Trailer maker growing in Chambersburg

By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

Brian Wise, President of BWise Manufacturing in Chambersburg

BWise Manufacturing’s recent purchase allows it to keep its commitment to its home town.

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — As BWise Manufacturing prepared for growth, company leaders didn’t want to search far and wide for a facility.

So BWise took a good look at the facility it was using at 1002 Wayne Ave. in Chambersburg, Pa. Then it bought the entire building and surrounding acreage.

By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer
A dump trailer bed enters a automated powder coat system at BWise Manufacturing in Chambersburg.

The deal means room to expand and the flexibility to use the property in the best way to accommodate the company’s needs, said David McKee, vice president of sales and marketing.

“As a company, we care about our community, and that’s why we bought the building,” he said. “Growing in Chambersburg is important to us. … We’ve got a great local workforce.”

BWise, manufacturer of the BWise and Bri-Mar brands of high-end trailers, has operated in part of the 414,000-square-foot building for the past few years.

According to Franklin County property records, the company has purchased building and grounds from Chambersburg Business Park LP, Chambersburg Business Park II LP and Holdings TD Manager LLC for $9.5 million.

“This is a major investment that solidifies the future of Bri-Mar in Chambersburg/Franklin County,” Mike Ross, president of the Franklin County Area Development Corp., wrote in an email. “Given that the FCADC has a long-standing relationship with Bri-Mar and have availed support to the company since its startup, we are very enthusiastic about their decision.”

McKee said that decision was driven by the need to expand and company owner Brian Wise’s view that the expansion should remain in Chambersburg.

“It’s an important part of his vision,” McKee said.

The company makes 7,500 to 9,000 trailers a year. The products are aimed at a variety of uses, from those that tilt and dump to those that carry construction tools or tote heavy equipment.

The company makes trailers with remote controls. It makes trailers that combine dump features with tool storage. It makes a new line of trailers that can multi-task, based on a chassis that can accommodate a variety of uses.

Its products are sold through a network of some 200 dealers.

While the company does most of its business in the East and Mid-Atlantic, it sells its products from the East Coast to Hawaii.

The industry has grown as businesses have adopted trailers as durable and valuable tools of their trades, McKee said.

From the market indications it studies, BWise anticipates demand will continue.

The company employs about 95 people at the Chambersburg facility, McKee said, and that number is likely to grow to meet production forecasts.

The company also is embarking on an automated paint system.

“It’s a big investment for us on top of the property investment,” he said.

He said there are about 160 trailer manufacturers across the country.

“We generally rank No. 15 or No. 16 in terms of size and deliveries,” McKee said. “We build a premium product. … We’re not the cheapest guy out there, but we’re the best.”