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May 28, 2014

Pulling its weight: Winamac trailer company growing quickly

Winamac trailer company growing quickly

WINAMAC — Three months after it announced it was moving into town, Antares Trailer is bustling with activity inside the former Tippecanoe Beverage building.

About 18 work inside the 50,000-square-foot building assembling flatbed trailers used for general purpose hauling. The crew is putting out about eight trailers a week, Antares partner Derrick Dilts said.

And that means local investment, he added. Between payroll, supplies and tasks the company contracts to local shops — like machining certain parts or trucking supplies around — the company pumps “just shy of a half-million dollars a month” into the 50-mile radius around the hub in Winamac, Dilts said.

That didn’t come as a surprise to Nathan Origer, Pulaski County’s economic development director.

“Just given how much they need of local shops, it wouldn’t surprise me,” Origer said. He anticipates that though the extra work hasn’t created any more jobs at other local shops yet, it may do so in the next two years or so.

“That’ll be on top of the 40 or 50 that they will create on their own,” Origer added.

Being able to have work done locally and buy from local suppliers might be community-minded, Dilts said, but it’s also good business.

“Number one, I’m from here, and we do like to support people,” Dilts said. “And number two, it helps.”

Using a northern Indiana tire supplier, for example, allows him to order a week’s worth of truck tires instead of a month’s worth — letting him keep a tighter control on the company’s costs, he explained.

The trailers built in Winamac typically go out of state, Dilts said, to Chicago or as far away as Texas and Georgia.

Dilts expects to double production at the facility by September and intends to add production of intermodal chassis in the future, too. Where the trailers have a hauling bed, an intermodal chassis does not, since that type of transport is designed to carry shipping containers.

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