The First Name in Van Bodies, Since 1946

The history and tradition of Brown Industries, LLC dates back to 1946 when cargo vans were created in knockdown form by Brown Trailers, Inc. of Spokane, Washington. Brown's first truck body was constructed from trailer parts and outfitted as a bookmobile for the city of Spokane. That unit turned out to be the first dry freight cargo van ever made out of aluminum by any manufacturer. Subsequently, the company expanded nationwide and was later sold to Clark Equipment Company of Buchanan, Michigan. Clark manufactured and sold cargo vans and knockdown kits until 1975, when the Ashton-Richards Company purchased the business.

The Ashton-Richards Company operated a truck trailer and body sales and service business in Kansas City, Missouri that was recognized as one of the top independent distributors for these products in the country for over 30 years. Ashton-Richards bought the Lawrence, Kansas facility in 1975 and changed the name to Brown Cargo Van, Inc., directing its efforts toward the manufacture and sale of truck bodies and allied equipment of the highest quality.

Moving Beyond the Van Body

In 1995 we extended our capabilities to include specialty vehicles and other customized transportation products. We have manufactured equipment for the emergency management, law enforcement, and mobile medical markets as well as custom equipment for airport catering and windshield distribution.

Just as the industry was entering a down market in 2009, B12 Capital Partners recognized the potential of the company and the value associated with the Brown name and purchased the company. With growth in mind, the name was changed to Brown Industries, LLC.

Recent Growth

In 2011, Brown created the “Rail division.” That division has grown considerably and now includes seven unique products to fill the MOW (maintenance of way) market.

In 2012, Brown opened a new facility located in Henderson, CO. This manufacturing location produces van bodies, curtainsides, and HD platform bodies for customers located West of the Rockies. Read more here.

Buoyed by the success of the rail division, in 2016 the company launched a completely new product line – trolley cars. Read more here. By late 2017, the first trolley cars had rolled off the production line. Both sales and service are supplied by our sales partner, Specialty Vehicles.

Our experience in the industry and our customization capabilities are key factors to our loyal customer following. No other company has built dry freight bodies for as long as Brown Cargo.