By Bob Miller, NTEA Director of Outreach
This article was published in the May 2018 edition of NTEA News.
NTEA recently visited Waldoch Crafts Inc., a Distributor member in Forest Lake, Minnesota.
On a typical day in the early 1970s, Donald Waldoch could be found in his family’s garage testing his woodworking skills. In 1972, a doctor brought him an interesting request: Would he be willing to custom-build cabinets for the inside of a van the doctor was driving to South America?
Don took on the challenge, and a few weeks later, the modern-day conversion van was born, along with an innovative new business that specialized in family-oriented van designs. He forged a strategic relationship with Ford Motor Company, and with Waldoch vans flying off the lots at Ford drive-away celebrations, it wasn’t long before his company moved out of the garage and into a larger production facility — creating hundreds of quality jobs.
His idea caught on, and by the mid-1990s, Waldoch was competing with more than 150 van conversion businesses throughout the country. During the 1980s and 1990s, Waldoch maintained a top 10 best sales and quality position with Ford and GM due to the quality and craftsmanship of its products.
While the conversion van boom ended by the early 2000s, Waldoch’s focus on product and customer service excellence enabled it to be one of only 10 such companies left in the marketplace. The business currently custom-builds luxury vans on two platforms — Ram ProMaster and Ford Transit — with a variety of selections to suit every customer. Today, the luxury van is finding its way back, entering a whole new segment of family and corporate travel for those who don’t want to fly.
The company has taken advantage of the pickup truck market, as well — offering numerous options for off-road, sports and 4X4 enthusiasts, including wheels and tires, special lighting, interiors and safety equipment. The business can also trick out your Ford Mustang.
Waldoch is located on 7 acres, with two buildings totaling 45,000 square feet and 35 employees. The company has been an NTEA member since 2007 and is part of the Association’s Member Verification Program, which recognizes eligible companies in the work truck industry for outstanding business practices and successful implementation of quality standards.
Ram ProMaster luxury conversion van with Galaxy design by Waldoch.
For more information, visit waldoch.com, call 800-328-9259 or stop by 13821 Lake Drive NE in Forest Lake.