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Armstrong Warehouse and Transfer celebrates 65 years in Victoria

By ALLISON MILES
July 3, 2012 at 2:03 a.m.

Susan Armstrong Cain, president of Armstrong Warehouse and Transfer, holds a picture of herself at less than 2-years-old, playing with a Mayflower truck. The warehouse and transfer business, which began with Cain's grandparents, celebrated its 65th anniversary on Tuesday.

To learn more about Armstrong Warehouse and Transfer, call 361-575-1485 or visit http://armstrongmovers.com.

Victoria Mayor Will Armstrong remembers the day well when he chose to join the family trade.

He was 6 years old and, on the Fourth of July, Dad finalized a deal to buy what became Armstrong Warehouse and Transfer.

"He told me he bought a business, and it had a truck," Armstrong said, recalling how he pulled wagons with his tricycle, pretending to haul cargo. "I asked if I could drive a truck, and he said yes. I knew I was going into the business."

And 65 years later, that business is still going strong.

Armstrong Warehouse and Transfer celebrated its milestone birthday Tuesday, with an employee lunch. It was a way to thank the employees for the hard work they put in, said Susan Armstrong Cain, the company's president.

The company, which today specializes in moving, document storage and paper shredding, began in 1947, when Alfred Willis Armstrong Sr. and his wife, Annie Betty Armstrong, relocated their family from Austin to Victoria.

As time progressed, the business grew and passed down from generation to generation. Will Armstrong took over after his parents, while his daughter, Cain, became president in 2011.

Still, Cain said her semi-retired father plays a role.

"He likes to tell people that he gets his paycheck and his coffee here, but it's more than that," Cain said. "He still helps out."

She attributed the company's success to community involvement, which includes everyone from management to those who load the trucks. A strong work ethic also makes a difference.

Many men with the company find themselves loading heavy items in 108-degree heat, only to move on to the next job once that one ends.

"These guys are made of steel," she said. "Both mind and body. They really do a lot."

One such man of steel, Sam Sutton, has been with the company 28 years. As warehouse manager, he said his job is to keep things running smoothly and to protect the items people trust to the company's care.

He said he's seen changes with time, through the addition of the company's shredding business, The Back Office, to the start-up and sale of TruGreen and more. Those changes, however, brought lessons.

"I've learned how to adjust, and how to work with different personalities," Sutton said. "I've enjoyed it. I found a place where I enjoy my job and I stayed."

Tony Hernandez, who has worked with the company as a driver for 15 years, said he was glad to see it reach its milestone. In his role, he said he's seen all 48 contiguous states and enjoys being out on the road.

"Hopefully they'll keep putting up with me," he said, smiling.

Today, Armstrong Warehouse and Transfer is different than at its start.

While almost in its original location - years back it moved slightly over to allow space for the underpass - it has grown to about 28 employees and about 65,000 square feet.

As for what lies ahead, only time will tell. But Cain said Victoria's new growth and development make it an exciting place to do business.

"We're not going anywhere," she said.

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