SALUTE TO INDUSTRY: JC Colley known for trucking, wants to build community too

Published 8:00 am Saturday, January 27, 2024

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While JC Colley LLC has been operating for over a decade, the company is still just getting started.

Owner and Chambers County native Jeremy Colley had a career in the military, serving and then as a contractor in the Middle East for 8 years. Family brought him back home to Valley, where he happened into the world of trucking.

“I had to find a way to survive. So I started trucking,” said Colley. “We just started from the ground up. I actually bought a couple of trucks and started service and auto parts.”

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The business has branched out from not only auto parts but to fabric and decorations, plastics and water.

“Jo-Ann’s at Opelika, that’s our biggest customer. We haul their product to their stores,” Colley explained. “For auto parts, we haul parts. Say there’s seats or seat backs, we haul those pieces and parts here to KIA Parkway, Hyundai Transys, to assemble the seat.”

Today, the company has 26 trucks with as many drivers and over 30 employees total, many of them local.

“Most of our drivers are from here locally. Because when they finish their route, they leave out Sunday, Monday and they’ll get back Thursday, Friday. They’ll come right back here,” Colley said.

The drivers that spend days at a time on the road are called OTR, or Over the Road, drivers. Most of the drivers employed at JC Colley are OTR drivers. Colley said that they transport all over the country. However, they do have drivers that have a more traditional workday.

Recently, the company has bought a pair of dump trucks, an excavator and a dozer, which will be used for what Colley hopes is the future of the business, land development. Perhaps a more appropriate term would be community development.

Colley said the slogan that the company puts on its dump trucks is “Building Community Through Development.” The company has also acquired land over the past couple of years. The land was meant for a new truck terminal, but Colley and his team quickly realized it had potential as something else.

“The interstate property that we bought, we had 50 people stop when we were clearing and ask, ‘Hey, what is this going to be? Is this for sale?’ I said, ‘Wow, this has got potential’,” Colley recalled.

They decided to forgo the terminal at the location and instead develop the land to sell. When they bought another parcel of land for the terminal, people came, asking the same questions.

The new machinery will be used to prepare the land to be sold to commercial developers.

Colley hopes to get to a point where the company can take bids for building warehouses as well. They came close to a deal for warehousing in Auburn, but it fell through.

The aim is to have full integration, not solely acting as the transportation of goods, but building warehouses where the goods can live while in transit.

“We’re not just going to let anybody buy. We’ve got to have a little bit of control as to who buys it. So that’s kind of what we meant by building community through development,” Colley said.

Community comes up often when Colley speaks about his business. A reason the company is branching out is to create more jobs for locals, a point of pride for the business owner.

“We want to give back to the community. It’s home,” Colley said.

For parents and student-athletes, it is likely the JC Colley is familiar, having seen their logo on various jerseys and banners for youth sports.

“There’s things that we sponsored that I didn’t even know existed. I mean, we sponsor baseball, travel baseball, football, bass fishing,” Colley laughed. “We probably sponsor badminton too.”

The company also puts its name on various tournaments, church and community events.

JC Colley LLC rarely says no to people, according to Colley.

Since starting 10 years ago, the business has come a long way. Colley lauds his employees for much of JC Colley’s success.

“It’s taken a lot of hard work to get to where we are now,” Colley said.

When asked what he wanted people to know about the company, he reiterated the sentiment.

“I don’t feel like truck drivers get the respect that they deserve … These truck drivers that are out there four and five days a week,” Colley said.

He recalls just in the past couple of weeks when drivers would send videos of the 26 inches of snowfall in Iowa and Illinois. Many had trouble even opening the door to the truck’s cab and had to be delayed for days.

“That’s what I’d like for people to know, that truck drivers deserve a lot of respect,” Colley said.