Welding business evolves to include family hobby

By Laurie Stone: PNT Correspondent

Editor’s Note: This story is part of a series about local business owners who have been with their respective businesses for five years or longer.

Craig and Tina Hughes are the owners of Craig Hughes Trailer Sales Inc. located on the Cannon Air Force Base highway. They turned their hobby of drag racing into a business in the year 2000, when they expanded their welding business by specializing in customized trailers and recreational vehicles.
“I like dealing with trailers,” Craig said. “They’re especially important when someone needs to haul their stuff.”
The Hughes race a 2001 Prostock Dodge truck in drag races across the nation. The family interest is one reason why they entered this particular type of business. They saw a growing demand for the trailer industry on the racing circuit and in the local farming and agricultural community, which made way for the idea to sell trailers and RV’s.
According to Tina, this business had been the belt that has drawn their family closer, enabling them to spend more one-on-one time together.
“Our three sons … are able to learn different things concerning the business but they’re also able to see how their mom and dad work together as a family and as a team.” Tina said. “They’re learning not only a work ethic, but how to work with others.”
The Hughes do not credit themselves with their business success. Instead, they view it as a team effort due to the relationship they have with their employees.
“Having good employees that you can trust when you’re not around is what helps to make our business what it is today,” Tina said.
According to Craig, they have the best employees because they take care of the business as if they were taking care of something that was their own.
Farril Defoor has worked for the Hughes’ almost two years. He travels coast to coast with them selling motor homes and an assortment of trailers at shows during the drag races. He said this line of work has changed his demeanor.
“Before I began working here, I was quiet and reserved,” Defoor said, “and now I’m more aggressive and outgoing.”
Craig said this business has been a learning experience for everyone involved.
“You have to pay for your education no matter what you do, we’ve chosen to pay for ours in the field,” he said.
The Hughes family has come a long way since they established their welding business in 1987 which was the backbone of Craig Hughes Trailer Sales, Inc. Craig started with nothing more than a pickup and a welder. He began doing construction for dairies mending the pens, windbreaks and shades until he began constructing entire dairies. He has built approximately 20 dairies in his trade as a welder.
The Hughes’ future plans are to continue their focus of expanding. They intend to build a new office and another shop to enlarge their existing location.