International Motor Freight (IMF) prides itself on excellent customer service. The company handles freight delivery for clients of all sizes out of its seven-acre facility in Port Newark, New Jersey. When Hurricane Sandy struck the company’s 130-truck fleet in 2012, the impact was devastating. The family-owned business was determined, however, to quickly rebuild and resume operations.
Chris Grato remembers feeling shock and disbelief at the damage Sandy inflicted on the business, founded by his father, Louis, and uncles William and Stephen in 1987. He recalled the scene in vivid detail. “We came in to about 100 trucks with salt water damage or on fire,” he said. “Literally, as we were walking in, the trucks were up in flames. That was a sight.”
The next four days were a whirlwind for the IMF team. They started cleaning up the damage and making calls to family, friends and partners like Bank of America. “The rebuilding process started immediately,” said Chris. “Our bread-and-butter is trucks.” Employees disassembled and drained vehicles with standing water, successfully restoring 31 of the 130 trucks owned by the company. A line of credit from Bank of America enabled IMF to rent trucks from across the country and continue its work for customers.
The partnership between IMF and Bank of America dates back to 1997, but their connection was solidified in the aftermath of the hurricane. Chris had the bank on the phone in those first few days, strategizing how to get the business up and running again. Together, they turned IMF’s biggest challenge into its greatest opportunity. The company is working to expand the number of trucks it has on the road and move into a new, larger office building. They’re creating jobs, employing residents and serving businesses in New York and New Jersey.