A.R.E. Accessories Tour
Bed Heads for Work or Play
Little did Sal Gatti know when he starting making wood-framed truck caps out of his garage in 1969 that he and partners Jonas Yoder and Aden Miller were building the foundation for a multimillion-dollar business and an industry-leading brand in the truck cap and fiberglass tonneau cover market. Today, A.R.E. Accessories, a THI Corporation company headquartered in Massillon, Ohio, employs 670 people who serve thousands of customers a year through 675 authorized retailers in North America.
In the late ’80s, when Sal’s son Ralph took over, the company began developing fiberglass truck caps and tonneau covers, along with a line of products focused on the needs of commercial users. As the demand for A.R.E.’s high-quality, work-focused products grew, the company added a separate facility in 1995 dedicated to producing commercial products, and A.R.E. currently offers a variety of commercial-use caps and tonneau covers for most fullsize, midsize, and compact trucks on the market today.
“The cap and tonneau business is growing as people are looking to store and protect items and customers want trucks that are more stylish,” explains A.R.E.’s marketing manager Andy Clutter. “They want functional caps that make them more efficient on the job.” Customers today can customize their truck caps with a variety of useful options, like LED rope lighting, a CargoGlide bed slide system, locking drawers, and durable LINE-X coatings.
We took a tour of the two ISO-9001:2008–certified A.R.E. facilities in Ohio to see the wide variety of products being produced and to watch the building of tonneau covers, truck caps, and other offerings in both the main manufacturing facility in Massillon and the Deluxe Commercial Unit (DCU) plant located in nearby Mount Eaton, Ohio, in the heart of Amish country.
A.R.E. has increased its emphasis on delivering business-focused commercial product offerings to meet the needs of specific industries, such as pest control, construction, and the oil industry. One example of the company’s fleet and commercial emphasis is the industrial-strength Diamond Edition Deluxe Commercial Unit (DCU). The newest member of A.R.E.’s complete line of work-ready truck caps, the Diamond Edition DCU is constructed with distinctive and durable .063 diamond-plated aluminum and a rugged, fully welded aluminum frame for years of reliable service. All DCU doors feature automotive-quality BOLT lock cylinders in folding T-handles for added security, as well as Suspa gas props on all doors. The Diamond Edition DCU—and all A.R.E. DCUs and truck caps—can be outfitted to fit specific needs and make any job easier with a selection of more than 200 options, including a variety of door and window configurations, toolboxes, custom ladder racks, interior fabric liners, side panels, and overall cap heights. In addition, A.R.E. can custom-build DCUs to exact specifications, often in less than 14 days.
Focusing on the principles of maximum efficiency, the company provides cargo management solutions to equip pickup trucks to be efficient work vehicles and responds to the needs of both independent contractors and commercial fleets with functional, customizable options to outfit all of today’s popular light trucks. “Pickups are able to provide the same storage and carrying capacity as larger, less fuel-efficient vehicles while being less expensive to own and maintain,” offers Jose Reyna, sales manager for A.R.E.’s commercial/fleet division. “Smaller trucks are a good option if you’re looking to keep functionality but reduce fleet costs.”
Another serviceable way to outfit a truck for work is with A.R.E.’s functional 3DL Series fiberglass tonneau cover, which is designed to turn the bed of a light truck into a secure and weatherproof storage area to keep equipment out of sight and protected. This series is a durable worktop solution that features two palm-handled side doors for convenient access; the entire cover opens effortlessly from the rear of the truck with a uniquely hinged lift assist system.
With A.R.E.’s extensive selection of truck caps, tonneau covers, commercial solutions, and a wide range of options, Andy notes that “99.5 percent of builds are custom caps, with special combinations of options, including windows, lighting, folding shelves made from heavy-duty aluminum, and 15 toolbox configurations and rack options from Kargo Master, Prime Design, and Jet Racks.” A.R.E. dealers are well-versed in helping customers decide which components and configurations will best suit their needs, and the A.R.E. website offers a build-your-own feature that allows customers to create the optimum truck cap or tonneau cover.
Forty-six years after a great idea took root in a garage in Ohio’s Amish country, A.R.E. continues to be an innovative leader providing useful, high-quality solutions to help businesses of all sizes outfit their trucks for work.
The Site Commander fiberglass commercial truck cap is available for ’09-and-newer Ford F-150 longbed pickup trucks to provide efficient and durable storage and organization for commercial use. The composite construction offers more structural strength with less weight, and oversize side and rear doors allow for easy loading and unloading of fullsize plywood and drywall. The truck cap comes standard with bright interior rope LED lighting and a reinforced roof capable of accommodating most brands of commercial ladder racks. In addition, BOLT one-key lock technology offers added convenience by permanently programming the locks to work with the truck’s ignition key, eliminating the need for extra keys. The addition of an optional CargoGlide sliding cargo tray allows for easy access to the entire truck bed. Manufactured for quality and visual appeal, the aerodynamic Site Commander features a cored roof and doors for increased strength and stiffness. The front and rear sections of the truck cap are model specific to provide a more custom look.
The most popular A.R.E. fiberglass tonneau, LSII, is a custom-fitted fiberglass cover with an easy-to-open Lift Assist System, reinforced roof, carpeted interior, patented palm handle with automotive-grade lock system, and slam latch system that allows the cover to be closed and locked in one motion. The LSII Series gives technicians and supervisors who live in gated communities with strict commercial vehicle restrictions the ability to take their work trucks home.
The 3DL Series is a work-ready fiberglass tonneau cover featuring two palm-handled side doors for convenient access to the truck bed. The entire cover opens easily from the rear of the truck with a uniquely hinged lift assist system. The cover adds 4 extra inches of storage room above the bedrail and excellent rear visibility from the cab of the truck.
A.R.E. Accessories, LLCMassillon, OH 44648