Hometown Trolley Expansion

A major Forest County manufacturing company is just weeks away from drastically expanding its production capacity.

Hometown Trolley in Crandon makes custom trolleys. In its facility, trolleys headed for places like Texas, Florida, and California are in progress.

But Hometown Trolley just signed a deal to build 36 trolleys for Acadia National Park in Maine and desperately needs more production space.

"Once we got that order, to do that order in addition with the same trolley orders that are coming in, we need the extra space," said Chief Operating Officer Dustin Pence.

The company is expanding its facility 100 feet to the south, which will extend its production line.

"Once we get the expansion, it will be nice to spread things out a little bit, so people aren't on top of each other," Pence said. "More trolleys at once, basically breaking each process down, will get more out our door a week."

Hometown Trolley finishes about two trolleys per week. It estimates it will produce three and a half trolleys per week once the new space is open.

But the opening of the new space has required patience. This winter's cold and windy weather has put the project behind schedule.

"It's been real cold. Brutal," said construction foreman Keith Porter.

Porter hoped to have the expansion done before Christmas, but conditions prevented it.

"With the winds and the cold temperatures, it's kind of hard for us guys to come out here and put fasteners in with the big gloves on," Porter said. "When the temperature and the wind chill get below zero, it's getting to be a cutoff point, just a safety factor."

Porter plans to bring extra workers to Crandon, and possibly work this weekend, to finish the project by next Friday.

Pence expects to hire six to ten new employees to staff the addition.

The expansion's second phase is planned for two or three years from now and will extend onto the Forest County Fairgrounds. That project will add even more jobs.