Distribution makes trailer firm a leader

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Carry-On Trailer Inc. celebrated in the Northern Neck when it sold and shipped its 1 millionth trailer, a milestone achieved by its innovative distribution system.

The company, founded in Virginia in 1996 by James Pearson, makes utility, closed-cargo, horse and livestock trailers. Since its start in the

Northern Neck, the company has moved its headquarters to Lavonia, Ga., but still has two factories in Westmoreland County that employ about 350 workers.

The 130,000-square-foot facility in Montross is the company’s largest plant, producing about 60,000 trailers each year. It made Carry-On’s

millionth trailer and hosted a company celebration marking the event. The second Westmoreland plant in Callao makes accessories, replacement

parts and trailer-hitch parts.
The company “managed to do in 12 years what other older trailer manufacturers have yet to accomplish,” says Michael Skoglund, the company’s

vice president of operations.
Skoglund says a key element in the company’s growth has been in its distribution system. Carry-On sells some of its trailers through

privately held and “mom-and-pop” dealers, the industry norm. But Carry-On also has developed relationships with national retail chains,

including Lowe’s, Tractor Supply and Southern States Cooperative.
“We were the first ones in that market, but it’s really taken off and, as a result, we’ve had to open up plants across the country,” Skoglund says. The company now has factories in Texas, Iowa, Georgia and Nevada, as well as Virginia.

Carry-On, which had $170 million in revenues in 2007, has had a consistent 30 percent annual growth rate since 1996. 

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