Truss Craft Opens in Cheyenne Business Parkway

Dakota Craft, Inc., a fast-growing $4 million-per-year manufacturer of structural floor and roof trusses based in Rapid City, South Dakota, has constructed a new 25,000 square foot manufacturing plant in the Cheyenne Business Parkway.

The Cheyenne expansion is called Truss Craft and began producing metal-plate-connected trusses in April 1999 with a work force of about 10 manufacturing and delivery positions and with the prospect of adding additional positions quickly.

Dakota Craft President Alan Thornburg said the Cheyenne facility is being designed to provide quicker service to Wyoming and Colorado Front range construction sites and will more than double Dakota Craft’s current annual production capacity of more than 40,000 residential and commercial roof and floor trusses.

“A good share of our business now is shipping into the Denver market, and it is increased each year to the point where we either had to expand the plant in Rapid or do something else, and it made a lot more sense to get closer to that market,” Thornburg said. “So we’re coming to Cheyenne with an established market already in place.”

Cheyenne LEADS President Jack Crews welcomed Dakota Craft and its new spin-off Truss Craft to the Cheyenne Business Parkway. The business park, on Cheyenne’s southeast side, is owned and managed by LEADS, the economic development corporation for Cheyenne and Laramie county.

“We are really excited about having a quality, well-established, family-owned manufacturing business like Dakota Craft coming in to Cheyenne and Laramie County,” Crews said. “That’s exactly the kind of firms we’re targeting and would like to see more of here.”

Under Thornburg’s leadership, the 15-year old Dakota Craft has tripled its sales in the last seven years and needed to expand. Thornburg said the Cheyenne Business Parkway is well suited to his needs, particularly after looking at land in Colorado.

“Anything we looked at in Colorado was priced per square foot, and the land LEADS priced us was per acre, so that was a big factor,” he said. “Of course, the tax situation is quite a bit better in Wyoming than Colorado, and another big factor was that the utilities were already in to the lot line, and that was really helpful.”

Dakota Craft, founded in 1983 by Thornburg, manufactures both roof and floor trusses for both residential and commercial construction. The company serves a seven-state region that includes Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska and Montana as well as the Dakotas.It also is a regional distributor of Truss Joist MacMillan I-joist products.

“Our specialty is manufacturing trusses for complicated floor and roof systems,” Thornburg said. “It takes a lot of work up front before the trusses are ever built.”

In fact, Dakota Craft’s designers create three-dimensional models of buildings on their computers, then custom design each individual truss for the specific project than then manufacture the trusses.

Manufactured roof and floor trusses are more economical than framing at the construction site, Thornburg said. They also are more accurate and quickly installed and reduce job-site waste.

Site development on Truss Craft’s 12.4 acre site in the Business Parkway began November 3, 1998 and was operational in April, 1999.

With the expansion of Dakota Craft, LEADS currently has 584.6 acres immediately available in the parkway as a result of funding provided by the Progress and Prosperity Initiative.