Wednesday, March 9, 1966

Arena Building Leased to Trail-A-Sled, Inc.
Skating Rink to Be Used for Expansion

Story from The Crosby-Ironton Courier

In an emergency move to provide adequate manufacturing accommodations for Trail-A-Sled, Inc. immediately, the Crosby Village Council meeting in special session Friday night, proposed a five-year lease arrangement with the firm to occupy the skating rink area of the Arena building.

Terms stipulated in the agreement are that the company will make necessary improvements and installations to make the building suitable for the purpose intended and amortize the cost over the rental period.  Owners of the firm, Eugene Harrison, Glen Gutzman and Richard Harrison plan to start remodeling operations as soon as possible.  The arena will provide 17,000 feet of floor space, compared to the 6,000 now occupied by the firm.

"This will not be a permanent arrangement, nor will it affect the library, Rec Hall and village garage sections of the building," stated a village council spokesman.  "It will, however, assure continued operation of a valued industry here by providing accommodations so urgently needed by the company."

To compensate for the loss of the indoor skating rink for the duration of the rental period, residents of the community are assured that an adequate outdoor rink with warming facilities will be provided and maintained by the village.

"We have been contemplating erecting a new building for some time," said Richard Harrison, secretary-treasurer of Trail-A-Sled, "but the sudden popularity of snow sleds has placed us in a situation that calls for immediate expansion of our facilities if we expect to maintain our position in this market.  Securing a building site, financing and building such a structure will take more time than we can allow.  We have to move now if we expect to stay in business."

During the past season the firm produced 2150 Scorpion sleds.  With the increased production area the Arena building will afford, the company expects to double that figure this coming year.  The larger quarters will also make it possible to install metal fabrication machinery, more welding equipment and a bake oven for painting.  Most of this work was previously done for Trail-A-Sled in Minneapolis.

"Our payroll for 1965 ran well over $200,000," Harrison informed.  "With the added equipment, more production line room and more efficient working conditions, we should be able to double our production and payroll this year," he said.

By fall Trail-A-Sled expects to build employment to over 100 men and is already re-tooling to start producing an anticipated 4500 sleds during the 1966-67 season.  "One new item this coming year will be a wide track family machine," Harrison added.

The assembly plant of the company has been located in the former Middleton garage building for the past year and a half, while the original location of the firm, the old Schultz garage building, has been utilized for manufacturing the rubber track for the sleds.

In a recent business change, according to Harrison, the track department of the business now operates under the firm name of Rubber Drive, Inc.

The business will continue to operate at its present site, even after possession of the Arena is taken over and will process track for Trail-A-Sled as well as for competitive companies.

As has been called to the attention of local civic groups, all potential of the firm has not gone unnoticed by neighboring business development committees and attractive, luring offers have already been dangled before Trial-A-Sled owners.  One group offered a building immediately available and ready to move into, plus other facilities.

"With everything considered, the emergency arrangement for the firm seemed to be our only recourse," stated a council spokesman.  "We would be a lax, complacent governing body if we didn't do everything in our power to encourage and provide for a local born industry that has and can contribute so much to the economic welfare of our community."

"It must be said, too, that the name of Trail-A-Sled Scorpion is fastly becoming more and more synonymous with Crosby, Minn., publicity for our area that would cost thousands of dollars if paid for," the councilman concluded.

Present officers of the Trail-A-Sled, Inc., are: Glen Gutzman, president; Eugene Harrison, vice president; and Richard Harrison, secretary-treasurer.