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Lethbridge trailer manufacturer expanding its southern Alberta operation

Southland Trailer Corp. will expand operations in the Lethbridge area, doubling its production and creating 250 jobs.

$2M provincial investment helps Southland Trailer Corp. create 250 new jobs

Interior of Southland Trailer Corp.'s manufacturing plant in Lethbridge, Alta. On Tuesday, the company announced it is expanding operations. (Government of Alberta)

A Lethbridge-area trailer manufacturer says it is keeping its expansion plans in southern Alberta thanks to a $2-million investment from the provincial government's rural growth fund.

Southland Trailer Corp. will expand operations in Lethbridge, doubling its production and creating 250 jobs.

General manager Ryan Sailer said the company had looked around at other provinces and outside of Canada.

But he said the support of Alberta's Investment and Growth Fund influenced the decision to keep the company's growth plans in southern Alberta.

"It means keeping strong manufacturing jobs here in Alberta and reinforcing manufacturing as the backbone to the southern Alberta economy," Sailer told reporters Tuesday.

"This expansion allows us to vertically integrate our supply chain further, resulting in more streamlined operations, more employment within southern Alberta and ultimately more dollars going to the Alberta economy versus purchasing abroad and having those dollars leave the province." 

Family-owned Southland Trailer was founded in 1980 and employs 380 people. It is the largest trailer manufacturing company in Canada, according to the firm.

The province has committed $15 million annually to attract investments to the province though the Investment and Growth Fund, with $5 million dedicated to investments outside Alberta's major urban centres.

Jason Schneider, director of Rural Municipalities of Alberta, an independent association made up of the province's 69 counties and municipal districts, called the news an example of how businesses outside the metropolitan areas are taking advantage of their opportunities and expanding.

"And it's a great example of how Albertans are creating solutions for Alberta," he said at the news conference.

"The partnerships that businesses, rural municipalities and the provincial government are creating today are going to be paying dividends for many generations to come."

With files from Rick Donkers

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