Wed December 28, 2022
Celebrating a milestone of 90 years in business, Curry Supply Company continues to set the pace in commercial truck manufacturing, showing no signs of slowing down. Known for its extensive range of service vehicles and related equipment, the company also is gaining attention for its considerable increase in production capacity.
Already one of the largest manufacturers of commercial service trucks and rail equipment across the United States, its recent move to Hollidaysburg, Pa., and opening of a second facility in Houston, Texas, has increased its manufacturing and service operations exponentially.
Founded by Lyonel Ritchey in 1932 as a general store in Martinsburg, Pa., Curry Supply Company is now in its third generation of ownership and management by the Ritchey family. Current president and owner Jason Ritchey joined the company as a full-time employee in 2000, ushering in a new era of success and subsequent growth.
Continued success led to expansion as Curry Supply's footprint grew significantly, spanning coast to coast across the United States. Currently, Curry Supply has facilities throughout the Keystone State, including its corporate headquarters in Altoona, Pa. The continued success prompted westward expansion, adding two facilities in Texas and another in Arizona to enable Curry to bolster its service to its clients along the west coast.
Curry Supply Company's equipment lines include, but are not limited to, cone trucks, highway safety truck-mounted attenuator trucks, dump truck bodies, flatbed trucks, metro TMA trucks, mechanic/service trucks, lube skids, lube trailers, fuel trucks, lube trucks, propane service trucks, vacuum trucks, on and off-road water trucks and tanks and winch trucks. In addition, the company carries a line of demountable/hook lifts from Stellar Industries and industrial carrier trucks from VersaTran.
Since its start, Curry Supply Company's core manufacturing and corporate headquarters were located in Martinsburg, Pa. After three significant expansions in the Martinsburg location, the company had reached the limits of its ability for further growth necessitated by marketplace demand. In November 2021, the company packed up and moved to its new facility in Hollidaysburg, Pa. — with a length exceeding half a mile; it was once the largest locomotive production and repair shop in the world.
With extensive renovations and updates at the new facility, Curry Supply's team completed the move from Martinsburg in four days of long hours and late nights. The move significantly increased the company's manufacturing space to more than 500,000 sq. ft.
The new facility increases production efficiencies by implementing lean and flow technologies and features the latest machinery and components. Curry also has added several blast booths, paint booths and coating booths. Major expansion and upgrades are under way at the Curry Supply Houston facility in Hockley, Texas.
Curry Supply Company's continued success is tied directly to its ability to embolden the success of its customers. Ritchey attributes the company's phenomenal growth to listening to customers, understanding their needs and working to create logical solutions. In doing so, Curry Supply has evolved from an equipment dealer and distributor to a mainstream manufacturer.
"We cover every state and, to provide constant and comprehensive coverage, we've made sure to position sales personnel in every market we cover," said Ritchey. "Our goal is for all our facilities to be equipped with duplicate capabilities. We're focused on bringing a consistent level of service excellence and a best-of-class range of equipment to all our customers."
Regarding the current business environment, Curry Supply Company has elected to address the challenges head-on and lean into the rebound Ritchey is confident is coming.
"We're all in the same boat, dealing with labor shortages, supply chain issues and rising material costs," he said. "At Curry Supply Company, we see these as improvement opportunities instead of roadblocks. Part of that approach is positioning people with the skills and experience to overcome obstacles and work around challenges."
To conquer some of those obstacles, Curry Supply brought in key personnel experienced in areas that tie directly into the company's growth plan.
"Last year we added on a senior director of supply chain and a vice president of operations who, combined, add over 45 years of industry specific experience and expertise to our team," said Ritchey. "Those key additions provide us an extensive increase in experience when it comes to supply chain/procurement management and advanced manufacturing, ensuring that excellence in quality and efficiency remain central to Curry's customer value proposition and growth strategy."
Keeping on top of the supply chain also is necessary for Curry Supply to advance.
"Rather than wait to exhaust allocations, we work proactively with our suppliers while also searching out additional sources for equipment, materials and supplies," he said. "Constant communications with our customers and vendors, providing information and updates, and receiving valuable feedback is critical to the process."
As Ritchey looks to the future, he remains optimistic, seeing technology as among the driving forces behind both opportunities and solutions.
"There's so much to build and enhance. The growth and increased demand for alternate energy sources will require a stronger grid. At the same time, ongoing infrastructure development and maintenance requirements call for 10-to-15-year projects such as airport construction and building and improving the domestic rail system."
For Curry Supply Company, technology impacts every facet of the company's operations. One area where technology has played a vital role in communications.
"Customer expectations have ramped up," said Ritchey. "The nature of the business calls for constant access and immediate response. Communications technology provides the ability of real-time personal contact regardless of the hour or immediate automated response when appropriate."
Keeping up with training technology also is a priority for Curry Supply; staying on top of it is necessary to attract and keep top employees.
"Technology is playing a growing role in attracting new workers to the trades," he said. "Virtual reality is already being employed in the training and certification process. With VR, an individual can learn and hone a skill like welding in a safe and rewarding environment. The upcoming generation of workers is already adept at video games, and VR training provides a natural progression."
Ritchey also sees equipment continuing to evolve.
"With advances in engineering, design, and increased battery life, electronic vehicles and machines are becoming more mainstream. We plan on being active participants, and Curry Supply Company will debut a new EV at ConExpo in March."
With a firm foundation centered around controlled growth, a proactive and progressive eye to the future and a more than capable group of hands and minds, Curry Supply is primed for the next 90 years of rapid growth. CEG