“It was something I always wanted to do,” Bob said, “so we got our foot in the door with local businesses.”
Right from the start, area factories kept the Frenches’ trucks moving, carrying loads to destinations in all directions. Business had already exceeded Bob & Donna’s expectations, when they started receiving requests to ship internationally. They answered by heading for Houston, Texas, where they attended classes offered by the International Air Transport Association.
“The classes were intense,” Donna explained, “and covered the rules and regulations and all the things we needed to know about shipping – airlines, keeping the packages safe… things like that.”
Once they had that coursework under their belts, the Frenches were ready for a name change. In the fall of 2006, FTL Carriers became FTL Global Carriers, reflecting their expanded shipping services. They added small-package delivery to their list of services and became reps for UPS and Federal Express. They also began to stock shipping supplies, such as envelopes, boxes, packing materials, and tape.
“There was no other Fed Ex or UPS store around here,” Bob said, “so it seemed like a good fit for us.”
Through the years, the Frenches have continued to add services. Today, in addition to shipping, they offer black & white and color copies, laminating, document disposal, stamps by the roll and books, packaging materials, overnight mail delivery, stateside APO service for military families, and more.
The Frenches are known around town for the excellent customer service they provide.
“We try to treat people like we want to be treated,” Bob said. “We have customers who find it difficult to get inside – people on oxygen or with walkers. They’ll pull up and call us on their cell phone, and we go out and help them.”
And for those customers who aren’t sure about the proper way to package the items they need to ship, the Frenches step up and lend a hand.
“That’s what we’re here for,” Donna said, “to make it as easy as possible for our customers. And a lot of times, we have them bring their items to be shipped, and we package it for just the cost of the materials.”
Running the store with Bob and Donna is their daughter, Alex Adams, who helps out part-time. Making deliveries for them are five independent owner-operator drivers – three full-time and two part-time – who keep perpetually on the move.
The Frenches are life-long residents of Elwood. “We like the small, hometown feel,” they say unapologetically. “We like it here.”
It’s where they were born and grew up, and where they raised their own children – daughters Aubrey and Alex, and their son, Rob. They also have eleven grandchildren, in whose lives they are deeply involved.
“We like ballgames,” Donna said, “swim meets, and we make sure the kids get to practices. I love being a mimi.”
As for their business, the Frenches love serving the Elwood community, and apparently the sentiment is reciprocated.
“We love this business,” Bob said. “I love talking to the people, and when they say they appreciate us being here …. well, that just makes you feel good.”
FTL Global Shipping is located at 10962 North County Road 775 West, adjacent to K-Mart on State Road 37. The phone is 552-1914. The store is open 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.
And remember … if you ever need help getting into their store, just pull your car up near the door and give them a call. One of them will hurry out to give you hand. And a welcoming smile.