Folience acquires Kansas-based TravAlum to boost capacity for Cimarron Trailers division

Holding company also owns Gazette in Cedar Rapids

A TravAlum worker prepares a sheet of aluminum for eventual use as a livestock trailer. Cimarron Trailers of Chickasha, Okla., has purchased TravAlum and will convert the business into Cimarron’s Manhattan, Kan. location. (CREDIT TRAVALUM

Folience, a Cedar Rapids-based ESOP-owned holding company, announced Tuesday that it has acquired the assets of TravAlum, an aluminum trailer manufacturer based in Manhattan, Kansas, to increase capacity for its Cimarron Trailers subsidiary.

Folience also owns The Gazette, among other holdings.

As a result of the acquisition, TravAlum will close on March 30 and reopen on March 31 as a Cimarron-branded location, according to a news release.

TravAlum’s approximately 30 employees can consider new positions at Cimarron, and any new employees will join approximately 500 other Folience employees in ESOP ownership.

Ben Janssen, president of Cimarron Trailers in Chickasha, Okla., says the acquisition makes sense.

“Cimarron Trailers is blessed with growth from our dealers and customers,” he said. “We’ve been looking for an opportunity to expand our production beyond our facility in Chickasha. The opportunity to employ skilled labor in a facility that is already manufacturing aluminum trailers is a win-win for both companies.”

TravAlum’s former COO Jeff Grieshaber agrees. He will become the new plant manager of the Cimarron, Kansas location.

“The trailer business has changed since our family started TravAlum by Liberty 31 years ago,” he said. “With the changes in technology, distribution, and supply chain, we looked for a partner we knew well, who matched our values, and with whom we would be stronger together. We want to build on what we have already created, keep our employees’ jobs local, and build a financially secure future for them.”

“Folience’s business model is to find successful companies with good cultures that are looking to transition to employee-ownership,” Folience CEO Daniel Goldstein said. “ESOPs are inherently local, owned by the employees, and have a greater commitment to the local community. Employee-owned companies tend to have better working environments with greater employee engagement. This leads to increased safety, attention to health, increased productivity, longer tenure, and overall job satisfaction and pride.”

Folience is a 100% ESOP-owned holding company that invests in profitable businesses with strong management continuity. Folience traces its roots to a family-owned company formed in 1884 and its newspaper, the Cedar Rapids Gazette, started the prior year in 1883. By 1986, the family began embracing employee-ownership, and by 2012 the company was 100% employee-owned. Today, Folience’s approximately 500 employees work at six independently managed companies, including The Gazette, the Southeast Iowa Union Newspapers (including the Fairfield Ledger, Washington Evening Journal and Mt. Pleasant News), Life Line Emergency Vehicles and Cimarron Trailers.