COLEMAN, PEI — Better than half a year after being nominated, Harvey Stewart was honored with the Ernst & Young Atlantic Manufacturing Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
Mr. Stewart built his first live-bottom trailer in 1999 for a local lime hauler whose conventional dump truck wasn’t meeting his needs. The lime would clump and stick, and tipping hazards were a constant threat. The solution was simple in Mr. Stewart’s view: “I looked at various concepts of live-bottom trailer designs and incorporated the best features from several designs to come up with the initial Trout River Design.”
Fast-forward three years from the first Trout River live-bottom trailer to 2002 when Mr. Stewart commissioned a newly-built manufacturing shop in Coleman, PEI, with floor space for three trailers to be built simultaneously. Within four years, despite work-flow enhancements within the shop and the construction of a separate paint shop, space was limiting the company’s capabilities to keep up with the growing demand for their unique bulk-carrier trailers.
In 2006 an addition and redesign of the building saw the shop area grow to 30,000 square feet with staffing increased to sustain the increasing demand.
With a Canada-wide sales network and licensed Trout River Service Centres in Quebec, Ontario and Western Canada, the focus of the business has not strayed from the very first Trout River live bottom trailer. The company remains dedicated to its customers.
With 98 per cent of the trailers produced at the Coleman PEI shop sold out-of-province and the Canada-wide sales force determined to increase their sales, the company is also looking toward significant increases in international markets. Through a special licensing agreement, Trout River Trailers are built and sold in Australia, through Australasian Machinery PTY.
Following his initial nomination by PEI Business Development, Mr. Stewart won a provincial Entrepreneur award in May, was announced an Atlantic finalist in June, and ultimately took home the top honors at a formal gala in Halifax, Oct. 9.
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