Phil Ruffin to expand Harper Trucks once again with a major account

WICHITA — Phil Ruffin is preparing to expand his Harper Trucks in a big way once again.

The Wichita-based company is the largest hand truck (a two-wheeled dolly) manufacturer in the world.

In 2008, Ruffin bought California-based Angelus Manufacturing, which gave him a West Coast presence and meant the company would be in Costco and Sears stores there. The acquisition gave Harper quite a few accounts it hadn’t had previously.

Now, Ruffin has done a deal to be in another “major retailer.”

He’s not revealing that retailer yet — look for details in March — but he says it’s a huge deal.

Ruffin this week filed a building permit for $310,000 to expand his more than 400,000-square-foot building at 1522 S. Florence.

“We needed the additional space to accommodate that new business that’s coming on,” he says.

Ruffin will also hire an additional 20 to 25 employees in March to make the hand trucks.