January 1, 2016 will be a big day in the history of Stellar Industries, Inc. On that day, we will officially christen the former Kiefer Manufacturing facility in Kanawha as Stellar Industries – Kanawha. Not only will we be adding a great factory to produce our Stellar-branded products, but we will be welcoming a large number of former Kiefer employees to join the Stellar Industries, Inc. team.
Stellar Industries, Inc. finalized our purchase of the assets of the former Kiefer Built, LLC in March of 2011. Over the nearly five years of Stellar ownership, many changes were implemented at the Kiefer facilities in both Kanawha and in Sneedville, TN. Unfortunately, the substantial investments in new production equipment, designs, and people could not save the legendary Kiefer line of trailers. In the last year, it became evident that success in the design and building of cranes, hooklifts, and service bodies does not automatically translate into success in the trailer industry. The decision was made to close the Sneedville facility and exit the horse and livestock trailer business.
But that is not the end of this story. In Sneedville, Kiefer is an important employer. With the help of the Hancock County Mayor, Thomas Harrison, and a successful local businessman, David Greene, a proposal was made to Stellar to purchase the assets of the discontinued horse and livestock trailer lines and assume the factory in Sneedville. We will close on the sale of these assets to the Greene family on 12/31/2015.
Kiefer Built was founded by an entrepreneur, Arden Kiefer, in the early 1970s. Under Arden’s daily presence and stewardship, his company grew quickly and flourished. His untimely death in the 1990s lead to the company changing ownership numerous times over the next 20 years. With the purchase of the horse and livestock lines by the Greene family, ownership is getting back into the hands of a true entrepreneur that will be able to devote full attention to rebuilding the storied Kiefer trailer name. All of us at Stellar Industries, Inc. wish our former co-workers in Sneedville and the Greene family many successes as they take control of the Kiefer line of trailers.