1920 was the year that Chester R. (C. R.) England started his company with a purchase of his first Model T truck in the sleepy Northern Utah farming community of Plain City. He decided there had to be an easier way to make a living than farming and that was when his plan was conceived.
Within 10 years of Chester starting the business, The Great Depression hit. The U. S. unemployment rate reached 25% and those who were employed had their wages slashed. Chester’s idea to save his business was to work harder and to work smarter. He avoided the kind of failure that so many families and businesses suffered
The beginning of the 1930’s marked the Great Depression. Times were tough, but Chester stayed optimistic and taught his sons the value of hard work. The company survived through the 30’s with hard work and determination. Those qualities continued through the 40’s and World War II.
As his sons served our country, Chester maintained his small business as Gene and Bill did everything they could to make it back home. As Chester was building C.R. England, his sons were helping overseas by saving money and selling their cigarette rations. Gene and Bill returned home to a hero’s welcome as decorated war veterans, including a Bronze Star for Gene, and started working for Chester again. Within two weeks of their return home, they got their first Kenworth truck. Gene and Bill took a one truck operation and made it into a fleet, laying the foundation for future growth.
The 72 hour Service allowed them to distinguish themselves from other trucking companies. There was no such thing as Interstate Highways. They made it happen on 2 lane roads with undependable equipment. Their customers were delighted and the business grew.
Gene and Bill were in the South Pacific. Gene at war When they returned from military service they picked up where they left off – hauling mostly potatoes out of Utah and Idaho to CA, and fresh fruits and vegetables back. Everything went well until about 1957 when an unforeseen turn of events virtually eliminated the potato hauling to the west coast.
The business was transformed when we filed applications for licenses to haul all kinds of freight and those applications were granted. A whole new array of products and geographical lanes were now available.
C. R. England was on the map! In 1980 we had about 180 trucks.
The 3rd generation entered the business and helped push through regulations the company was undergoing. The world was turned upside down when the industry was deregulated in 1980. The licenses were now easy to obtain. All the little guys got licenses, started hauling the freight and lowered their rates to get it. The large carriers struggled to cut their costs. 90 of the largest 100 carriers in 1980 are now out of business – mostly because of deregulation. As a mid-sized carrier we also faced the challenge of falling rates. 1985 was the only year in the modern history of the company that we lost money.
In the early 1990’s we were one of the first fleets to adopt mobile communications (Qualcomm). This was text messaging before the real text messaging came to be. Next, we needed a lot of drivers.
Without a steady source of drivers we had no chance of becoming a major player in the industry. We were one of the first carriers to open our own schools. This was taking a risk, but it paid off in a big way.
Then came the tremendous growth from 1985 to 1995, which was a growth rate of 650%. During that era someone else had big plans about the future!
Now C.R. England has entered into the 4th generation of management and is looking forward to celebrating their 100 year anniversary in a few short years. We continue to grow and strive for excellence in everything that we do.
We transformed the business by adding 4 new operating divisions: 1990-2010
Truly it can be said that C.R. England has become a “smarter, faster, better” type of operation over the years. The company has grown progressively into a nationwide leader in refrigerated truckload service. The current management team includes several third and fourth generation Englands who believe quality, hard work and integrity are the basis for success.
C.R. England is a family-owned, customer and employee focused corporation since 1920, and is driven to deliver excellence as one of the most prominent temperature-controlled carriers in the nation.