Wednesday, September 14, 1966
Trail-A-Sled in Biggest Year
Arena Building Allows Expansion
Story from The Crosby-Ironton Courier
Fantastic growth and expansion have marked the progress of Trail-A-Sled, Inc. the past two years. Owners and founders of the corporation are Glen Gutzman, Eugene and Richard Harrison.
Making much of this possible, the partners agreed, was the recent acquisition by the firm of the Arena building on a lease agreement with the Crosby village council. In keeping with terms of the lease, the company has completely renovated the interior of the structure for spacious manufacturing accommodations.
Improvements have included a new concrete floor, ceiling, complete modern electrical system, office quarters and re-painting.
Glen Gutzman"Even with this greatly needed additional space," said Glen Gutzman, president of Trail-A-Sled, "which has given us another 17,000 square feet of floor space, we are already feeling the pinch for more room."
"The reason," he said, "is that this year we are shooting for 5,000 Scorpion units. This compares with 573 sleds we produced in 1964 and 2,500 manufactured and sold last year."
Presently Trail-A-Sled is operating on a two 10-hour shift basis daily at their three local plants, with approximately 60 employees, and are turning out 25 to 30 sleds a day. "By mid-October we expect to increase this production to 100 units daily by adding 40 or so more men to our employment rolls," Gutzman said. Thus far they have turned out approximately 400 machines since mid-August.
The Arena building is now utilized mainly for assembling the units, machine work, welding, manufacturing of parts and storage. "Only parts for the machines not made locally," Gutzman informed, "are the motors and tunnels (metal frames) and we make most of the parts for those here. The rest is fabricated in Minneapolis."
"Our rubber track and tires for the wheels are molded at our rubber plant in the old Schultz garage building, and the fibre glass bodies in the former Middleton garage building," he said. Combined with the Arena, these two buildings provide the firm with a total of over 30,000 feet of production space.
The company now has dealerships established all over Minnesota and surrounding states as well as outlets in several eastern and western states and Canada. Their largest single dealership is Sears & Roebuck Company.
Besides their rating as a leading manufacturer and distributor of snowsleds, Trail-A-Sled is also gaining in prominence in this field as a supplier. The company recently produced and shipped a sizeable parts order to a Canadian firm and holds contracts with other manufacturers for supplying rubber tracks and machine parts.
To keep up with the orders from their numerous dealerships, the company now has two semi-trailer trucks and one flatbed truck in operation to speed delivery of the Scorpions to distant destinations. "As production increases, we will have to add another large semi," Gutzman said. "We have to move them fast and when the demand is at its peak," he explained.
Other equipment acquired by the company this year to speed up production and make it possible to manufacture more parts here, have been a giant drill and punch press and a two-way rubber track mold. The new mold turns out two tracks every 15 minutes, which compares to one in the same time by the former machine. A tire mold for the small steel wheels on the sleds has also been added.
Trail-A-Sled is now producing two sizes of the Scorpion sleds, on a 10 hp. and the other a 15 hp., both with standard 15-inch track. "By the end of October we expect to start production of an 18-inch track model," Gutzman said.