"PNC has provided amazing support for our growth efforts. After all our company has been through, PNC continues to believe in us and provide us with the tools we need to succeed."
A Family of Movers and Shakers
When Ardella "Dell" Melton established Berea Moving & Storage in 1961, she didn't anticipate that the company would one day serve high-profile clients including the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Cleveland Orchestra and NASA. Dell was simply focused on starting a profitable business in a male-dominated industry.
She enlisted the help of her husband, Willard Melton Sr., a Cleveland police officer who moonlighted at Berea Moving, and their children, Lisa and Willard Jr. (Woody). Business was steady but not always profitable for the company, which evolved from residential-only to military and commercial moves. In 1997, Dell filed bankruptcy. The family worked hard to pay back the company's debt, but had not yet succeeded when Dell passed away in 2006. With no succession plan in place, the company's future lay in the hands of Dell's daughter, Lisa Holly.
"I was inspired by my mother's drive to build this business yet I knew I needed buy-in from every employee if we were going to make a go of this. I asked the question 'Quit or fight?' We decided unanimously to fight. It was a defining moment for all of us," Lisa shares.
Trusted Advisors Help Chart a Course
Lisa, who had been the company's residential estimator for 30 years, and Woody, the dispatcher and commercial estimator, felt they lacked the business expertise to bring the company back into the black on their own, so in 2008 Lisa hired a business consultancy.
She reports: "For the first time in 15 years, our business made a profit. We've been profitable for three consecutive years, with 20 percent growth in 2010 alone. Our coaches have helped us identify our niches, build our brand and set a course for the future."
That course includes the upcoming launch of a new division, Wood-Lee International, a fine-arts mover targeting museums and private collectors. Lisa recently purchased two new art-handling trucks with the help of PNC financing.
"PNC has provided amazing support for our growth efforts," she says. "My banker understands our business, goals and plans. After all our company has been through, PNC continues to believe in us and provide us with the tools we need to succeed."
To keep Berea Moving's momentum going, Lisa counts on the support of PNC as well as the guidance of her coaches and certifications as a Small Business Enterprise (SBE), Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) and Encouraging Diversity, Growth & Equity (EDGE) business. "We added the Cleveland Municipal School District to our client roster this year, and we're striving to add even more of Cleveland's larger organizations," explains Lisa. "Our certifications are opening doors, and our reputation speaks for itself. When people hear you've handled Jimi Hendrix's guitar and Janet Joplin's Porsche, it builds confidence. And for us, confidence means business."
For more information about the women's organizations mentioned in this article, view this related resource: