by Ceslie Armstrong
Longevity, authenticity and the vision to progress and constantly innovate define the generations of the Shiner, Texas-based family who founded Kaspar Companies in 1898. Kaspar Companies added Ranch Hand Truck Accessories to their portfolio of companies in 2000. The luxury brand of truck accessories is truly a perfect fit considering the original product line conceived by founder August Kaspar. Re-inventing discarded smooth wire into baskets for gathering corn husks was the first product this farmer/rancher turned entrepreneur would innovate. Creating what may seem now as obvious useful tools necessary for everyday life in south Texas is the foundation on which five generations of Kaspar’s have grown their business. From wire garment hangers to shopping carts and newspaper racks, all things metal continued to improve their customer’s lives while creating a company based on integrity, service and reliability—all things the very loyal Ranch Hand Truck Accessories customer demands and enjoys.
According to General Manager Greg Chumchal, the major differentiator between Ranch Hand Truck Accessories and other companies is the burning desire to design and manufacture the best truck accessories in the industry and provide superior service to the valued customer.
“It starts with the design from our engineering department. The style lines of the product to the strength of the product are all mandatory requirements. The grille guard and front bumper design includes our custom punch grille insert that compliments the truck’s grille,” continues Chumchal. A lot of competitors have one generic style for every make and model out there. We build our product to match and compliment your truck better.”
Texas Hill Country-based rancher, business owner and competitive Cowboy Mounted Shooter Carl Keller is a good example of that loyal Ranch Hand customer: “I was headed to Las Vegas for the national championship Cowboy Mounted Shooters competition and bought a new truck. At the last minute I decided I needed an auxiliary fuel tank and tool box before I hit the road. I went to several places to make this happen on the fly, and only Ranch Hand Truckfitters stepped up and agreed to get it done,” says Keller. “They took care of me in one day, and everything was done professionally and on time. I always count on Ranch Hand for safety and customer service.”
It is no wonder that the Ranch Hand customer-base includes a wide profile of ranchers, college students, moms, farmers, professional Rodeo stars and anyone who sets safety, durability and look as a priority on their SUVs and trucks. The number one source for accessories since 1986 has more than 280 employees who process over 5,000 pounds of steel each day.
Ranch Hand National Sales Manager Scott McClaugherty believes that it is really the attention to detail that makes Ranch Hand accessories luxury products, they are proudly made in the USA at the company’s two manufacturing facilities in Shiner and Beeville, Texas.
“We already had a lot of engineers on staff at Kaspar Companies when we bought Ranch Hand. We began to expand what Ranch Hand was currently doing in the market, and we just keep expanding and improving it every year as we go. That includes continuing to design and innovate,” says McClaugherty.
Greg Chumchal adds, “Every three to four years, the automotive companies come out with a new body style, and we redesign our product and build new tooling accordingly. The biggest challenges right now on the new designs are all the sensors,” continues Chumchal. “With the technology package that goes on the vehicles, including sensors, our engineering team still has to create a design and manufacture a product that looks good and functions great.”
According to McClaugherty, most customers begin with a grille guard or back bumper purchase, and then “the snowball effect” begins. “When they come to one of our eight Ranch Hand Truckfitter stores (Texas, Oklahoma or Colorado) and see all of the other products and services that we have, they will add wheels and tires, or a leveling kit or a spray-in bedliner,” says McClaugherty. “And for our fleet business, it may be a tool box, flat bed, drop gate, service body or front bumper replacement. Then we continue to service our customers for years.”
The truck outfitter customer has been expanding over recent years to include men and women of all ages. According to Chumchal, “It started out with our customer being the person that really wanted to use the grille guard for protection, going through bump gates and running up and down the back roads in the Hill Country. That’s still a huge market for us. We’ve also seen a little bit of a shift to people wanting that style—the rugged, outdoor style truck. We have seen the market change over the last 10 years; it’s becoming more people who want to add a grille guard, not only to their truck, but to their SUVs as well. The truck is also becoming more of a family vehicle than it was in the past. The truck market really expanded when they started coming out with the four-door trucks,” says Chumchal.
The long traditions of serving one’s community and pride as a native Texan that began with patriarch August Kaspar continue today throughout the Kaspar Companies and Ranch Hand Truck Accessories. Both family-men Chumchal and McClaugherty beam with pride when talking about the company’s support of the 4-H and FFA in Shiner and Beeville, Texas and other communities; Rodeos (including the National Day of the American Cowboy celebrated in Bandera, Texas); the Witte Museum Wild Game Dinner (in its 44th year in San Antonio, Texas); many Chambers of Commerce and other community support and involvement.
“We enjoy being involved with our customers’ communities. It’s a great way to give back and support them,” states Chumchal. According to Scott McClaugherty, “We’re not just looking for a sale. We’re looking to build long-term relationships with our customers.”
It is the company’s philosophy of relationship-building that is truly making Ranch Hand a lifestyle brand and its Ranch Hand Truckfitter stores a shopping destination for truck and SUV accessories and so much more. Stylishly authentic loyalists purchase a wide variety of lifestyle products that range from sunglasses to apparel to coolers to deer blinds and beyond.
Both McClaugherty and Chumchal have experienced the brand equity that being a Kaspar Company brings to the market and are very clear about the “value and credibility of the history of the Company.”
“We have 100+ years of history here. We’re definitely not a start-up company,” grins McClaugherty, “At Kaspar (and Ranch Hand) family always comes first. We have many employees who have been with us for more than 30 years, and we are very proud of that.”
Pride and longevity are important to the Ranch Hand staff. San Antonio top Country D.J. Randy Carroll of KJ-97 sums it up best, “Ranch Hand is a Texas tradition. The quality of the products they manufacture make me proud they are from Texas.”
Ranch Hand products can be found at many dealers throughout the United States. You can visit www.ranchhand.com to find a dealer near you or visit one of the Ranch Hand Truckfitter stores located in Boerne, 2 in San Antonio, Cedar Park (North Austin), Houston, Irving, Oklahoma City, or Colorado Springs, CO.