UPDATE: Furniture carrier American West returns to Brown family
Larry Thomas -- Furniture Today, October 7, 2011
LOS OSOS, Calif. — Josh Brown, founder of specialized furniture carrier American West, has repurchased the company and hopes to rebuild the carrier as a family business serving the Western U.S. and select East Coast locations.
Brown, who is the company's CEO, said his wife, Cathie, is president, and son Noah is Western regional vice president. In addition, son-in-law Reed Cullum is the Dallas-based Eastern regional vice president and daughter Michelle Crow is vice president of administration.
Another son, Matt, is supervisor of supply chain management and oversees the company's 285,000-sqaure-foot warehouse, while daughter Deva Winchester is focused on customer retention.
"We're very excited about building American West as a family business," Brown said. "Three of my eldest children worked for the company previously and had gone on to different careers within the transportation industry. When the opportunity to re-acquire American West was presented, I visited with each of them to share my vision for the company as one we could pass on trans-generationally. All agreed to re-join the company."
In addition to members of the Brown family, American West has hired furniture transportation veterans Sandy Dant-Leibold, Susan Harris and Rosemary Medina to key positions.
Harris and Dant-Leibold are account executives and Medina is senior customer service representative.
All three have extensive experience in furniture transportation, and Dant-Leibold also is a member of the executive board of directors of IHFRA, as well as the national home furnishings board for the City of Hope.
Brown said the purchase was an all-cash transaction, so the company is debt-free and well-positioned to take advantage of opportunities presented by recent consolidations in the furniture transportation sector.
"We' re simply going to fulfill our promises to the customer, whatever that means in terms of communication, transit times or support," he said. "We believe this is more important than ever given the difficult environment in which the furniture industry is currently operating."
The revamped company specializes in less-than-truckload shipments originating from the West Coast for distribution to Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and numerous other locations throughout the U.S. and Canada.
The company also has entered into a service agreement with specialized furniture carrier Worldwide Logistics to service customers from Dallas.
Under terms of the agreement, American West will service customers for Worldwide out of its Dallas facility. Worldwide will then close its Dallas facility by the end of October, and American West will service all pool distribution customers and third-party logistics customers.
American West said it has agreed to honor Worldwide-specific customer rate agreements for 60 days.