They say the key to starting a successful business is to "find a need and fill it." Entrepreneur Cris Leatherwood of US Mobile Kitchens can certainly attest to this truism, but the truth is, finding a need is only the beginning. Filling a need requires dedicating time and resources to develop an idea to help people you will probably never meet.
Utility Keystone Trailer Sales calls this “Helping Others Win.”
How Cris Leatherwood filled a need
Shortly after starting his construction rental business category three hurricane Katrina hit, causing catastrophic and widespread damage throughout the Southeast.
Cris recalls, "some old customers of mine called in need of Kitchen Trailers, mostly to feed their workers at oil refineries in Louisiana where they were hard hit by Katrina. We helped by sourcing mobile kitchen trailers for them, but they needed more trailers and called again a few months later. This time we purchased a couple of kitchen trailers and rented them out, but the need was great, and the calls for more trailers kept coming."
US Mobile Kitchens was born
Cris continued, "We began converting 53’ trailers into mobile kitchen units, and I eventually sold our construction rental business to focus solely on US Mobile Kitchens with my wife, Doreen. Our sons Aaron and Tyler came onboard in 2015, and it has been our focus ever since."
We now customize semi-trailers in a multitude of different ways - even a game room, if you like!
US Mobile Kitchens has grown to four locations, including two manufacturing facilities in Maryland and North Carolina, and two rental depots in Texas and California. They currently employ 27 team members that include plumbers, carpenters, electricians, and metal fabricators.
"Our company makes customized trailers for many different needs," Chris said. "But the most meaningful to us is the trailers we provide in disaster situations. Helping those people with food preparation, laundry services, showers, and sleeping facilities means more to all of our employees than one might imagine."
Two 53’ Utility Keystone Trailers custom-designed for Deployed Resources: Mobile Kitchen and Food Preparation will be used all over the country for both scheduled events and disaster response (pictured above).
Several Utility Keystone Trailers converted into 36-person mobile sleeping units for rental needs. Units are rented out for strikes, fighting forest fires, and disaster situations (pictured above).
"Cris contacted me looking for 53’ trailers to convert to commercial mobile kitchens with sinks, grills, and fryers during the hurricane disaster," said Tom Dorwart, of Utility Keystone Trailer Sales. "Their work is impressive – it’s exciting to see how Cris and his team convert our trailers into mobile kitchens and specialty units."
If you’re looking for a specialized mobile solution, US Mobile Kitchens can build it!
Providing custom manufacturing services for all mobile and modular units, they have one of the largest mobile and modular kitchen manufacturing facility capabilities in the United States, with a 25,000 sq. ft. facility in Baltimore, Maryland and a 30,000 sq. ft. facility in Pinetops, North Carolina.
Mobile Kitchen Trailer Units will solve any food preparation and serving challenge, including food prep, dining facilities, pot washing, refrigeration, dishwashing, and freezers.
Specialty Units meet a wide range of needs including, restrooms, laundry, showers, and sleeping and living quarters.