North America Trailer Company of Chilliwack is expanding in order to meet rising demand from the booming film and television industry.
The local fabricators have become the go-to guys for providing trailers to the stars.
“We’re known to be at the top of the heap. That’s our niche,” said Lex Carstensen, owner of North America Trailer Co. “We’re the only manufacturers dedicated to the motion picture industry.”
Megastars like Brad Pitt, Will Smith, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Aniston and Robert DeNiro have enjoyed the creature comforts of a Jexcar trailer built in Chilliwack. A-lister Dwayne Johnson posted a photo from inside one of the Jexcar trailers on his social media page.
“We are pleased to be able to continue to grow our company in Chilliwack,” said Carstensen. “Finding an additional location will now enable us to hire more people and increase production to meet unprecedented customer demand for our products.”
The workers are just getting settled into the new 30,000 square-foot manufacturing space at #5 – 44565 Yale Rd. after moving in more than a month ago.
Things really started looking up for North America Trailer Co. seven or eight years ago with the dawn of streaming media.
The Carstensens were building trailers out of Abbotsford more than 20 years ago, as film production started ramping up in Hollywood North, but there were a lot of “lean years,” for the business along the way.
“There used to be a TV season every year with a few shows in production, but with the advent of streaming there’s new content being created all year round,” Carstensen said. “There’s a hunger and a drive for new content for people to play on their smart phones and tablets.”
Consequently, they are having a bit of trouble finding enough staff. They plan to hire more personnel in the coming weeks with a range of building skills and trades tickets.
The new building is in addition to their existing site in Rosedale, and it gives them a total of more than 50,000 square feet to work with.
Other companies might transform the occasional recreational trailer into a movie production trailer, but the Jexcar line is geared to the specific needs of film production.
“We have the biggest piece of that industry because we have such a wide spectrum of units,” the owner added.
They offer slide-outs in multiple widths and depths.
All trailers are engineered and built in Chilliwack from the ground up using proprietary chassis and room designs.
They ship product all across North America, with equipment rental clients in L.A., Vancouver, Atlanta and Toronto.
Their “bread and butter” is building the working unit from the Jexcar line. They can range from makeup and hair trailers, to wardrobe, catering, or cast trailers with one, two, or three rooms, all the way up to the luxurious Celebrity line.
“Chilliwack has long been a popular filming location for movies and commercials,” said Brian Coombes, CEPCO President.
The spinoffs from the industry in B.C. are estimated in the billions of dollars.
“However, having a company like Jexcar expand in Chilliwack is even more exciting, as they are creating local jobs for local families that are a direct result of the growth of film production in North America.”
In addition to the Jexcar brand, this expansion allows North America Trailer Ltd. to grow the newly developed Sommerhus product line, this recently developed division focuses on Park Model RV units for the recreational property market.
The company is set to hire 40 people over the next several weeks to support the existing staff of 53 employees.
“It is still pretty tough to hire enough people right now, but it’s getting easier than it was a year ago,” Carstensen said.
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