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For more than 40 years, Craftsmen Industries has been the market leader of design, engineering and fabrication of custom industrial mobile solutions, experiential marketing vehicles and large-format graphics. The company is known as the largest fabricator in the fair and festival realm and supports more than 200 employees with expertise across fields such as design and engineering, in-house graphics, electrical, plumbing, paint, G7 Master Printing, 3D fabrication, concession trailer design, bunkhouse design, ticket box design, Roll-O-Vend trailers and ticket kiosk construction. The team of craftspeople behind the scenes enjoy building from the ground up, utilizing and combining their talents with the latest technologies to create top-notch products. Craftsmen Industries has plants located in the St. Louis region as well as in Highland, Illinois.

In 2017, the company acquired the Shantz Manufacturing assets and in 2020, they acquired Chester Built Trailers. Subsequently, Craftsmen's facilities feature three different branches, but they are all tied together and viewed as being part of the same team, fitting under one umbrella.

According to Craftsmen Industries Owner, Mark Steele, Craftsmen, Shantz and Chester all have shared dedication to providing customers with the best-in-class product innovations and service.

“We are thrilled to now offer that threefold to our customers,” he shared after combining all the companies.

Adding the three businesses under one roof has allowed Craftsmen to fully invest in the outdoor amusement business industry and make a long-term investment in the company as well as the industry, with a goal of accommodating requests and bringing an unmatched level of satisfaction to customers as a one-stop-shop. The combination of all three businesses under one roof helps to bolster the selection of top-quality concession features and has proven to be an excellent model for customers. 

This blending of all three companies under one roof also offers more capacity with extensive manufacturing capabilities and outstanding printing and graphics services, providing amazing resources for the fair and festival markets. Another reason customers turn to the company is the fact that the warranties on products can all be found in one easy to access place. Having multiple manufacturing options under the Craftsmen Industry umbrella has continued to benefit everyone involved – the customers most of all, as the three-in-one factor also offers different price points and buyers don't have to feel uncomfortable when making purchasing decisions, since all their favorite products and designers are now under one cohesive company name.

The original founder, Joe Helmsing, and Steele have known each other for more than 20 years. Steele's two sons also work with the business. The original owners of Shantz Manufacturing and Chester Built Trailers, Mike Shantz and Clay Chester, are still involved with the management on their respective teams. Craftsmen Industries, Shantz Manufacturing and Chester Built Trailers have all been happy with the merger over the last several years, as the people behind the scenes share many of the same views and the joining under one name has opened up doors for all three businesses. Being able to sell products from all three companies at the same time, in one cohesive place, has continued to prove highly successful for all involved. 

When it comes to innovation, Craftsmen Industries strives to stay on top of the game.

“Something new we are excited about is the patented retractable wheel system,” shares Seth Steele, business development manager for the company. This wheel system, designed by Shantz, provides customers with a brick-and-mortar experience when they visit a concessions trailer that features the technology. The trailers provide the lowest counters in the industry and the finished product looks more like an actual building instead of a trailer.

“We are innovators in LED marquees and digital menu boards,” Steele adds. “We are integrating  more technology  than ever before into units, including security cameras and cradle points.” The company is also revealing a new LED sign design that wraps all the way around the trailer. This new look and technology will keep Craftsmen at the top of the industry. In addition to the LED signs and digital menu boards, the company is implementing new age technology that will increase traffic flow and increase sales.
He shares that the company has also been in talks to expand its footprint in Highland, Illinois as well as branching out and opening up West Coast operation opportunities.

Seth Steele says the team is looking forward to upcoming events, Gibtown in particular.

“We thoroughly enjoy going to Gibtown every year and getting to visit with everyone face to face and see them every year,” he says. On display in Gibtown will be Tufano Amusements with a 21' Chester trailer,  Allen Dennis Concessions  with a 19' Schantz trailer and  West Coast Amusements with a  21' Chester trailer.

The new designs and technology are paying dividends for Craftsmen, recent sales include trailers to Mississippi Delta Shows and Rochelle Waknitz of Midwest Rides.

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