One Big, Happy Family of Companies
CRC Global founder discusses the keys to his success and the expansion of the company’s reach
“We do a lot of stuff that people don’t know we do,” said CRC Global Solutions Founder Ronnie Mains.
The “stuff” Mains is specifically referring to are his company’s many entities under his, “Family of Companies” slogan. With business holdings now in numerous U.S., France, Germany, and, coming soon, the United Kingdom, CRC Global Solutions has strong roots in logistics and supply-chain operations. However, the Family of Companies includes various operations in other industries.
“I was pushing buggies for $4 an hour at age 17,” he said of his first job at Sam’s Club in Kenner, where the Crescent City Christian School graduate began working shortly after graduation. “There were no Sam’s Club stores in the Northeast states when I began. So I jumped all over an opportunity to head up to Redding, Pennsylvania to help start up Clubs. Being a young man and leaving my hometown and family with just my car and a cot to sleep on, I learned a lot quick including how to eat chicken noodle soup from a can for three months straight.” Quickly into this endeavor, Mains rose to a promotion as “one of the youngest general managers ever for Sam’s Club at the time.”
Fifteen years ago, he returned to his native Louisiana and founded the business operations, which were originally Cross Road Centers or “CRC” and have grown to become CRC Global Solutions. Now at age 47, what’s Mains’ secret for success?
“Hire the right people that fit your company’s core values,” Mains said. “Never give up. Stay focused on your core values and keep falling forward.”
Using the term “family” reflects both the wide variety of numerous businesses and also reflects Mains involving these core values across all divisions, which have a total of almost 900 employees. “I set up the CRC family culture,” Mains explains, “with the belief that if you always take care of your CRC family, then the CRC family will always care for the customer.”
The acronym HEATKTE (pronounced “het-ka-tee”) is held dear by all CRC employees, and Mains said it stands for something that instills a deep core company value: High expectations are the key to everything. “We really drive that home with all our employees in everything we do and in all of our entities, across all our operations,” he explains. “Everybody here knows exactly what HEATKTE means.”
Mains reveals his keen eye for excellence in supply-chain logistics when he describes the Port of South Louisiana’s scope of operations. “The Port of South Louisiana is located in one of the best locations in the United States,” he said. “Good, hard-working people. Warehouse locations. Land to expand. Two railroads: the Kansas City Southern and the Canadian National. The Mississippi River, of course, and its docking facilities access to I-10, I-12, I-55 and Highway 61. It’s a Foreign Trade Zone [FTZ]. And the Port of South Louisiana is very pro-business.”
Last month, CRC opened up CRC Milwaukee ,a business holding in Wisconsin. The new center became part of the “Family of companies” along with numerous distinct operations, to include CRC Warehousing, CRC Trucking, CRC Packaging, CRC Brokerage CRC Consulting, CRC Construction, Cross Road Centers Realty, CRC Technology, CRC Brand Development, CRC Merchandising, CRC Distributing, CRC Promo Staffing, NOLA Brand and CRC We Care We Share.
NOLA Brand products reflect Mains’ love for Louisiana as many of these products are lined up along his office wall behind his desk at his corporate headquarters on Airline Highway in Kenner. Local entrepreneurs have come to Mains with good ideas—but with no idea how to implement it. “They’ll come up and ask, ‘How do I get my product into retail stores?” he said. “We help with stuff like that, and we can also help them with their packaging designs, packaging materials, and their overall production efficiencies, and we have in some instances helped companies cut their costs by 50 percent.
Our increased focus on local-brand merchandising has led CRC to help place Louisiana favorites on store shelves all over the country. Such familiar local flavors include such companies as Sno-Ball To Go, King Cakes, CoolBrew Coffee, Aunt Sally’s Pralines, Jambalaya Girl and New Orleans Ice Cream.
“It’s great for us,” Mains said of these local launch ventures from a business perspective, “but it’s also fun for us to introduce New Orleans products across the country.”
This type of family fun is what makes CRC Global Solutions A Family of Companies (and the man who founded them) unique — and profitable. “Everybody always talks about CRC logistics,” Mains explains. “The reason we’ve been so successful is that we have a great group of people. I can’t take credit for it; I just hired the right people, the people that have the passion for it that I do.”
By Frank Etheridge