Family-Owned Cargo Plus Offers Trailers, Mini Pontoons, Paddle Boats & More
The reasons Cargo Plus Sales and Service has remained a successful business for 20-plus years are crystal clear to Steve Riegsecker, the company’s owner.
“I’ve adapted with the times, which is what you have to do in business,” he says. “We’ve done well because of that. When things change, I change.”
Before launching his current Middlebury-based business, which specializes in a wide variety of trailers as well as a few specialty items like golf carts and mini pontoon boats, Riegsecker, a Northern Indiana native, ran a garden supply store. When competing stores began to crop up around him, he figured the time was right to switch professional gears and focus on trailers.
“When some of the big-box stores came around here, I was doing the garden center for a while and figured it was time to change it up, so I got into the trailer business,” he says.
If it’s a trailer you need, you’ll likely be able to find it at Cargo Plus — the company carries landscape, pontoon, utility, livestock, construction and enclosed trailers, as well as towing accessories like ball mounts, brake controls, wiring harnesses and much more. The business offers delivery of trailers for customers as well.
“We sell most any kind of trailer you need, other than RVs – we don’t carry those anymore,” Riegsecker adds. “I’d say our focus is more on special trailers you might need for certain things. ”
One major challenge Riegsecker has seen during his years in the trailer industry is staying ahead of sales trends with each passing year and knowing the types of products that the majority of customers will lean toward.
“The market changes a lot from year to year,” he says. “Right now, people are more price-conscious than I’ve seen in a while.”
The Cargo Plus location in Northern Indiana, and its proximity to the factories from which the company sources many of its products, has been an asset for the company according to Riegsecker.
“We’re in the trailer capital of the world around here, so you have a lot of places to buy from,” he says. “Freight is a big issue in the trailer business. Most of my suppliers are within 15 or 20 minutes of me, so that’s big for customer service and warranties — it’s all right here, close by. People tend to drive to this area to get a better deal because everything is so close together here for the trailer business.”
Riegsecker says utility trailers and pontoon trailers have been his big sellers in recent months, and despite the coronavirus pandemic, he says business is better than ever.
“We’ve had record sales. We can’t keep the pontoon and utility trailers in stock, and it’s been that way over the last few months,” he says. “I think since everybody’s been staying home and doing little jobs around the house, they’re buying a little utility trailer or a pontoon to go to the lake that they like. The only problem we have now is that we can’t get product in stock because things are selling so quickly.”
Riegsecker sells small pontoons ranging from approximately 13’ to 15’, and customers who need both a pontoon, and a trailer for hauling it around, can come to Cargo Plus for a one-stop shopping experience.
“Since we sell the little specialty items like the mini pontoons, that’s where the ‘Plus’ in the name comes from – it’s ‘Cargo’ for the trailers and ‘Plus’ for a little something else,” Riegsecker says.
You won’t find a large staff at Cargo Plus – the business is operated solely by Riegsecker and his grandson Aaron, who came on board in early 2019.
Riegsecker feels that his focus on customer service through the years, as a family-owned company, has been a major factor in his success from the beginning.
“Aaron has been helping me since he was a little tyke – ever since he could walk almost,” Riegsecker says. “We’re a family-owned business and it’s just my grandson and I, so we offer a personalized service. We get to know people on a personal basis. We’re doing more than $2M in sales now, as a small business. Bigger isn’t always better.”
Aaron agrees, reiterating Cargo Plus’s strong focus on serving each customer that walks in the door.
“We go above and beyond for our customers to make sure that they get exactly what they want,” he says. “It’s been fun working here, doing everything from picking up trailers from factories to seeing customers’ faces when they see they’ve got good quality and are happy.”
Cargo Plus Sales and Service is located at 511 South Main Street in Middlebury. For more information call 574-825-0900 or visit cargo-plus.com.