June '19

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34 • RV PRO • June 2019 rv-pro.com R V M A N U F A C T U R E R S A unique experiment mixing cap- italism within a religious and socialistic culture is unfolding on the plains of southeast South Dakota, where a colony of Hutterites (see "About the Old Elm Spring Colony" on page 38) is seeking to help sustain their commu- nity of 140 followers by manufacturing TrailManor collapsible folding trailers. The TrailManor brand, established in 1983, was once a successful Tennes- see-based product, but fell on hard times since the onset of the Great Recession. In June 2017, the Old Elm Spring Hutterite Colony, based in Parkston, S.D., stepped in to take over the RV manufacturer. They incorporated under the name TM Industries and moved production from Hartington, Neb., to a 36,000-square-foot metal fabricating facility in a neighboring colony. TrailManor's CEO is Paul Wipf, 61, who was raised in a Hutterite Colony but left with his family when he was 15 years old. Paul's older brother, Joseph Wipf, heads the Old Elm Spring colony and hired his younger brother to run the RV manufacturer. Brand Appeal To get traction in the marketplace, the Wipfs know they and their handful of dealers will have to do a good job explaining the special attributes of Trail- Manor models, which combine the best elements of a lightweight pop-up and a traditional hard-side trailer. That combination is made possible thanks to the trailers' unique power lift technology: Eight torsion bars permit the trailer – which is a bit less than 80 inches tall when collapsed – to expand to 116 inches for camping. Religious Colony Revives TrailManor Hutterites have high hopes for the storied brand of collapsible folding trailers. By Steve Bibler PHOTOS BY JACK FLINN The team building TrailManor trailers includes (from left) Tom Wipf, Caleb Wurtz, David Wurtz, Loren Waldner, Bruce Wurtz, Adam Waldner, Tim Wurtz, Wes Wurtz, Jacob Waldner, Roman Wurtz and Aaron Wurtz.

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