At Edmond-based Clubhouse Trailers, owners Drew Taylor and Jeff Hadley spend six to nine months developing the perfect band trailer for each of their clients. More than just a way to transport high school band equipment to football games and marching competitions, these custom-designed band trailers are a reflection of both the band and the community.
“When that trailer comes around the corner into that high school parking lot or stadium for the first time, it is an awesome feeling,” Taylor said. “These trailers transform communities.”
Taylor says creating the ideal band trailer starts with “having a great conversation with that band director.” Only by understanding the goals and needs of the school and community can they tailor the trailer for each client. The company begins by finding a gently used moving van, which they then refurbish by sandblasting and hand sanding it before applying a color digitally printed vinyl wrap created by their graphic design team.
Both men know firsthand the importance of a good band trailer, as both had children in the band program at Edmond Memorial High School. In fact, Clubhouse Trailers started when the school’s band director asked them to help her get a new band trailer, a two-year process Tyler describes as a “pretty slow snowball that has grown into a pretty big snowball.” The pair spent nine months building that first trailer, nicknamed Bulldog One. As part of their research, they toured band trailers all over the country and talked to band directors, band parents, booster organizations and trailer drivers about why they liked their current trailers and what they might have done differently.
“We agonized over every detail, we sat in an empty trailer with a whiteboard coming up with new and creative ideas to problems that nobody had solved before,” Tyler said. “We didn’t rush the process, and that’s still one of the hallmarks that we have today, is constantly innovating, constantly looking at what we do very differently, and not rushing it, because we won’t sacrifice quality for speed.”
Tyler says that both he and Hadley are entrepreneurial by nature, but starting a business of their own did pose some challenges, especially since they were venturing into uncharted territory.
“We were kind of shocked that nobody had already come up with a better way, that we were going to be the ones to come up with a better way,” Tyler said.
Since its founding in 2010, the company has grown from doing just a few trailers a year to an expected 45 or so this year. They’ve created trailers for high school and college marching bands across the United States and also moved into a new facility at the end of 2018. Tyler attributes their success to their unique insight into the needs of school band programs.
“We sell a solution to a problem,” Tyler said.
Both men took early retirement to focus on the business full-time, and Tyler says while they’re excited about the company’s growth, they don’t want to grow so large that they can’t play a hands-on role.
“Our hearts skip a beat every time a project leaves the clubhouse, and I know it is hyperbole, but they are very much like our children,” Tyler said.
For more information, visit www.clubhousetrailers.com.