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Trailer treasure

Dub Box USA puts a new spin on a classic trailer


by: TIDINGS, REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - A lifelong Volkswagen enthusiast, Shane Medberry co-founded Dub Box USA as a passion project and helped turn it into a thriving business. Shane Medberry likes to call it “Skittles Row.”

He is standing in front of three trailers, each its own distinguished hue: lime green, blood red and sky blue. The trailers are in various stages of completion, but they are all eventually bound for the Google campus in Mountain View, Calif.

The candy analogy is apt for what is perhaps the sweetest marker of Medberry’s success, just over two years after the West Linn resident co-founded Dub Box USA with friend and business partner Heather Gardella of Lake Oswego.

The Oregon City-based company manufactures custom trailers inspired by the classic Volkswagen camper model that has been a staple of automobile culture for more than half a century. Inspired by the original Dub Box company in England, Medberry and Gardella agreed to expand the operation stateside in the fall of 2011, and since then have built a steady client base that includes Google, Intel, Bon Appétit food management and a number of universities across the country.

by: TIDINGS, REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - The trailers are designed to be versatile and are most often used as campers or food carts.

“The attraction to the trailer is that it looks like an old Volkswagen bus,” Medberry said. “Everyone smiles, and they seem to have a story when they see it.”

Lest any Volkswagen purists worry, the trailers are constructed using custom-made Fiberglas material. “No VW Campervans have been hurt in the process,” the website proudly proclaims.

“The trailers look like old buses, which are becoming harder to find,” Medberry said. “People were scared that we were chopping them up and molding them together, but we aren’t. We’ve made everything from Fiberglas, so it’s all brand new.”

In the beginning, Medberry and Gardella figured they would focus on building and selling the camper trailers, while also creating food cart models as a secondary option.

It quickly became apparent that food carts would be the real game changer.

by: TIDINGS, REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - One of Dub Box USAs newest products is a retail trailer to be used as a grab-and-go meal source for various corporate clients.

“It’s something that’s a niche product,” Medberry said. “It looks a little different, and it’s very easy to customize. ... What we discovered through the corporate world was that large companies like Google want the flexibility to do different things.”

Dub Box’s food cart models — fully equipped with kitchens and service windows — were perfect for a Google campus that had grown faster than its cafeterias could handle.

“What they’ve calculated is they can serve about 450 people in two hours from a Dub Box,” Medberry said. “And they’re growing, so if they could get more Dub Boxes on site, then they open the avenue to serve all of their employees in a timely fashion.”

by: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: VERN UYETAKE - Medberry refers to these trailers bound for Google headquarters as Skittles Row.

Taking that idea even further, Dub Box is currently working on a “retail” trailer to be used as a grab-and-go market for pre-packaged food. Between this latest creation, “Skittles Row” and the campers themselves, along with various side ventures, Medberry and his eight full-time employees juggle as many as 12 projects at once.

It wasn’t always this way. In the beginning, Medberry spent weeknights building trailers while Gardella worked tirelessly to market the new company — all while both were still working full time for the Lake Oswego-based Kipp International Steel company.

“It was just Heather and I for a little over a year,” Medberry said. “We started bringing on employees and staff in the spring of 2013, and by August of 2013 we had to expand.”

By then, Medberry and Gardella were working full time at Dub Box. It was a dream job for Medberry, who has been fascinated with Volkswagens for much of his life.

“Just to have the ability to kind of stay within a passion and something that I love, but to be able to make a business out of it (is great),” Medberry said.

Medberry currently owns three vintage Volkswagens, along with a newer model he drives to work each day.

“My father and my aunt had one when I was little,” Medberry said. “And just as long as I could remember I was drawing them or paying attention to them more than any other car out there. I’ve always been a car person, so when I got closer to driving age, the attraction was more and more. And I’ve been at it ever since.”

Pricing for the camper trailers starts at $20,000, while the food carts run at a low of $25,000.

Dub Box USA can be reached at 971-238-2269. To learn more, visit dub-box-usa.com or facebook.com/DubboxUSA.



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