The History of Unique Truck Accessories
1992Unique Truck Accessories begins. Founded by Stanley Lake armed by an extensive background in the tool and die trade when he completed his apprenticeship in 1980. Lake's first company was Lagrange Tool & Engineering. At this company he took on projects such as manufacturing aviation brake shoes, scrap carbide separators, and fixtures for Midas Muffler. Also, Lake was awarded a patent in 1977 for the first height adjustable receiver hitch ball. He was no stranger to innovation and calculated risk taking.
1993Lake Fabricating d.b.a. Unique Truck Accessories was incorporated. Later that year Unique Truck Accessories “UTA” was moved to it’s current property in Sturgis, MI.
1996UTA began adding on which started with a new welding facility, the next addition was an offsite heated storage building.
UTA is named #93 on Entrepreneur Magazine’s Top 100 New U.S. Small Businesses.
1997UTA invents the first trailer tongue tool box on the market. Later in 2015 this box was improved to commercial quality for the construction industry.
2001UTA hired a seasoned Operations Manager, Greg Chamberlain. Greg recently departed another tool box and truck accessories manufacturer he ran for 10 years. He brought with him a specialized aluminum product he invented years earlier. This product boosted UTA’s sales significantly during a much needed period of economic unrest in the United states…the post 9/11 recession. This coupled with more innovation and operational changes helped UTA weather the storm.
2002With the additional leadership of Chamberlain, he and Lake decided it was time to invest in more CNC technology by adding their first CNC turret press. This allowed UTA’s production to be much more agile and efficient.
2003On the success of the first turret UTA hired an experienced programmer and add a second CNC turret press adding more efficiently.
2004Added on a raw materials warehouse to aid the ever increasing pressure on the production floor.
2005Invented an underbody tool box with a top drawer. This idea was conjured by the notion that there is wasted space in the top of an underbody box. The idea quickly gained attention of customers everywhere and would be one of brilliant inventions that would be later dubbed the BRUTE™ brand.
2006-2008UTA grew rapidly by innovation.
2009During one of the worst recessions and housing market collapse, Lake & Chamberlain needed a fresh plan. The decision was made to hire a new Sales & Marketing Manager. Chris Rosenberg, a 20 year veteran of the truck accessory aftermarket, joined the team noting that the innovations at UTA were a breath of fresh air. Soon after joining UTA we began planning our next steps. The new plan was to segment the company into 4 categories. The most significant change was to rebrand UTA’s commercial HD boxes to what is now the BRUTE™ brand. This was done to separate and showcase the top sider boxes known as “contractor” boxes. UTA was already known for drawer boxes and the new brand drew much attention to that. This part of the plan quickly drew the attention of warehouse distributors and internet retailers.
2011UTA began its first nationwide distribution by teaming with Meyer Distributing of Jasper Indiana. Meyer is the fastest growing WD in the United States, we are proud to be part of this growth. This changed how efficiently we could reach jobbers all over the country.
Another fortunate event was Grand West Enterprises of Saskatchewan agreed to be UTA’s National distribution arm for Canada. Grand West is one of the most respected WD’s in Canada and we are proud to be a supplier for them.
2012Introduced BRUTE™ HD heavy gauge tool boxes for HD vocational trucks.
In this same year we forged a strategic marketing partnership with renowned aftermarket truck accessory manufacturer, Westin Automotive of San Dimas, CA. This partnership made the BRUTE™ brand a household name A.K.A. Westin-BRUTE™. BRUTE™ commercial class cargo management equipment is now stocked at nearly 80% of warehouse distributors in North America.
2013Introduced aluminum flatbeds for pickups and HD vocational trucks.
2014Introduced extruded floor aluminum flatbeds for pickups and HD vocational trucks. This is when our flatbed business really took off and there was no looking back.
Thirteen year UTA veteran Greg Chamberlain is promoted from V.P. of Operations to President of Unique Truck Accessories. Chamberlain is a trusted, respected, and hard working leader of Unique.
2015Here we are and this is the year that it all came together for UTA.
New website was unveiled.
New 12’ CNC Accurpress Press Brake was added to the fab shop.
Introduced BRUTE BedSafe™ heavy roller drawer boxes for pickup beds.
Due to our explosive growth in flatbeds and BRUTE™ tool boxes we are adding on again. In June we will begin to erect a nearly 11,000 SF flatbed and welding facility on the property.
It’s an exciting time in our history and we are thankful for all of our loyal customers. Here we GROW again!
October 2015 - Completion of UTA's New 11,000 Sq Ft Addition to house flatbed manufacturing and additional welding capacity
2016Launched new product: Commercial Aluminum Folding Shelves for the box truck & step van industry. Innovative design quickly expanded into the fleet industry.
2017February-- Expanded our Bedsafe line to include industry first 60" & 72" deep models
2018May 2018 - Introduced a popular Black Texture Powdercoat Finish to all Toolboxes except Bedsafe. This finish compliments the truck trim on today's current truck models.
2019March 2019 - New Back Pack Size for Increased Storage - HPB8226, 62H/82L/24D, which allows the use of a standard 18"H Underbody to create an "L" pack.
Expanded Commercial Shelf Line to include a Cargo Van Rear Organizer 45W/38D/30H
Upgraded and replaced numerous welding machines to increase production New 10' CNC Accurpress press brake added to the Fabrication Dept
Expanded internal Marketing Dept to produce updated BRUTE literature, promotional displays, large toolbox display racks, countertop POP displays, outdoor banners, window decals, and apparel.
Expanded toolbox line to accommodate 5.5' to 8' bed sizes. New losiders, topsiders, and flatbed models offered.
2020January - March Released New Toolbox designs at WTS20 that incorporate BEDSAFE Roller Drawer technology: New LosiderSafe boxes and New FlatbedSafe box
New Backpack with Drawers - Backpack sectioned off into 3 compartments