Bumper Crop for Valley Chrome
Once an exclusive plating operation, the California company has transformed into one of the largest manufacturers of accessories for the automobile and trucking industry, selling about 50,000 bumpers per year.
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Ray Lucas looks over an empty lot behind his family’s manufacturing operation, Valley Chrome, in Clovis, California, and points to the barren two acres of land. “The new plating line will be built right there,” he says. “We will need it soon because we expect business to really take off over the next several years.”
Valley Chrome bought the lot adjacent to its existing plant in Clovis last year, signaling a remarkable comeback for a shop that 20 years ago was on the verge of bankruptcy.
Once an exclusive plating operation that catered to automobile bumpers, the company has transformed itself into one of the largest manufacturers of accessories for the automobile and trucking industry, selling about 50,000 bumpers per year at around $700 each.
“It’s a drop in the bucket to what we think the potential market is,” Ray says. “We’ve already invested several million dollars in fabricating equipment, and our customers want us to show them that we can do more.”
Visit the company website today and there is no mention of the finishing operation, or list of capabilities that is a hallmark to most plating operations. Instead, visitors will find photos and catalogues of accessories for trucks such as Freightliner, International, Kenworth, Peterbilt, Volvo and others.
Today, Valley Chrome makes the Wingmaster series of stainless truck accessories, fabricating and bending stainless and mild steel in its expansion facility, which includes more than 125 employees fulfilling orders from more than 1,000 dealers. “We are a job shop that has evolved,” Ray says. “We almost lost everything in the process, but we’ve moved from plating other people’s products to doing nothing but our own now.”