Chris Newjahr, Founder & CEO of Best Yet Express, Inc (BYX), now in it's landmark 35th year, owes his success to ingenuity, hard work and . . . Plastic bottles!
Working for a small local trucking company to support his education, Chris made a delivery one day to a plastic bottle distributor. He met the owner of that company, an 82 year-old successful businessman who proceeded to tell him how plastic bottles would be the hot item of the future. Chris was so impressed that he told his boss he needs to make a sales call on this company. "Plastic will never replace glass!" he snapped. “Forget it!”
Chris continued to make deliveries and kept after his boss to land this account . . . one too many times. "I told you, plastic will never replace glass!" He fired Chris. 21 and cocky, Chris decided he was going to put his ex-boss out of business as payback!
April, 1972, with his $300 life savings, a Datsun pickup truck and a partner, Chris started Blue Light Trucking. Their first account was that very plastic bottle company, who kept them busy and growing. Their freight van doubled as moving freight during the day and by night was Chris' home sweet home. Money was extremely tight, but they purchased a bobtail and now had a fleet of three trucks. Chris had become good friends with the right people at Hewlett Packard (HP) and National Cash Register (NCR), from his pick up and deliveries for his previous boss, and they gladly helped out with his new venture. With his old boss' major accounts kaput, he ended up closing his doors. Mission accomplished!
The plastic bottle bottle company was a distributor of plastic bottles and Chris' business quickly expanded to picking up an assortment of bottle manufacturers. They were also delivering bottles to companies that manufactured cosmetic goods, shampoo, conditioners, facial cremes, etc. This brought more contacts and more business. The era of the plastic bottle had arrived, and Chris' company was comfortably in the middle of it!
HP & NCR were also in a transition period of modernizing computers and banking equipment. Chris and company were then called upon to remove the old equipment and deliver the new. This was the 1970's, when computers and banking equipment were as big as refrigerators and weighed 6,000 pounds a piece! The newer models weighed 700 lbs and were smaller, but nowhere near the miniscule size of today's computers.
When their partnership ended, Chris started Best Yet Express on March 28th, 1978. He ran the company, made sales from the back end of the truck during the day, and spent his nights processing paperwork. He had just two employees and his front yard was the loading and unloading dock, with a church parking lot down the way where they parked the trucks.
Since BYX's foundation was the movement of plastic articles (bottles as well as caps), Chris stay focused on that industry. Being the new kids on the block, everyone wanted to help out the little guy. Word of mouth sales grew their business rapidly.
As time progressed, BYX services were needed to deliver the chemicals for the products being manufactured as well, further expanding its service to the Cosmetic Industry. Some big name hair care companies came about at this time: including Vidal Sassoon, Freeman Cosmetic, Saint Ives, and others, big and small. Vidal Sassoon alone was producing 650,000 bottles of shampoo a day. And Best Yet Express was the lucky one, moving all the bottles and caps to the lab for production!
In 1979, BYX got into the warehouse business with a 4,000 square foot building. The warehouse could no longer handle the space demands and in three years the company moved to a 20,000 square foot facility. By 1987, BYX was serving over 300 clients, with 22 trucks, operating out of an 82,000 square foot building, with 35 employees.
Best Yet Express is a true survivor among businesses. A severe downsize period in the 1990s created the diehard attitude that Chris and BYX had experienced it all, so lets do something great with it! Today,the fleet is up to 21 vehicles, grossing $2,800,000 in 2012 and on a path to $3,200,000 or more this year. Chris proudly declares, “That's quite a success for a company that wasn't supposed to replace glass!”
The BYX website is the sales department, producing clients throughout the United States, Canada, Australia and China that need local freight moved. Being located in L.A., a huge plus, with L.A. the number one manufacturing location in America. Chris modestly boasts, “Manufacturers need trucking and at BYX we have the best sales device (and most cost-effective) possible – word of mouth sales.”
Today, BYX is a family-owned company. “Bringing youth into the picture keeps you on the map and in the radar.”