McCracken Motor Freight began in the chaotic days of 1929 when two brothers, J.W. (Bill), and E.E. (Earl) McCracken, decided that a trucking company could be operated successfully if they followed two principles:
- Keep the geography of the territory that they covered small
- Provide high quality dependable service to all of their customers
With two road rigs, two small pick-up trucks, and two employees, Bill and Earl established themselves as a provider of freight hauling and distribution between just two cities – Portland, and Eugene.
They would each spend their day soliciting new business, collecting bills, settling claims, and doing all of the office work required to run a freight company in both Portland and Eugene. When they had success obtaining business, they would help their employee to load their truck and have it ready to leave by 6:00 PM.
Their business model was simple. Each of the brothers would drive his truck towards the other city, and they would exchange trucks at the mid-point. Deliveries were made along the route providing reliable overnight delivery service with each brother returning to his home in the early hours of the next morning.
It would be more than 30 years later that Frederick W. Smith would write his Yale University undergraduate paper outlining the concept. The Yale professor told Smith that his idea was impractical – to meet at a central point and exchange packages. Smith later implemented his idea and created the company known as Federal Express.
Over the years, the company has expanded – not so much with the geography that is served, but with the addition of employees, vehicles, warehousing space, and improved quality of service. The company headquarters was moved to its current location on Front Avenue in 1988. The company focus remains the same: Provide the best quality service to customers in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.