Weekend Warrior Trailers Inc., is in the process of moving into a new factory building located across the street from its existing two plants in Perris, Calif., so the firm can continue to grow.
The 15-year-old company, which only builds ramp trailers, also known as sport utility trailers (SUTs), began moving equipment into its new facility on Saturday (Feb. 28) and will begin trial production runs on Thursday (March 4), said Gary Denton, director of sales and marketing.
Weekend Warrior will move production of its main line series of travel trailers and fifth-wheels into the new facility and continue building its Super Lite series in its existing facilities at 1320 Oleander Ave., in Perris, Denton said.
The company needs the additional capacity because it has been growing at a 50% annual rate the last several years, reaching $70 million in sales in 2003, owner Mark Warmoth said.
Warmoth hopes to reach $100 million in sales this year and Denton believes the company will, at least, come close to that mark. Production delays related to the move into the new building, however, make reaching $100 million in sales uncertain at this time.
The shortage of gas RV ovens, which has dragged on longer than Warmoth and most others in the industry had expected, also is presenting challenges, Denton added.
Warmoth, Denton and other members of the Weekend Warrior management team are “off-road” enthusiasts and Warmoth said the growth in demand for ramp trailers is directly related to the popularity of four-wheel all-terain vehicles (ATVs), commonly known as quads.
Warmoth founded the company to build trailers to haul his motorcycles and ATVs into the Southern California desert so he and his family could enjoy the off-road lifestyle in comfort.
Ironically, in 1988, when Warmoth founded Weekend Warrior, the federal government banned the sale of three-wheel ATVs, saying they were unsafe. It wasn’t until 1997, when Weekend Warrior had only $7 million in annual sales, that the demand for ramp trailers took off, because Honda and some other manufacturers introduced high-performance quads that year.
Now, ramp trailers account for about one third of all travel trailers and fifth-wheels sold in California, and Weekend Warrior accounts for about one-third of ramp trailers, Warmoth estimated.
Weekend Warrior exhibited its products at the 2002 and 2003 editions of the National RV Trade Show in Louisville in an effort to sign up dealers and capture more sales in the Eastern portion of the country.
Although the list of ramp-trailer manufacturers has increased dramatically during the last few years, Warmoth said he was confident Weekend Warrior will continue to grow because the popularity of the off-road lifestyle will continue to grow.
“It’s a Cinderella story for sure,” he said.