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Construction Equipment Guide – October, 2007


Hale Trailer Brake & Wheel Acquires Atlantic Trailer

Issue: Northeast Edition
Publication Date: October 3, 2007

Dave Tomasello, Barry Hale, Bill Fryer

The famous commercial in which a person exclaims that his peanut butter got mixed in with some chocolate and then realizes that together they create a great product is indelibly stored in consumers’ memories. With very different products, the recent Hale Trailer Brake & Wheel acquisition of Atlantic Trailer stands to provide the construction industry with a similar perfect complement.

Hale Trailer Brake & Wheel Inc. has acquired certain assets of Atlantic Trailer & Equipment Sales Inc. in Sewell, N.J.

In connection with the acquisition, the owner of Atlantic Trailer, Bill Fryer, and two sales representatives, Dave Diano and Marc Staley, have joined the sales team at Hale Trailer’s Voorhees, N.J., branch.

“This acquisition joins two great sales organizations which will allow Hale Trailer to better serve our customers,” said Hale Trailer President Barry Hale.

Hale Trailer is one of the largest independent full-service trailer dealerships with 12 East Coast branches from Maine to Florida. The company sells and rents a full line of semi-trailers including vans, flats, walking floors, dumps, reefers, tanks, lowboys and tag-a-longs. The company maintains a $45 million inventory of new and used trailers, a trailer rental fleet of more than 10,000 units and a $6 million inventory of aftermarket parts. Hale Trailer employs approximately 280 people.

Atlantic Trailer has served the specialized platform, rollback and lowboy trailer market selling new and used specialized trailers since 1985.

“We have a huge product list, a broad spectrum of products and services. Though not all is pertinent to the construction industry, many may need a storage trailer on the job site or an equipment trailer or a field office. We do all of those things. We did not do the specialized or the yellow iron, if you will, particularly well. We would have been novices. But Bill Fryer is Phd. material in this area and he will help us combine the two markets,” said Barry Hale, president of Hale Trailer.

Over the past 22 years Fryer has built Atlantic Trailer into a leading distributor of new and used specialized trailers. Atlantic has been the number one dealer for Talbert and a leading dealer for Fontaine, Landoll and several other manufacturers. Prior to starting Atlantic, Fryer worked in the heavy haul industry with Dewey Blanton Trucking and South Jersey Trailer, the predecessor to Atlantic.

“I am looking forward to working with one of the most respected and successful trailer dealerships in the country and to be able to offer our customers one-stop shopping for all their trailer needs,” said Fryer.

The deal was in the making for the past six months. “Bill [Fryer] called me and we agreed in principle to doing something almost immediately,” said Hale.

Fryer approached Hale because he had begun to feel he was losing touch with what inspired him to get into business in the first place.

“I had five people on staff but most of the administrative tasks flowed back through my office and was taking too much of my time”, said Fryer. “The thing that got me into this business was dealing with the customers and trailers, and I was beginning to lose that connection, so I either had to grow bigger by adding more people or join an organization like Hale that already has an administrative support group.”

“I didn’t really know Barry [Hale]. We were competitors and met at dealer meetings, so there was very little spoken. But after I sat down with Barry and we realized that we shared much of the same “customer first” business philosophy everything made sense,” continued Fryer, chuckling.

For Hale, the deal with Atlantic Trailer made perfect sense from a business perspective.

“The cute response is that we acquired Atlantic Trailer’s assets because he was kicking our rear in the construction area, and this made sense,” he said. “So through this deal, we have absolutely rounded out our product offerings to better serve our customers.”

“Atlantic didn’t have service and didn’t sell parts the way we would have liked,” said Fryer. “By joining together, our customers have immediate access to Hale’s service and parts capabilities.”

“Customers can go to Hale’s Web site and search for the parts they need and order them online,” remarked Dave Tomasello, Hale’s executive vice president. Bill and his salesmen now have the inventory, information technology, customer service and administrative resources of a larger organization to help them serve the customer.”

Fryer’s vast experience in the construction industry is key, according to Hale.

“From the competition side, my background is vans, flatbeds and refuse equipment,” said Hale. “Bill’s background was in the specialized equipment. We had developed that business over the years, but not to the level of expertise that Bill and his staff brings us. So I believe that if you had a Hall of Fame in the specialized equipment industry, Bill would be in the first inductee class.”

Staying onboard with Hale Trailer will be Dave Diano, who began his career in trailer sales with Atlantic in 1989 and became sales manager in 1998, and Marc Staley, who started as a sales representative with Atlantic in 2002.

Fryer is both pleased and optimistic with his company joining forces with Hale Trailer.

“What we do [Atlantic Trailer] is complete the area that they [Hale Trailer] didn’t have. These are two pretty successful dealerships. We want everybody to know that we’re together and what we offer,” said Fryer.

“What I want your readers to know is, a lot [of] positive [things have] resulted from this acquisition. In fact, we are bigger, better and will serve your needs with the same personal service that we gave before,” said Fryer.