The original Serro SCOTTY factory, circa 1960, which was located near the Irwin exit of the Pennsylvania Turnkpike.
The idea for SCOTTY trailers was born on the fourth of July in 1956 on the back of a calendar. John Serro, then a 55 year-old retired auto dealership owner, was on a weekend trip and bad weather prevented him from enjoying outdoor activities. Instead, he had a vision and immediately sketched it out: a bed, sink, two-burner stove and dinette all tucked into a 13 ft. long trailer that would fit in an average garage.
When he returned, he built his first trailer, and it was an immediate hit with consumers. Partnering with his son-in-law Joe Pirschl, he opened a factory in Irwin, PA, near the Pittsburgh regional area, and started a business that would grow to be a household name.
The popularity of the SCOTTY trailers grew and grew, leading to the opening of Scottyland campground in 1963 and the founding of 56 chapters of the Serro SCOTTY Owners Association across the country. The company became the first camping trailer manufacturer east of the Mississippi, operating factories not just in Pennsylvania but also Ashburn, GA, and Bristow, OK. The company’s mascot, a Scottish terrier, could soon be found on all kinds of apparel. “We became known as the big name in little trailers,” said Joe Pirschl. “And that’s how the Scottish terrier found its place in our business- it’s a well-known little dog, just like our trailers.”
Joe Pirschl’s daughter, Anne Degre, joined the family business in 1990 and discovered a niche for what is now known as the SCOTTY Fire Safety House. Fire departments and other groups of first responders were in need of the company’s expertise in building lightweight trailers, so they could take fire prevention and safety education directly to their communities.
On April 17, 1997, the company’s 45,000 square-foot factory in Irwin burned to the ground. Determined to endure, employees and owners were back to work in a temporary location 25 days later. The company’s name was changed to Mobile Concepts by Scotty in 2001 to reflect a new focus on engineering, designing and manufacturing specialty trailers. The company has grown to specialize in task-specific vehicles and trailers for everything from fire departments to the U.S. Department of Defense.
In late 2014, the “by Scotty” was replaced with “Specialty Vehicles” to better portray the company’s expertise. For more than 6 decades, the Scotty brand has been- and will continue to be- a trusted name. The Scotty dog emblem is still used in the logo and still stands for family, value and integrity.