a standard length trailer when you need it,” John Clark said. “It takes about three weeks to make one of these from start to finish.”

Clark Trailer, located on Hwy. 29, has about 20 employees.