Reynolds Nationwide provides regional foodgrade service
Sep 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Mary Davis
After passing across a pasture with large hay bales, an irrigation system, and stock tanks, the driveway leading to Reynolds Nationwide ends at the company headquarters in San Antonio, Texas.
The 120-acre scene is more reminiscent of a South Texas ranch than a foodgrade carrier's terminal.
And one suspects after meeting the owner, Dennis Reynolds, that farming holds a strong attraction second only to hauling milk, chocolate, tequila, and a variety of other liquid foodgrade products.
“I grew up on a farm,” Reynolds says. “Our family also hauled hay and grain.”
Although Reynolds was a farm boy, it wasn't too long after graduating from high school that he decided to head for the city. By 1970, Reynolds and his wife, Donna, had started their trucking company in San Antonio with one used International tractor.
“We purchased this property soon after we moved to San Antonio,” he says. “For many years our office was in our home.”
After establishing the trucking company, the couple almost immediately found themselves with a tank trailer fleet acquired from a Mexican company used to haul tequila. About the same time, Reynolds' accountant heard about a fleet of milk trailers for sale. Not one to wait until the cows come home, Reynolds bought the vehicles and added the dairy business to his lineup.
“I didn't really know anything about hauling milk,” Reynolds recalls. “In the beginning it was a lot like trial by fire.”
As the 1970s blended into the 1980s, Reynolds answered the phone one day to hear a New Jersey pet food processor on the other end of the line searching for a carrier to haul pet food ingredients.
“I don't know how he found us,” Reynolds recalls. Nevertheless, the phone call eventually led to even more business. Later, Reynolds formed a foodgrade division to service confectionary ingredients and soon was hauling ingredients for chocolate.
“This account was looking for a carrier that they could form a relationship with,” Reynolds says. “We had to learn the confectionary business, and to know what each plant needed as we became more specialized.”
As the transportation services were growing, Reynolds added a two-bay shop on the property that would eventually be expanded to four bays. In 2003, he built an extensive office complex for dispatching and administration.
Reynolds says he believes in slow, but steady growth as the best way to optimize his operation. The fleet has grown in response to customer needs and currently consists of more than 600 trailers and 260 Peterbilt tractors. Within that tank trailer number are 260 for milk service, 65 dedicated to kosher foodgrade, 32 for kosher chocolate, and 116 for non-foodgrade products. The carrier has a small number of dry vans, refrigerated trailers, and pneumatic bulkers. Tank trailers also are leased as needed to supplement the fleet.
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