River City Six – Bo Gratton
Meet William (Bo) Gratton, owner of Gratton Warehouse Company.
Tell us a little about your business.
Celebrating 125 years this year, Gratton Warehouse is a third party logistics (3PL) company headquartered here in Omaha. We store raw and finished goods to distribute around the world. Our 3PL warehouse has the capability of handling unit(s) that weigh up to 5 tons. We also offer fulfillment services and do packaging for large orders and orders as small as an individual piece internet order SKU’s, from 1 to 5,000, weighing from 1lb to 10,000lbs.
How did you get started in the business?
I started school at UNL and transferred to UNO in order to help out the family business during a few down years. I actually worked at the company every summer since I was 13 because I wanted to be involved in what the “grown-ups” were doing.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced professionally?
Dealing with family dynamics in a company will always be hard. Only 3% of family owned businesses make it to the fourth generation, and only 20% of those businesses continue to be family owned. The same family dynamics that help a business grow can also destroy it. It’s extremely difficult to separate family from work. Imagine only going on vacation with your coworkers—that’s what it’s like!
Tell us a little about your family.
My wife is a brilliant woman and a data analyst at a large computer hardware company. My two sons go to UNL. The oldest is a senior who is majoring in architecture and my younger son is about to be a freshman who is going to major in engineering. I also have a daughter. I didn’t believe in the whole “110%” thing until I met my daughter—she’s such a hard worker.
What do you see as one of the biggest turning points in your life?
Honestly, I can’t say there’s one big turning point because there will always be something else that comes up that’s bigger. I thought that my biggest moment would be when my dad died early, and I had to take over the company, but then more and more things happened that changed everything. You just got to roll with the punches.
What is your favorite thing to do on a day off?
Hang out with my family! We love to go water skiing, boating, bicycling, and even scuba diving. Once my kids get old enough, I hope we’ll all go skydiving together!
What is the most unique or interesting thing about you that most people probably don’t know?
In elementary school, I once took care of a baby alligator. I even brought it to school one time for show-and-tell.
Who inspires you?
My great-grandfather, grandfather, and father. To make it this long in this industry in Omaha and still be a family-owned business is a truly an amazing feat.
What is your favorite quote or the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
My grandfather once told me, “Don’t get rid of what got you there.”
If you could choose any other profession to be successful in, what would it be?
I would probably do something in engineering or architecture, like building cars or houses. I guess that figures, considering that’s what both my sons are in school for!
What is your favorite TV show?
Last Man Standing, only because that’s what’s on when I get home from work at around 10 p.m.
If our readers would like to contact you, how should they do so?
Phone: (402) 339-0846; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: www.grattonwarehouse.com.