Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in the fall issue of Business Leader, a quarterly business magazine produced by the Leader-Telegram. View the magazine and other free publications at leadertelegram.com/magazines.
STANLEY — Scott Marrier built his own fold-down pontoon trailer in 1997, designing the aluminum structure to be sturdy and safe. He started hearing rave reviews from people who saw it.
“After 30 people stopped and asked to buy it from me, I decided I should make more,” Marrier said.
So, Marrier launched his own business that year, Trophy Trailers, in Stanley. He made 12 that first year, and saw the interest was there, so he kept growing the business.
Last year, Marrier and his staff — now 20 workers — built 2,500 trailers on a five-acre parcel featuring three buildings on the north end of Stanley.
Marrier said all the aluminum pieces are manufactured and welded together on site. He manufactures them ranging in 10, 12 and 14 feet lengths. They also make a variety of trailers for hauling anything like snowmobiles and ATVs.
“We grossly over-build our products,” he said. “We’re famous for stability — you can take our pontoon trailers 70-80 mph on the highway and not worry about it.”
Marrier said the trailers are sold directly to dealers across Minnesota and Wisconsin.
In recent years, Marrier designed all the molds, or “jigs,” allowing the workers to make each trailer quicker with the same quality.
“Every trailer comes out exactly the same,” he said.
Marrier is pleased to have a workforce ranging from recent high school graduates to 60-year-olds.
“I’ve got some of the best welders — you get the right people, they take pride in what they do, and it shows in our products,” he said.
The Chippewa County Economic Development Corporation honored Trophy Trailer in May as one of its “Business of the Year” winners.
Charlie Walker, CCEDC executive director, said the company was deserving of the accolade.
“It’s the innovative trailers they make,” Walker said. “It’s a good, stable company. They do some really cool, customized trailers. We appreciate their investments.”
Marrier is proud that he and his family have created the Hands Foundation, which raises money for homeless veterans. Marrier said his whole family, except himself, have a military background, and it is an organization that has meant a lot to him personally.
Marrier noted he has more room on his five-acre parcel to expand if the company keeps growing.
“We’ve been very fortunate,” he said. “Stanley has been very good to us.”
Marrier takes pride in how few complaints and issues he’s had over the 20-plus years of making the machines.
“My advertising is my customers,” he said.