Cross Island Trading: A Story of Success
Cross Island Trading Co., Inc. (CRITCO) was founded in 1972. Originally, our product line consisted of Rough Sawn Timber in various species, dowels in hardwood and softwood for manufacture of broom handles, mop handles, rake handles, and other "stick goods," and Dimension Stock and Mouldings.
As the years passed, we expanded our volume and market share in these areas. In addition, we added hardwood truck flooring which we supply to manufacturers of trucks and trailers, mouldings for other purposes such as picture frames, bulletin board and chalk board frames, easel and toy components, and further manufactured furniture components.
As the company passed its 20th anniversary, CRITCO president Ron O'Neil was spending more and more time traveling to our supply sources in Asia and Latin America. It became clear that we needed to establish a permanent office in certain areas. In the mid-1990's we established offices in Malaysia and Indonesia. Ron's son Dan O'Neil was installed to manage the overseas offices which are staffed by local workers. Dan joined Cross Island in 1992 after graduating from Columbia University with bachelor's degree in Economics. From the mid-1990's through today, Dan has spent most of his time in Malaysia and Indonesia and other Southeast Asian countries seeking new sources of supply, overseeing quality control at our various suppliers' factories, expediting shipment, and in general keeping his finger on the pulse of the market. (Dan was in Indonesia during the fall of Suharto and he had to hole up in the mountains until the situation stabilized.)
In 2002 CRITCO added residential flooring to our product line and established an office in Shanghai, China. This office also reports to Dan, and in fact, Dan now spends most of his time in China while continuing to oversee our operations in Malaysia and Indonesia.
In 2004, Jon Ackerman joined CRITCO and has been an invaluable asset to our team. He is involved in operations, office systems, sales management and customer service.
Over the years, we have further expanded our product line to include tool handles, wheelbarrow handles, flag sticks, flag poles, paint brush handles, components for safety gates, wood clothes dryers, and other hardware and houseware products.
Our headquarters are in White Plains, NY, where we maintain Administrative, Accounting, Sales and Traffic functions. Our Controller is Ms. Theresa Bensaia and our Traffic Manager is Mrs. Valerie Mellea. Each has over 15 years experience in their respective areas of responsibility.
We have sales and customer service offices in Yorba Linda, California. This office headed by Mr. Rick Conley, who have over 20 years experience in ocean shipping and lumber trading.
We continually strive to refine our operation in an effort to reach ever higher quality products, grow our market share and diversify into related products.
As most of our products are considered "commodities", the margins are thin and there is very little room for any type of error. For this reason we are very detail-oriented and do everything in our power to eliminate the possibility of error or surprise. We also have strict quality control systems in place, and all of our shipments are thoroughly inspected by our own Quality Assurance staff.
Importing is becoming more challenging and more complicated in the post 9/11 age. US Customs and Homeland Security rules are constantly changing and so we must be on top of the situation to anticipate, and strictly comply with, changing rules and regulations. We are members of C-TPAT (Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism).
Although the margins are thin and the challenge is great, nevertheless we are optimistic about the future and about expanding our product line and increasing our market share.