What it takes to be a leader – in the past, present and future
It wasn't long after the first pickup trucks hit the road that someone, somewhere wanted a cap to cover the cargo box. While the pickup truck bed was the ideal cargo-hauling vehicle, it left its contents unsecured and exposed to all the elements of weather. Truck owners who wanted to protect their cargo (and their trucks) began creating makeshift bed covers, often using wood and aluminum to provide a measure of shelter and security. Soon, hundreds of small shops all over the country were providing local customers with simple basic truck caps.
Back in the late 1960's a young man named John Collins saw the growing market for truck caps across the country. He also watched the recreational vehicle industry blossom in his local community of Elkhart, Indiana. John realized that the materials, manufacturing methods, and workforce that put together travel trailers and recreational vehicles could also be used to produce truck caps. With just a few thousand dollars start-up money, he founded LEER, and began production of truck caps bearing the LEER name.
The Story Behind the name LEER
John wanted a short, bold, memorable word to describe his company and its products. He landed on the word "LEER," liking the positive connotations it borrowed from Shakespeare's King Lear, and the well-known manufacturer of sleek, sophisticated private aircraft, Lear. The name LEER caught on quickly, and soon became the best-known brand in the truck cap and tonneau business.
John, and other forward-thinking truck cap manufacturers like him, realized that a large national market for truck caps was available to anyone who could bring a higher level of quality, consistency and functionality to the product. Through hard work, aggressive promotion, and high-quality products, LEER soon became an industry leader, and trucks by the tens of thousands carried the slogan "LEER - The King of Caps" across countless roads, highways and streets throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Fiberglass Changes Everything
Of course, along with success comes competition. In the formative years of the truck cap business, leading producers knew that their wood-and-aluminum creations had to advance in styling and quality. Fiberglass arose as the preferred material to meet the new demands for style - it was remarkably strong and lightweight; it could provide a mirror-smooth finish for automotive paints, and most importantly, it could express all the styling ideas that truck owners (and truck cap manufacturers) could imagine.
Collins and LEER moved into fiberglass production as soon as resources would allow. Soon LEER established an industry-wide reputation for leading-edge design. Often led by John Collins himself, the LEER Mold Shop broke new ground in truck cap styling, always moving the bar of design excellence higher and higher. What had been born "once upon a time" as boxy contraptions of two-by-fours and aluminum, truck caps quickly evolved into sophisticated accessories that followed the design and style lines of the trucks they fit.
Truck owners liked what they saw in the fiberglass caps of the 70's and 80's - but they always wanted more! More choices, more options, more styling, and more custom-design. Trucks became more and more popular, and the growth spawned thousands of businesses that catered to the truck accessory customers. More trucks, more retails outlets and more attention to design meant that LEER was poised for explosive growth. To speed product to market, LEER invested in a huge fleet of custom-outfitted trailers that could carry products across the U.S. and Canada. To shorten the distances and delivery times, LEER built regional plants in the West, Midwest, East and South.
Truck Caps Go Mainstream
What had started as a dream in the minds of men like John Collins was quickly maturing into one of the truck accessory industry's dominate product categories. More and more truck owners saw the clear benefits of adding protection and security to their pickup trucks. More and more truck owners realized that a well-styled fiberglass truck cap enhanced the styling and usefulness of their vehicle. Truck owners also realized that while a truck cap was protecting cargo, it was also protecting the truck itself - saving it from the damaging effects of snow, rain, leaves, sunshine and other hazards. Auto test authorities reported that truck caps added an aerodynamic element that actually improved truck gas mileage; people who would never have considered the purchase of a traditional pickup truck learned that a great-looking, inexpensive addition could give them a vehicle with capabilities that nothing else on the road could match. In short, truck caps became the single most cost-effective way to enhance the styling, value and usefulness of a pickup truck - and LEER led the way at every step.
As the value of truck caps and tonneaus grew, so did the value of the company that made LEER, the most popular brand. This attracted the interest of J. B. Poindexter & Co., a large U.S-based group of businesses concentrating primarily in automotive products. J. B. Poindexter purchased LEER, and then went on to expand its holdings in the truck cap and tonneau segment, forming the Truck Accessories Group, LLC to manage the production, distribution and sales of the products.
Today, one out of every five pickup trucks in the U.S. and Canada will wear some kind of truck cap or tonneau. Today's market offers caps in all styles and prices, in high-tech, high-style fiberglass, or durable aluminum. Manufactured in Woodland, California, Elkhart, Indiana, and Milton, Pennsylvania, LEER is still the name that dominates the industry. By delivering quality products that enhance the trucks they fit, through the industry's largest Distributor network, LEER stands head and shoulders above its competitors.
Today, as a part of the Truck Accessories Group LLC, LEER benefits from extensive engineering, design and mold-making resources, headquartered in Elkhart, Indiana. It offers its products through hundreds of independent Distributors located in every U.S. state and most Canadian Provinces. Wherever truck caps or tonneaus are sold or seen, LEER is the leader.