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He Bought the Plant to Save 10 Jobs – Now There are 150 Jobs and 4 Plants

Published March 24, 2024 by
Joe Kannapell
Joe Kannapell

The tiny town of Sparta, North Carolina, turned out to honor Clint Bedsaul when he passed away in early 2021. Many among the crowd had been touched by the jobs he brought to their struggling remote community, but few knew the improbable details. And how Clint Bedsaul, the owner of a trucking business, got into the truss business is a story worth telling.

Unknowingly, Bedsaul followed the example of Carroll Shoffner, the truss master of the East Coast. Shoffner had learned the untapped potential of a rural workforce in the 1960s, and that guided his establishment of 13 additional plants over the following 30 years. In the process, he created an enterprise worth $100 Million when he sold it to Universal Forest Products in 1998.

The locations may have been similar, but the path was not the same for Bedsaul, who literally took his knowledge of the roads into his business. Hauling trusses to the closest big cities, either Greensboro or Charlotte, required navigating switchbacks on narrow roads during a descent of 2000 feet out of the Appalachians, but he knew trucking and that was not an obstacle for him. What he didn’t know was anything about the truss business, but he believed he could make something out of a nearly defunct operation that was crammed into a narrow lot in downtown Sparta. So, by investing in people and equipment, he resurrected a business, which he renamed TruLine Truss, thereby leaving an indelible mark on the town.

But even before he got TruLine over the hump, Bedsaul had started carving a level spot out of the nearby mountains, sometimes running earth moving equipment by himself. There he had a 30,000 sq ft metal building erected which he filled with the latest truss equipment. Later he added a 20,000 sq ft floor truss building, continuing to ramp up capacity.

During Bedsaul’s expansion, John Miller, his former plant manager, jumped on the band wagon, creating Tri-State Components nearby. Over the next dozen years, he gained enough business himself to build two additional facilities, wherever he could find a flat spot nearby. Miller clearly did it on his own, but he also had the advantage of seeing what his former boss was able to do.

In 2016, after 20 years of solid success, Bedsaul sold his business to Atlantic Building Components, which has continued to build on that success. And now Sparta, North Carolina, has laid claim to another distinction. In addition to being the Christmas tree capital of the Eastern U.S., Sparta, population 1800, can make the indisputable claim of producing the highest number of trusses in the world per capita. And that is thanks to the irrepressible Clint Bedsaul.