Outdoor Retail World Standout: Vintage Overland Teardrop Trailer
A “sign of freedom” is how one potential customer described Vintage Overland’s teardrop trailers, after viewing a Bloomberg News television segment featuring the Grand Junction business.
“That’s who we’re appealing to — people who want to get away from their hectic lives. It’s a means to get out and away,” says Britton Purser, who co-owns the custom-built-trailer business with his wife, Ami. “It’s for people who want to take advantage of the Colorado lifestyle.”
It didn’t take long for the company, which was founded three years ago, to catch the attention of the outdoor industry. One of their teardrop trailers, called caravans, is being displayed in Denver this month at the largest outdoor recreation expo in the country — the Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show. A caravan was also on display this winter at Denver’s Sportsmen’s Expo. Another teardrop trailer has been on exhibit for months at the Denver REI store.
Luis Benitez, director of Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office in Denver, cites the trailers’ incredible craftsmanship as a factor for the company’s recognition as one of 12 finalists (out of 125 companies) for the Wright Award in 2016. The award recognizes innovation in the outdoor and lifestyle industries.
Britton built his first two trailers in 2013 — one for his personal use, and another with the idea of producing high-quality trailers with carefully chosen accessories to make it easy to pick up and go. He thought he might sell one or two that first year, but soon had 18 orders. He sold twenty the following year, and by 2017 had completed his 54th caravan.
Britton’s brother Cullen is also a master craftsman. He and his crew build the trailers at his Fruita shop, leaving Britton and Ami with more time to focus on finding the perfect accessories to go with the caravan.
“We’re developing our own kit bags with camp chairs and awnings,” Britton says. They’re also searching worldwide for specialty items that fit the lifestyle, including quality wool blankets from Ukraine and beautiful porcelain ware from an old family business in Poland. Accessories will be available for purchase online by early 2018 at vintageoverland.com.
The trailers are high-end, “more like an heirloom variety,” in their overall design, high-quality materials, and off-road capabilities, Britton says. Several local businesses — All Metals Welding, Pro Powder Coating, Pro Tire and Alignment, Bookcliff Field Service, and Sign Smith — have added their skills to the caravans’ fine construction.
Britton credits another local entity, the Grand Junction Business Incubator Center, with providing valuable advice and counseling while they were starting their business. The Incubator also assisted in helping the couple secure a small business loan.
Locals can view Vintage Overland’s 4-by-8-foot Great Escape model at Over the Edge Sports in Fruita. The company also makes two different 5-by-8-foot caravans, the T.E. Lawrence and the Big Fish. Britton is currently designing two new models — the Tent Killer, intended for the international market, and a “tiny teardrop” trailer for pulling behind a bicycle.
The teardrop trailer has made camping much easier for the Pursers and their two young children. “For me, personally, I Iove not being in a tent anymore,” Ami says. “It’s nice to have an actual bed. The caravan is simple — you’re still in nature, but the bed is already in and ready to go. There’s less prep work.” :