Legend will repurpose the approximate 123,000 square foot facility to become their new center for the production of high quality aluminum trailers. The company anticipates the project will grow to have upwards of 150 jobs.
Headquartered just north of St. Johns, Michigan Legend Manufacturing is known as the premium aluminum trailer manufacturer. The decision to significantly increase the production capacity will ensure that the company will be able to supply its growing North American market.
Legend, a family owned company founded by siblings Nathan, Jason, and Lisa Beck, was conceived about a decade ago. The three who are owners of one of the nation’s largest trailer retailers, Beck’s Trailers, realized there was a significant disconnect between what the customer wanted and what manufacturers were willing to provide.
Nathan Beck explained that his frustration in trying to provide customers with a truly high quality product led to the decision to form Legend Manufacturing. He stated, “Our family reputation and determination to supply the best products led us to cut our own path and begin manufacturing our own trailers.” Jason Beck further explained, “Legend continues to prove that when given the choice, consumers would prefer to have a quality product from a company they trust.”
Nathan Beck explained, “The economic down turn in 2008 allowed Legend to go back to the drawing board to produce another line of products for the price conscious buyer who desired Legend quality. In October of 2009, the Thunder All-Aluminum Trailer was born. Since its inception, the factory has been producing product volume at the equivalent rate of two manufacturers its size. It became clear there was a need to significantly expand and restructure the manufacturing operation.
Over the course of almost two years Legend analyzed, explored, planned various scenarios, and examined multiple location possibilities both in State and out of state for the expansion of the company. After a lot of optimistic work, which included examination of expanding at the existing location to moving out of state, it was very clear that the best path for the company was to be in a new location in Gratiot County.”
Nathan Beck remarked, “We were in a very frustrating quandary trying to decide what to do when one of our suppliers suggested we examine a Gratiot county location. We were connected with Don Schurr at Greater Gratiot Development. Don listened to our desired features for our business, a location and, what we wanted in a community relationship.”
Schurr suggested they examine the former Wal-Mart building in Pine River Township just north of the Alma corporate line. Schurr commented, “When Legend explained their ideal location, what they were looking for in community attributes, and what they hoped for in municipal relationships it was immediately clear to me that a location in the former Wal-Mart building in Pine River Township would be perfect.”
Nathan Beck stated, “Don brought in all the individuals necessary for us to make a business decision, including the Gratiot County building inspector, Township officials, and representatives of the MEDC. I know we have a lot to do but with everybody’s help, it is going very well.”
Although the Wal-Mart building was available and for sale, securing the building was not a standard transaction. Wal-Mart Corporation, for competitive reasons and to protect the interests of the community, is selective in deciding who will purchase their properties. They have a process to establish credibility, longevity, and find proof positive that the sale of one of a former location is a good plan for Wal-Mart and the community. The Legend business plan proved to be the best for Alma, Michigan, and Legend Manufacturing Inc.
Pine River Township Supervisor Kevin Beeson commented, “We welcome the Beck family and Legend Manufacturing to our community. We are thankful that we are part of such a great community that understands the importance of working together. Our partners at GGDI were instrumental in making this transition possible. The folks at Legend have a vision to successfully repurpose the recently vacated Wal-Mart store into a premier manufacturing facility and we plan to work closely with them to make sure their dream becomes a success.”
Both Beeson and Schurr are certain Legend will be an excellent addition to the Gratiot community. The corporate philosophy since the beginning as stated in the Legend motto has been “Buy it for Looks, Keep it for Life”. This fits well with the Gratiot community philosophy of helping companies locate and continue to grow.
In addition to Legend Premium Aluminum Trailers and Thunder All-Aluminum trailers, the company also produces the Legend “Ice-Master” premium ice shanty. The deluxe little “houses” provide lightweight shelter for fishing, hunting or any outdoor sport where protection is required. Inside features can include an insulation package and heater, surround sound, A/C, and anything else to achieve the customers’ highest comfort level.
One thing is for certain, Legend is not just building trailers. They are building a far better trailer with smart and affordable price points. The company employs a very good team of 60 craftsmen including fabricators, welders, wood carpenters, electricians, general labor, and cosmetic designers.
Legend will add additional workers to their existing team, and a second shift is certainly in the plans for the near future.