Canton man plans to manufacture truck bed extensions in NNY
By Kyle R. Hayes
Barry C. Whiteford and Craig S. Basford want the Cari-Mor Truck Bed Extension and Cargo Carrier to be the next big invention. Not only the next big product in the automotive aftermarket but the next manufacturer to bring business into St. Lawrence County.
Mr. Whiteford is the inventor of Cari-Mor and a Canton native. His product is an automotive accessory that attaches a platform to a vehicle’s receiver hitch that can be raised or lowered to give extra room to carry things like ATVs or motorcycles on trucks with beds that fall just short. The product may also be attached to an SUV or RV as an exterior cargo carrier.
Mr. Basford is Cari-Mor’s marketing director. Having met Mr. Whiteford through Mr. Basford’s local advertising firm, NNY Marketplace, Canton, he committed to a two-year contract as marketing director, developing a marketing and advertising strategy as well as advertising content and website design.
“Our product has the ability to change depth, height and pitch, all with one universal lower support unit to create a level plane along a truck’s tailgate,” Mr. Basford said, describing the company’s patented extension technology.
The idea for Cari-Mor came from a conversation between Mr. Whiteford, a career welder, and a friend who had asked him to build a trailer so he could travel with his two ATVs. Mr. Whiteford realized the inconvenience associated with towing a trailer behind a truck when only a few feet of extra space was needed to accommodate the two ATVs. Mr. Whiteford decided to create that extra few feet of space. He designed his first prototype in 1997.
Fifteen years later, the Cari-Mor product is gaining serious traction.
“We are currently looking at contract manufacturers in Auburn and Georgia while also working with local entities here in St. Lawrence County to find space to do our own manufacturing when we get to that point,” Mr. Basford said.
The contract manufacturers would get the ball rolling with production of truck bed extenders so Cari-Mor can begin to enter the retail market. Once space is found and machinery is brought into St. Lawrence County, Mr. Basford said that Northern New York would be the center for most operations. Initial manufacturing jobs would be less than 10, Mr. Basford said.
“We are looking at space in Massena,” Mr. Basford said. “We would be bringing robotic manufacturing into St. Lawrence County, which this area has never seen before. It’s a new level of manufacturing that would benefit our business and bring something totally new to this area.”
Mr. Basford commends the work of the St. Lawrence Industrial Development Agency, Canton Small Business Development Center and NBT Bank in Canton, with which Cari-Mor received funding for the project, for promoting the business, providing counsel and aiding in finding manufacturing space and additional cash.