The idea for Ralph Moyle, Inc. began during the later days of World War II when Ralph was just 13. While most of the men, including oldest brother Norman, were overseas fighting, someone was needed to haul grapes from local farms to the Welch’s processing plant in Mattawan. Local authorities weren’t concerned with enforcing the proper driving age at the time due to the war, and so Ralph began driving his father’s 14 foot “straight truck” during the grape harvest season.
A dream was born, and after serving in the US Army for 2 years immediately following high school at the end of the Korean war, Ralph returned to Mattawan and began driving again, still specializing in local produce hauling while he also attended Western Michigan University to pursue a degree in business.
During his time at Western, Ralph wrote a paper outlining an ambition to own a larger trucking company, and predicting that he would one day turn the business over to his two sons – quite a prediction, considering that he was still single at the time! Operating three trucks through most of the late 1950’s until incorporating in 1966, he expanded to 5 trucks in the mid-1970’s.
In 1979 a local canning plant formerly owned by J.M. Smuckers was sold to Coca Cola Foods, which began producing Hi-C at the site. Ralph’s record of superior service to the former owners gave him an instant market into which he was invited to expand, and by the late 1980’s Ralph’s company consisted of 30+ tractors and had expanded into services such as refrigerated transportation and food grade liquid bulk transportation.
In 1989, Ralph purchased a 25,000 square foot plant which was formerly a winery in Paw Paw, MI, and under the direction of his oldest son Mike, in 1991 the company began operating the building as a public warehouse. This marriage of high service regional trucking, local trucking, and warehousing proved to be a winning combination, as many of the company’s top 5 customers take advantage of both the warehousing and distribution offerings.
Mike poured similar effort and passion into the new branch of the business as Ralph had into the trucking in the early years, and after signing its first contract distribution customer, Knouse Foods, in 2000, the operation expanded to over 180,000 square feet and 30+ employees. As Ralph began to phase out of the day-to-day operation of the business, Mike assumed responsibility for all company operations, and is currently COO.
In 1991, Ralph’s youngest son Jon, who hoped to pursue a career in banking, joined the company following graduation from Western Michigan with a degree in finance. With the nation in a recession at the time, the job market for an aspiring banker was lean, and so he began working as a dispatcher while continuing his career search.
It didn’t take long for Jon to realize the opportunity he had within the family business, and by 1993, Ralph’s dream of turning his company over to his two sons was quickly becoming a real possibility. Jon then pursued his Master’s degree in distribution management from the University of Wisconsin in 1994, and settled into his current role of CFO in 1995.
From humble roots, Ralph Moyle, Inc. has expanded to over 130 employees, 70 tractors, 320,000 square feet of dry goods warehouse, and services ranging from local transportation to distribution management and light repackaging for clients like Coca Cola, Pfizer, Welch’s, Knouse Foods, and Gordon Foods.
While much has changed since Ralph climbed into the driver’s seat when he was 13, some things haven’t: our commitment to providing superior service, treating employees with fairness and dignity, and conducting business with integrity.