PHILOMATH, Ore. -- Corvallis Tool Company makes systems and machinery, primarily for wood manufacturers.
Like so many other businesses, the recession was painful.
"We had about a two-year backlog canceled in about a week," explained CTC president John Holbert. "And that's roughly $50 million worth of work. And we went from 107 employees down to six."
To stay alive, the company veered into totally new territory: a dump truck that loads itself, like a garbage truck.
CTC took the dump truck to an agriculture expo, where a Washington man saw it, and saw it's potential. He contacted Corvallis Tool Company, asking the company to build a tractor small enough to fit between trees in tightly-planted orchards, based on similar ideas of the dump truck. The tractor was even deeper into uncharted territory for CTC.
"I decided for myself that we should spend the money, and we pretty much went all-in on this," said Holbert. So far, the company hedged it's bets on the machinery, and has made one Orchard Boss, to the tune of about $1.5 million in development.
So far, Holbert said 35 people are back on the payroll.
"Ir private small business doesn't fix the economy, it's not going to happen," said Holbert. He said eventually, the plan is to expand production of the tractor and dump truck.