The Torklift story begins in 1958 when Torklift founder Jon Kay began building the foundation of knowledge in manufacturing, fabrication, and retail that would become a Torklift signature years later at a local hitch and fabrication shop in Tacoma WA. In 1973, an opportunity came up to partner with the owner of that establishment to start a satellite business in Lynnwood. That first year tested both the Kay resolve and ingenuity when the oil embargo hit.
Since there wasn't much call for hitches or RV towing products, with extremely long lines at the gas pump and gasoline rationing, Jon quickly shifted focus to auxiliary gas tanks and found a ready market to keep the fledgling company moving forward and expanding. Jon's three sons Jack, Tony, and Max also began learning the family business at this satellite location. By 1976, Jon was ready to sell out his interest in the partnership and start his own company. Torklift Central Welding of Kent Inc. started with one bay, one welder, and one employee in a small building on Central Ave in Kent, WA.
Within 4 years, Torklift Central Welding was thriving and developing a local reputation for exemplary service as the hitch and trailer experts. The 1980's became building years for Torklift. They acquired more real estate, built new buildings, and acquired others. In 1983 Torklift Central Welding moved into the Apple & Mac tech age, being among the first companies to acquire the newly released Lisa Mac computer. Today Torklift remains 90% Apple & Mac.
By the mid '80's, Jon and his team had used their extensive manufacturing experience to create a new Torklift line of hitches, trailers, towbars, and a wide range of custom fabrication. Customers came asking for the Torklift line from all venues: retail, fellow dealers, municipal and local government agencies, and more. All of these endeavors coupled with a spirit of excellence and a strong focus on exceeding customer expectations swiftly gained the respect of the region.
By 1990 the company's rapid growth required the separation of the manufacturing division from the rest of the organization. The mid 90's were a time of continued innovation for Torklift and included the acquisition of new state of the art CNC equipment where revolutionary ideas were designed and saw fruition, many of which patents were sought for. The late 90's saw the manufacturing division of Torklift grow so large that a separate management team was formed.
By the year 2000, the Torklift line of products had become so popular that the manufacturing/product development arm of the company was forced to split off. That branch ventured further into the wholesale world, while the original Torklift Central Welding continued to specialize in local fabrication and installation. Although the Torklift leadership team knew the split had to be made, it was still several years of careful planning and patience before everything was ready to make that leap.
Finally, the industry's first Lever Action Turnbuckle was introduced. Like wild fire the Torklift Fastgun turnbuckle took the market by storm and provided the boost Torklift International was looking for to break away from Torklift Central completely. The Torklift International administration, packaging and warehouse all relocated, though remaining headquartered in Kent, WA. Most recently Torklift International has invested several million dollars towards it's future location on 6 1/2 acres and has outlined long range plans for full development beginning in 2008 and carrying years into the future.
Torklift Central Welding continues to provide superior customer service and maintains its reputation as an expert within the industry and has seen unprecedented levels of growth. The result was that in 2009, Torklift Central Weldi split again and Torklift Central RV- was born. This new division and second location is centered on a core group of seasoned factory trained techs with certified master tech experience and 50 years in the industry. This latest addition to the Torklift Central Welding group has been welcomed by the now three generations the company proudly serves.
Currently, the original Torklift Central continues to focus on towing products, both for RV and Commercial, Welding and custom fabrication, as well as trailer brake, axle, suspension work and repair. In addition to engaging knowledgeable, professional team members Torklift Central Welding boasts CNC Plasma/AutoCad/Solidworks and machine capabilities, trained on site consultants, and a variety of patented industry name products to serve their customer's needs.
Torklift Central RV (pictured below) provides a full parts and service line lube/oil/filter services, rebuild/refurbish services, repair services, interior/exterior and accessory offerings. They employ a unique 40K lb. hoist allowing them labor time advantages when working on even the largest rigs and operate with hours Monday - Saturday with service writers on site. Not forgetting their common roots, Torklift Central also supports Torklift International by assisting in product market testing as new Torklift International innovations prepare to hit national and international markets.