Family Business Celebrated for Local Economic and Community Impact
Every entrepreneur dreams of expanding their business and growing the workforce, but few businesses have realized that dream like Aluma Trailers of Bancroft. In just 25 years, Aluma has expanded its facility four times and grown its workforce from 40 employees to nearly 200, and today the manufacturer has earned another accolade, the Iowa Farm Bureau Renew Rural Iowa (RRI) Entrepreneur Award.
Nearly every car, truck, motorcycle, golf cart, or any other small vehicle or piece of equipment being hauled down the highway today on an aluminum trailer was most likely assembled in Aluma’s Kossuth County Aluma warehouse. Aluma Trailers manufactures 75-80 trailers each day in their Bancroft plant, and last year alone, the company purchased 7 million pounds of aluminum and produced 15,000 trailers. The aluminum construction of Aluma’s trailers separates the company from other trailer manufacturers who traditionally build trailers with steel.
The aluminum construction of Aluma trailers makes the trailer lighter, which means better fuel efficiency for the operator, according to plant manager Jim Beaumier. Aluma trailers are also known for durability, and customers like that the trailers are less prone to rust than traditional steel trailers. Aluma’s reputation for a high-quality product has led to steady growth and customers spanning North America and beyond. “The company is growing, and we ship our trailers to all parts of North America, including Hawaii, Alaska, and Canada,” says Beaumier. “We also export to international customers, so our reach is global.”
The employment opportunities created by Aluma have impressed community leaders and made a big impact in north central Iowa. Maureen Elbert, executive director with the Kossuth/Palo Alto County Development Corporation, has been impressed with Aluma’s expansion and economic impact over the past two decades and the company’s dedication to the community. Elbert notes how Aluma draws employees from a 40-mile radius, showing how the company’s impact expands beyond just Bancroft, but provides opportunities for surrounding counties, too. With a second location in Emmetsburg that focuses on enclosed trailers, the company has a new workforce to draw from and continues to grow each year.
“Aluma Trailers have a growing impact in our community that has continued from the time I started 20 years ago,” says Elbert. “The growth and vision of Aluma has been huge to this area, particularly the new jobs and the impact on the local economy.”
Jeff Schutjer, Kossuth County Farm Bureau president, sees Aluma as a great employer for farmers who need to supplement their family’s income with an off-farm job. “Many farmers today rely on an off-the-farm job to help make ends meet, particularly during these downturned economic times for agriculture,” says Schutjer. “Aluma has been a great employer for many of those folks, and I have several friends who work there.”
In addition to being celebrated as a preeminent employer in the region, Aluma has been praised for its work with area youth. During the last facility expansion, Aluma worked with students to help design all aspects of the shipping department remodel as part of the company’s Young Person Outreach Program.
“Knowing that young minds from our community helped create and design the successful expansion is so great, especially when Aluma’s management really helped engage them,” Elbert says. “Aluma is truly an asset to our community and deserving of this recognition.”
RRI is an Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) initiative supporting new and existing businesses through education, mentoring, and financial resources. Since its inception, RRI has helped create $125M in economic impact for rural communities. The next RRI Business Success Seminar, “The Journey to Your Vision,” takes place May 11 at North Iowa Lakes Algona Campus. For more information about RRI and the RRI Pathways, a searchable technology that connects entrepreneurs with resources, go to http://programs.iowafarmbureau.com/RRI/.