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February 19, 2019 12:00 PM, EST

Toyota Acquires Chicago-based Hoist Liftruck

Hoist Hoist Liftruck Manufacturing

Toyota Industries North America has acquired Chicago-based Hoist Liftruck Manufacturing. The company will be renamed Hoist Material Handling.

Hoist founder Marty Flaska, who moved the manufacturer of high-capacity lift trucks and terminal tractors to East Chicago in 2016, is retiring.

“We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished in building a terrific brand and quality products,” Flaska said. “I am retiring and will no longer be part of the business, but the company is in good hands. It’s an honor to hand it off to the industry leader Toyota.”

Hoist has manufactured large capacity forklifts under the Toyota Heavy Duty brand since 2015. The company is headquartered in a 550,000-square-foot factory in East Chicago, which Hoist Liftruck touts as the “largest high-capacity lift truck manufacturing facility in North America.” The previously long-vacant building was once a factory making turrets and other parts for military tanks.

Hoist has nearly 25 years of experience manufacturing products including heavy-duty cushion tire and pneumatic forklifts, reach stackers and container handlers, ranging in lift capacity from 7 to 57 tons. It produced private-label pneumatic tire forklifts for market leader Toyota Material Handling U.S.A. that ranged from 22,000 to 72,000 pounds in capacity and that were sold worldwide under the Toyota name.

“This is the perfect next step in the expansion of our Toyota Heavy Duty line,” said Jeff Rufener, president of Toyota Material Handling USA. “Hoist has been a great manufacturer of heavy-duty equipment for years and brings a group of passionate, talented associates that will help us in our role as a full-line equipment supplier. We are excited about the future of Hoist Material Handling.”

Hoist moved to northwest Indiana from Bedford Park, Ill., in 2016. The company had been looking to expand because of growing sales but was landlocked in Bedford Park, where it has retained a manufacturing satellite office. The Indiana Economic Development Corp., Regional Development Authority and the city of East Chicago provided financial incentives nearing $15 million to assist in the relocation, which often has been touted by local economic development officials as a major coup.

Hoist Material Handling will be led by Vice President and General Manager Dan Kossow, Vice President of Engineering Bob Miller, Vice President of Sales Stu Jacover and Vice President of Operations Ryan Delaney.

Delaney is joining Hoist after six years as director of quality for the Raymond Corp. He will report to Tony Miller, the senior vice president of operations and engineering for Toyota Industrial Equipment Manufacturing.

Flaska founded the company Forklift Exchange in 1980 in his home in the western suburbs of Chicago, where he bought, sold and rented material handling equipment.

In 1994, he acquired the rights to build material handling equipment from the 76-year-old Brooklyn-based Silence Hoist and Crane, which had provided the equipment used to unload cargo from the Atlantic Ocean back when the Port of New York was still the main seaport in North America and made winch systems that pulled in Pan American Airways seaplanes from the water in Miami.

Flaska renamed that company Hoist Liftruck and relocated its manufacturing operations to Bedford Park in 1998. Hoist grew into one of the leading national U.S. material handling equipment manufacturers in 2000 when it acquired the 107-year-old Cleveland-based Elwell-Parker Electric Co., which had been one of the innovators of electric-powered lift trucks that were originally used by the Pennsylvania Railroad to move luggage.

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