- Like Mowrey Elevators in downtown Marianna, the extensive industrial manufacturing that goes on at Rolls Rite Trailers can’t be seen from the highway, even at the Industrial Park north of town on State Road 71. The offices for Rolls Rite can be seen from Industrial Park Drive, a short drive down the north entrance, next door to McKee Engineering, but behind the office space is more than 25,000 square feet of industrial warehouse space, filled with welders building heavy duty trailers and work being done on smaller trailers. With the outdoor storage space for some trailers, the entire site leased from the city of Marianna includes five acres. In celebration of their 16th year in business, owner Dick Dunlap invited the Jackson County TIMES on a tour of the facility Monday morning.
- “We opened in May of 1998,” Dunlap said, “when we found the perfect location. Back then, it was just me and William Reynolds, who had recently retired from GM in Flint, Mich. William is now the plant engineer here and his son Billy Reynolds is the plant supervisor and parts manager.” Dunlap explained that if it weren’t for Marianna businessman Bob Pforte, he might have missed the area altogether. “I was ready to leave town,” he said, “but the real estate person told me she had one more person for me to talk to. Bob Pforte knew Jackson County Recycling was about to move out of here and into a new building. When I saw this, I knew it was just what we needed.”
- Today, Rolls Rite Trailers has 21 employees, including 18 fulltime welders. From steel girders and other materials, they manufacture more than 300 trailers every year. They produced about 900 trailers in 2005 and again in 2006, “before the economy went bad,” explained office manager Brian Wilkerson. Last year, Roll Rite in Marianna built 43 heavy duty trailers for the New York state Department Of Transportation to carry its snowplows. The plant has sold trailers to Ford Motor Company and to customers in California as well asin Honduras and Barbados. “We sell more trailers in Ohio than we do in the Panhandle,” Dunlap said. Also, Rolls Rite is the biggest trailer parts supply house in Northwest Florida.
- Owners Dick and Tina Dunlap are originally from Pittsburg. Dick was managing a trailer manufacturing plant in Double Springs, Ala., when he sought to branch out on his own. “Marianna has turned out to be the perfect location for us. We have found the interstate transportation connections to be ideal.” As far as future growth is concerned, Dick says he is not interested in expanding: “Everything is perfect just like it is!
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