Headlines in the Midlands
G&P Trucking Celebrates 75 Years
It was not an ideal time to start a new business.
But the bleak economic climate didn't deter Mr. H. P. Mabry and Mr. Arthur Rush from starting a new enterprise based in Greenwood, SC. Their original business plan was to haul cotton from the Charleston area to the Grendel and Panola Mills. These two textile mills even provided a name for the new firm, which they christened the "G&P Trucking Company." (Grendel and Panola were the names of the mill owner's two daughters.)
David Heller was hired in 1964 as a part-time billing clerk after getting out of the Navy. "Back then, we only operated within South Carolina," states Mr. Heller. "G&P Trucking was what was known as a 'feeder carrier,' because we picked up freight and delivered it to all the big shipping companies, who then took that freight to destinations all over the country. The routes used by the shipping business were very highly regulated back then, and rates were established and enforced by the Public Service Commission in Columbia. The minimum charge for an intrastate shipment was $2.65. Times sure have changed," says Mr. Heller, who retired in 2008.
But the textile industry began to change significantly across the South in the early 1980s. As the influence and economic importance of textiles declined in South Carolina, management at G&P Trucking recognized the need to revise its business model. To survive and prosper, the company knew it had to expand its services, diversify its customer base, and develop new markets over a larger geographic area.
In September, 1986, W. T. Cassels, Jr and family bought G&P Trucking Company and moved the corporate headquarters from Greenwood to Gaston, SC, (adjacent to Interstate 26) with the goal of building the small regional carrier into a transportation facilitator with a national and even international reputation.
One of the most important changes over the past 25 years has been the significant investment in technology that has kept G&P Trucking at the forefront of the transportation industry and made it a regional leader in the shipping business. The management team embraced new technology as it was introduced, employing real-time, satellite-based communications which allows customers to stay in touch with their freight from their desktop. Back in the 1960s, David Heller used a manual typewriter to crank out individual freight bills, which then had to be forwarded to the corporate offices in Greenwood. Today, the latest computers do virtually all of the clerical functions in a tiny fraction of the time it used to take, with greatly increased efficiency and significantly reduced paperwork.
As the company's business expanded into the 21st century, a major emphasis was placed on international shipping, especially shipping to and from Mexico. "We have great working relationships with a number of partners in Mexico, and we've developed very efficient methods to get goods to and from our neighbor to the south," explains Steve McCourt, Senior VP for Sales and Operations. "We handle all the little details for our customers and it really streamlines their shipping operations. We just look at it as part of our job."
Over the past 75 years, G&P Trucking Company has grown from a small captive carrier for Abney Mills, whose primary function was to deliver raw materials to the plants where it was turned into finished textile goods. From that humble beginning back in 1936, G&P Trucking has grown into an innovative, customer-service oriented transportation firm recognized as a regional and national leader.
"Our corporate philosophy is really very simple," says Clifton Parker, President and General Manager. "We treat every customer as a vital part of our business, which is exactly what they are. We value each and every one of them, because we realize that without our customers, we couldn't exist. We offer the best service we possibly can and charge a fair price. And we bend over backwards for our customers to deliver on time, every time."
And that's why all the folks at G&P Trucking are looking forward to the next 75 years.