Craters and Freighters 9/6/17 09/11/17 8:56:38 AM
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Everything from oversized mechanical equipment to delicate musical instruments pose no problem for the craters at Craters and Freighters of Eastern Nebraska.
Expertise That Delivers
Craters & Freighters of Eastern Nebraska
Wraps Up Small Business of the Month Win
By Dan McCann
The Daily Record
Over the years, the team at Craters & Freighters of Eastern Nebraska has fielded and fulfilled its share of unique requests.
“We built a custom dog crate for a St. Bernard to be shipped to England and an 85-foot crate for the roof of a passenger train. We crated Abe Lincoln’s chair that was housed at the Union Pacific Museum and a coffin built by a monk that was shipped down south. We recently built crates for the Nebraska 150 traveling art exhibit,” says owner Mike Jones.
Honored as the Greater Omaha Chamber’s September Small Business of the Month, Craters & Freighters of Eastern Nebraska is a full-service logistics company that specializes in getting items (unique or otherwise) from ‘Point A’ to ‘Point B’ quickly, affordably and in one piece.
“Being in business almost 14 years, it is an incredible honor for us to receive the Chamber’s Small Business of the Month award,” Mike said. “We’ve worked very hard to assure our brand recognition is positive and that we treat people as we would want to be treated.”
Mike and his wife, Vicki, bought the Omaha Craters & Freighters franchise in 2004 and have been expanding it ever since. The company’s original 2,500 sq. ft. warehouse has given way to a space that spans more than 20,000 sq. ft., home base as Craters & Freighters of Eastern Nebraska provides its residential and commercial customers a complete range of custom crating, packaging, shipping and storage services.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s mass production of crates or shipping grandmother’s antique table, we make certain that every order we get is treated with the same care and attention,” Mike said.
He says that focus on superior service has been the key to the company’s growth: “Providing an excellent customer experience starts with listening to our customers’ needs. Whether it’s a challenge with shipping antiques or a 20,000 lb. piece of equipment, we’re able to make suggestions on how that item can be delivered to the final destination without damage.”
For the Joneses, the route to business ownership started when Mike was working as a data site engineer for West Corporation. He would travel the country assisting with set-up and maintenance of their data centers.
“I used Craters & Freighters in other cities to ship network equipment and decided to look into the franchise opportunity in Omaha. After doing some research and traveling to the corporate office in Colorado, I decided to step into a new adventure and become a franchise owner,” Mike explained.
The most rewarding part of owning a business, he added, is being able to offer employment opportunities to the community. Craters & Freighters of Eastern Nebraska currently has six people working in its shop.
“Everyone is motivated and works very hard,” Mike said. “During the recent heat wave, our team was working off-site at a rigging warehouse. Even though it was extremely hot, they worked every day without complaints and exceeded our customer’s expectations.”
The Joneses said they try to empower their employees and create a culture in which they can grow and succeed.
“We offer our employees the opportunity to grow their positions into management or sales. We also encourage them to bring their ideas to the table – anything from different ways to build a crate to ways we can improve our safety procedures,” Mike said.
They also take care to be good corporate neighbors.
“We have been a sponsor for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, built custom dog houses that were donated to Nebraska Humane Society and raised money and canned food for Omaha charities,” he said. “Craters & Freighters, as a whole, has been donating trees for our sustainable tree-planting project. To date over 150,000 trees have been donated.”
While they thoroughly enjoy what they are doing currently, the Joneses also look forward to the day when they can pass the business on.
Mike said, “Our goal is to continue to grow our business so that when the day comes to retire we are able to provide someone else the opportunity to own a growing and exciting business. Every day is different in our warehouse.”
United Republic Bank sponsors the Chamber’s Small Business of the Month award. To nominate a small business online, visit www.omahachamber.org. Nominees must be current Chamber members with 50 employees or less.