American as Apple Pie

The Weekly Report – April 18, 2022
Manufacturing is so “cool”

It’s always fun to find a small family-owned Minnesota manufacturing company that fits the “cool” factor, and that’s exactly what Bob Kill, our president & CEO, and Bill Martinson, one of our top business developers, found during a recent tour of Backus-based Scamp Trailers.

Bob came back to our Minneapolis office as jazzed as I’ve ever seen him about a company tour, saying “we should write a story for Enterprise Minnesota® magazine about Scamp because their story is impressive. The company has a two-year waiting list for its products,” Bob said.

I thought to myself, who waits two years for their purchase to arrive? Turns out hundreds of people do when it comes from Scamp.

You’ll read in the upcoming issue of our magazine that writer, Robb Murray (we’re delighted to welcome Robb back as one of our great feature writers), says, “When you’re gassing up your car on a summer Friday, you’ve no doubt gazed across the array of pumps to see a smiling gentleman gassing up his truck — behind which is hitched a curious, egg-shaped camper with a funny name.” What you’re looking at is a Scamp camper. “These nifty, affordable, American-made campers have developed a loyal following like few — if any — campers do. There are websites, meet-up groups and newsletters that exist for people to discuss their Scamps and the adventures they get into with them. Scamp campers engender community, camaraderie, and loyalty.”

“Scamp’s story is one of resilience. Not only have they been producing homegrown campers for 50 years, but they’ve also weathered a few ’storms.’ They survived a fire that put camper production on hold for nearly a year. They’ve navigated a pandemic, supply chain issues, inflation, labor shortages. And in the last three years, they’ve been under ’new’ management,” Robb says. “The thing that is most impressive about Scamp’s operation right now, however, is their order backlog.”

“As of right now, if you want to order a Scamp trailer, you and your family won’t be heading to the north woods with it anytime soon. Certainly not this summer. Probably not next summer, either. Like many others on the waiting list, it’ll be more like a two-year wait.”

But their customers don’t seem to mind waiting.

“The cool thing, though, is people are still placing orders even though there’s a 24-month wait,” says Jim Nagy, Scamp’s marketing coordinator. “We are planning on adding on to our factory to kind of close that gap a little bit because we certainly don’t like people having to wait two years to get their trailer.”

So, while many companies are struggling to find workers and rustle up business, Scamp has the unique fortune of a young CEO with a personal stake in the company’s success, and an uncommon demand for its product

If you don’t already, be sure to subscribe to the magazine so you can read the full story when it comes out next month.

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Events Calendar

April 26 – Investing in Your People to Create Leaders at All Levels
Talent & leadership manufacturing workshop. Exclusive to manufacturers. Online via Zoom

May 10 – State of Manufacturing: Grand Rapids
Open to all manufacturers and supporters of manufacturing. In-person at Rapids Brewing Company.

May 19 – Profiting from Revenue Growth
Strategy & revenue growth workshop. Exclusive to manufacturers. Online via Zoom

May 25 – A Model for Manufacturing Excellence Using ISO 9001
ISO 9001:2015 manufacturing workshop. Exclusive to manufacturers. In-person in Sartell.

Industry News

Biden to require US-made steel, iron for infrastructure
April 18, KSTP News

MN gains 11,500 jobs in March, unemployment down to 2.5%
April 15, Duluth News Tribune/Pioneer Press

Fastenal says increased manufacturing, construction activity drove brisk 1Q results
April 13, Star Tribune

KAMP Automation eyes move from Waseca to Owatonna
April 11, Owatonna People’s Press

Bemidji Career Academies Career Fair returns to Bemidji High School
April 11, Bemidji Pioneer

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