Business

DiamondBack Truck Covers to break ground on larger location in Philipsburg

DiamondBack Truck Covers, one of the Inc. 5000 fastest growing companies in the past three years, plans to break ground on a 38,000-square-foot facility on June 9 at the Moshannon Valley Regional Business Park.

Ethan Wendle, DiamondBack’s president and CEO, said the company is looking at completing the project and moving into the space by April.

Located at 354 Enterprise Drive in Philipsburg, the new building will offer a modern redesign and a more economical use of space for the growing company. DiamondBack Truck Covers is a leading local manufacturer and retailer in pickup truck bed covers.

“We have so much growth that’s coming,” Wendle said. “I think there might be a little extra space here, but we’d end up having product traveling down hallways and stuff. It’s not a huge amount of new square feet, but the 38,000 (square feet) will be laid out in such a way and be high enough that we’ll be able to vertically stack stuff that right now is taking up square footage space, as well as laying it out in a more efficient manner.”

The company’s current site at 200 Shadylane Drive is 26,000 square feet. Wendle and co-founder Matt Chverchko began with 3,000 square feet when they started the company in 2003.

DiamondBack, which began as a class project, now grosses more than $6 million annually.

“During the recession, we had our growth slow down considerably for several years as we pivoted,” Wendle said. “We were pursuing a distribution model and now we’re doing a lot of business direct to consumer. After we completed that since 2012, we’ve been on a ridiculous growth curve now.”

Wendle estimates the company is growing at a rate of about 22 to 23 percent per year. He credited the Moshannon Valley Economic Development Partnership as being a key resource for DiamondBack, especially in its nascent stages. Wendle and Chverchko originally chose Philipsburg for its proximity to State College and its low cost of living.

The pair needed a house with a two-car garage. They found one in town for $56,000, building the first dozen models within its confines.

“Our original 3,000 square feet cost us less in rent than my apartment that I was splitting five ways in college,” Wendle said.

The new location will have higher ceilings and more windows than the former site, he added.

Wendle, who left Penn State after his junior year to grow DiamondBack, went back to school in 2011. He received his civil engineering degree two years later. Now his company, which has 45 employees, has customers across the U.S. and Canada and does some international sales. He estimates 70 percent of DiamondBack’s business is now direct to consumers.

“We’ve seen manufacturing jobs leave the area,” Wendle said. “This has given us the opportunity to invest here.”

All of DiamondBack’s employees will be in attendance at the ceremony, which begins at 2 p.m. Representatives from U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson’s and state Rep. Scott Conklin’s offices will also attend along with Centre County Commissioners Mark Higgins, Steve Dershem and Michael Pipe. Besides Wendle, MVEDP Executive Director Stan LaFuria will speak at the groundbreaking.

Construction bids are set to come in Friday, Wendle said, with a decision slated by Tuesday. Chris Bohley, of Hughes Engineering in Clearfield, is the architectural engineer on the project. Wendle contracted GeoTech Engineering, located in Morrisdale, for the land development side. He said keeping the project as local as possible was important to the business.

“The expansion for us underscores building something that lasts and creating a company that’s going to be here for the foreseeable future,” Wendle said. “We see the building as the beginning of the next chapter.”

Roger Van Scyoc: 814-231-4698, @rogervanscy

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