Voth Truck Bodies celebrated a grand opening Friday for its newly expanded production facility in Courtland with an official ribbon cutting.
With the expansion, the number of employees has grown from 30 to 72. And there may be more expansion plans in the future.
"We definitely look forward to growth," said Frank Voth, president of Voth Truck Bodies, who merged his company with Drive Products about three years ago.
"Our light-medium duty truck body upfitting industry, it's a huge, huge industry. The growth potential is... the sky's the limit," said Voth, noting a truck on display in front of their new production facility. "This is our latest new product, it's called the urban forestry truck. It was a five-year plan to get it off the ground to where we are and it's going over really well. Every year we try to add one new feature."
"We operate this business as Voth Truck Bodies," said Robert Edmonds from Drive Products. "We merged the businesses (Voth Truck Bodies and Drive Products) about three years ago. Voth Truck Bodies is our manufacturing arm and Drive Products is a distribution company, so now we have the ability to combine our manufacturing and distribution capabilities. Drive Products has seven locations across Canada from which we distribute the products that we make here, along with our other distribution partners across North America."
Expansion discussions began soon after the merger, and within a year they had started designing and constructing the new 60,000 square foot plant expansion, which went into production more than a month prior to Friday's grand opening.
"It was very quick," said Edmonds, noting that the original facility - which is still in full operation - is roughly 35-40,000, so they now have just under 100,000 square feet of combined, fully integrated manufacturing space.
"When we partnered up and Voth had access to our distribution network across Canada and the United States, the volume of units started to grow very quickly," said Edmonds.
Voth Truck Bodies currently manufactures three main product types - medium duty Voth truck bodies; Kargo King Roll Off Systems; and tractor-mounted snow plows. From their website, Voth's specialty is designing and building custom aluminum and steel truck bodies and pickup truck inserts geared to the landscaping, municipal, forestry and light and medium duty aggregate industries.
"This plant will allow us to increase our manufacturing capacity. Currently we're about 1,000 units per year. We have a three-year plan to double that, at least, to 2,000 production units.
"We've had a great partnership with the local community, we love manufacturing in the area. It's a great place to do business, a great workforce to expand in, and as you can see from the area here we've got plenty of room and we, at some point, hope to increase the footprint again. Hopefully sooner rather than later but that will depend on production."
Voth Truck Body Manufacturing started as a company 17 years ago in 2001.
"We built the first phase here (in Courtland) 12 years ago," said Voth, who with his wife Margaret had started Voth Sales and Services near Eden in 1977, eventually selling that property and moving fully to Courtland two years ago.
"I designed my first little dump box 17 years ago. Built it, sold it. Built another one, and so on, and the rest is history," Voth smiled. "In 2017 we delivered 782 units and with the new facility we will be able to build up to 3,000 units a year."