Kent Eveland, president of Eveland’s Inc., Backus, Minn., manufacturer of Scamp towables, vows to rebuild after a fire destroyed the company’s factory and most of its material and equipment Friday night (Jan. 13).
“That’s our intention. We ended up losing basically our whole main structure,” Eveland said. “They’ve identified the location where it started, but they don’t know the cause for sure.”
Eveland was not yet able to put a monetary value on the fire’s damage at the 36-year-old manufacturing concern. Founded in 1971 in Backus about 130 miles west of Duluth, Scamp makes small molded fiberglass travel trailers and fifth-wheels in lengths from 13 to 19 feet for retail prices ranging from $7,000 to $20,000.
The fire, Eveland recounted, started about 6 p.m. in the center of the 23,000-square-foot building housing Eveland’s main assembly line and parts department along with fiberglass, sewing and wood shops. Molds to fashion the sidewalls for Scamp trailers also were destroyed.
About 25 units that were partially completed or waiting delivery from the
Eveland’s factory-direct store were not damaged.
The company’s sales office began operating again on Monday. “The sales office wasn’t damaged,” Eveland said. “People are still picking up their trailers, and we need to get some fabric and we can finish a lot of them.”
The effect of the fire on Eveland’s business, in the big picture, remains to be seen.
“We are getting some cancellations, but a lot of people are waiting for us to be able to build trailers again,” he said. “We just need to figure out how to do it. We’d like to optimists. We’ve already got a pretty good gameplan to replace the fiberglass molds. At first I thought it might be six months before we could get going again, but we might be rolling a little faster than we thought.”