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Semcor Manufacturing Announces Acquisition of Long-Time Fun House Builder, Owen Trailers

Owen Trailers has a long-standing reputation building portable Fun Houses and Dark rides
The Wacky Shack was one of the latest fun house themes that Owen Trailers introduced to the market.

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La Porte, IN based Semcor Manufacturing announced they have entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the assets of Owen Trailers, Inc.   According to Semcor, the sale insures Owen Trailers' legacy of manufacturing affordable, dynamic, eye-catching double deck fun houses, mirror mazes and dark rides for portable amusement operators will continue for decades to come.

“We're very committed to the vision of a stable and prosperous future for the mobile amusement industry,” said Scott Siefker, President of Semcor  “Even during the terrible pandemic year that we've all experienced in 2020, we're steadfast in our belief that expanding Semcor's offerings with Owen's equipment is the right path for us and for the customers we serve.”

While manufacturing portable attractions might seem out of step given Semcor's traditional role in building power generation and distribution equipment, it's a horizontal integration that makes a lot of sense to Semcor's affiliated management team.  “Owen Trailers' customer base is largely the same core group that Semcor Manufacturing has served for years”, said Jason Skurow, general manager at Semcor's affiliate, Showmen Supplies.  “We're broadening Semcor's product line while injecting vitality and cost savings into a well-loved brand.”

The integration will pose some initial challenges, especially in a year that has already presented some extraordinary difficulties.  “2020 has been a challenging year and we've had to reduce the size of our staff proportionally to the drop in amusement industry sales” observed Siefker.  “The Owen acquisition creates a huge amount of work for us everywhere;  administration, design & engineering and (eventually) production.  It will be tough to know how quickly to scale up staffing in a way that keeps pace with the expected recovery next year.”

Carnival owners like Tom and Mary Talley  are responding positively to the news of the acquisition. “Mary and I were excited for both Ross (Owen) and Scott (Siefker) when we heard the news.  We have a long history with both Owen Trailers and Showmen Supplies. We have purchased Semcor generators and distribution equipment since Scott and Mark started manufacturing.  Owen Trailers is a legendary brand that leads the industry in producing beautiful back-end rides and the Semcor brand definitely knows how to deliver unrivaled quality.  We truly think this is a perfect fit and we're excited to see what innovations Semcor can bring to the table!”, said Talley

Once the transaction closes, the existing Owen management team of Ross, Jeff and David Owen, will continue their support of the Owen Trailer brand as consultants to Semcor.  “Our family has a longstanding relationship with Semcor's leadership.  As we've gotten to know additional members of their team over the past year and seen how they do business, we're excited for the quality and innovation that Semcor can bring to the product line first established by my father nearly 75 years ago”, said Ross Owen.  Added Jeff Owen, "I am grateful to be included in the future of Owen Trailers product line and looking forward to becoming a member of the Semcor Mfg. team collaborating on product improvement and innovation”.

The Owen business will be spearheaded by Pat Wiseman, chief project manager for Semcor.  “We plan to shift production from their current location in Southern California to our existing facility near Chicago,” said Wiseman.  “Trucks have already begun rolling to move inventory and equipment and we expect to be in production by early spring”.

A Glass House is seen under construction at the Owen Trailers facility in California

The company plans on some initial product enhancements starting with the first trailers next year.  Wiseman, and John Schroeder, head of engineering, are already planning design changes that will include work on product updates such as hot dip galvanizing of structural elements, including the trailer itself, and theming updates for several of the most popular pieces.

Semcor also plans to integrate state-of-the-art LED lighting from Losi Ellettronica's “Fun LED” brand according to Siefker.  “Losi manufactures the highest quality, most exciting LEDs in the industry.  They're Italian made with Osram LED chips.  They also have a front pull out feature for easy maintenance and a proprietary “super strobing” SMD chip that's unlike anything else we've come across.  Everybody who sees these lights just loves them.”

Siefker can see some new product possibilities down the road for Owen Trailers.  “I think the Owen family has created some awesome fun houses, glass houses and dark rides over the years, but there are always opportunities for innovation and fresh ideas.  We started discussing a deal with Ross & Jeff back in 2019 and over the last 18 months I've become a lot more tuned in to different designs.  We are planning some new themes for existing models beginning in 2021-2022 and a little further into the future, we hope to introduce some new models into the product line.”

The Owen line, which until now only used brush painted fronts, will introduce options for vinyl wrap fronts as well, depending upon the customer's preference. “I think there's room for both styles and we can let the customer choose whichever style they prefer”, said Siefker.

Additional changes, at least in the short term, will likely be small, incremental improvements to the current designs that will be less visible on the surface but will improve the production process and generate some cost savings.  “We have some other ideas brewing; but we'll be a little cautious with how fast we move in this first year or two”, said Siefker.

Showmen Supplies and Semcor are long time IISF trade show exhibitors, and plan to have a large presence at the trade show in 2021, hoping the show will kickoff a strong 2021 season, and introduce customers old and new to their newly-acquired Owen Trailer products.

“We're excited for the next stage of our evolution with the integration of the Owen Trailer product line” said Siefker.  “Our team is confident that we'll find some of the same synergies with the fun houses that we've seen in other product lines; particularly with cost savings in the lighting, electrical and hydraulic systems.  We recognize that we have a lot to learn, but we're certain that we'll be able to continuing adding value and enhancing the customer experience.”

Owen Trailers, based in Riverside, California, is led by Ross Owen, a well-respected industry veteran with more than 50 years of experience building specialty trailers and attractions for the mobile amusement industry including popular attractions such as the Magic Maze, Cuckoo Haus, Surf Shack and others.

Semcor Manufacturing, based in La Porte, Indiana, is an affiliate of Showmen Supplies and other Siefker Group companies.  Semcor's business is primarily focused on packaging portable generators ranging from 100kW to 1,000 kW, as well as producing electrical distribution equipment for temporary power applications and specialty lighting for the amusement industry.
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