Asheville Crate Company Origin Story - How it all started

custom crates, asheville crate company

Always ask before using something that doesn't belong to you.  

When I was cleaning up our basement, I needed something to store all the wood scraps that were slowly taking over my workbench and the floor underneath.  

I searched around our house and found an empty plastic container in our storage closet.  Hey, it looked brand new!  Why wasn't anyone using it?  My wife Maranda wasn't home so I promptly took ownership of the container and threw all my wood scraps in and put it underneath the workbench. Perfect!

A couple days later she texted me to say she found all my sawdusty wood scraps in the container her Mom bought for her! Her plan was to put some of the clothes the kids had outgrown in the container and bring them to a local consignment shop. 

Oops.  Sorry, honey!  Out went the wood scraps and in went the clothing.  

After a week or so I found another empty plastic container in our entryway.  Hey, it looked brand new!  Why wasn't anyone using it? Maranda wasn't home so I promptly took ownership of the container AGAIN and threw all my wood scraps in and put it underneath the workbench. Perfect!

The next day she texted me to say she found all my sawdusty wood scraps in the laundry basket she used for the laundry! 

Oops.  Sorry, honey!  Out went the wood scraps and in went the laundry.  

And then I FINALLY had my light-bulb moment (took me long enough).  Why don’t I salvage some of the wood scraps I was desperate to get rid of and build my own container?  Brilliant, right?

So the next weekend I woke up way too early and built the biggest crate I could with the leftover scraps.  I used my jigsaw to make the handles and tiny nails held it all together.  I was so proud of my crate!  I sent pictures to friends and the responses (especially from my wife) were inspiring. 

"I need this!"

"Definitely want."

"Great job, now come over and build one for me!"

"Good job, hubby...thanks for thinking outside the box ;)"

Believe it or not, I didn't need to be hit over the head with a 2 x4 to realize I might be on to something. I spent the next couple weekends building prototypes for different sized crates and making tweaks and adjustments to the handles and labeling.  


I'm not ashamed to admit I put the handles on upside down the first time I built the Sweet Trey crate. And the supports were on the inside. But instead of fixing it I decided to keep it together as a reminder to always double check my work and never try and build stuff when I'm tired.  Or hungry.  

That original rickety crate still sits in the Crateville workshop today.

That's the story of how sawdusty scraps in our basement inspired the crates Asheville Crate Company proudly makes today. 

And how I learned to always ask before using.

Josh, Founder and CEO of Asheville Crate Company

Sales pitch for Chubbies from Asheville Crate Company

So we've decided to do things a little bit different.  And a lot more fun.  

Instead of the typical sales email to businesses that more than likely don't even get read, we've decided to reach out to businesses we'd like to partner with by creating sales pitch videos!

The short videos are very amateurish and choppy but they're filled with heart because we made them all by ourselves.  And as you'll see, we're not professional video YouTuber's.  But we are professional fun-havers...(that sounded kinda cheezy but I'm gonna go with it)

Asheville Crate Company

So here we go...

The first sales pitch is to the awesome company based out of San Francisco called Chubbies

I've had my eye on them for a couple years now, totally admiring everything they're doing with branding, marketing and their awesome products.  Going through the process of buying shorts a couple weeks ago was great, every step was perfect and they've really thought of everything.  

Since I discovered them a couple years ago, they've expanded to open a handful of retail stores across the country.  That's where Asheville Crate Company comes in...

Asheville Crate Company

Here's the vid...

Do It Different and Make it Fun - Asheville Crate Company

Did you know Colonel Sanders probably hand-painted this Asheville sign?  It's been on a roadside outside of Kentucky for over 50 years.  It's believed he painted it because he was trying to drive traffic to the Asheville area where he owned a hotel before starting KFC.



(I promise I get to the point of this blog post in paragraph 5:)

When it comes to marketing, there are two things I can't stand:  mailing lists and junk mail.  

That's why you'll never receive junk mail from Asheville Crate Company promoting our products.  My junk mail inbox is jammed with email marketing from companies I've purchased from and I never click on any of them.  Not because I don't like the business, but my mailbox is just too cluttered and I'm getting tired of deleting all the messages.  Some businesses swear by email marketing but we won't do it.  Are we losing sales because of it?  Maybe.  But I hate junk mail and I'm sure most of you do too. 

We collect your email address during checkout but only to notify you that your order has been received and then we notify you again to tell you it's been shipped and we offer the tracking number.  That's it.  We ship a business card with our crates and our brand is on every crate we send out so hopefully that's enough to remember who we are.  So far so good.  

My disdain for sales emails presents another problem a small business, we definitely wanna partner with other brands so one of the best ways is to email them and tell them a little about us.  Again, do other businesses even see our emails?  Maybe.  Maybe not. 

So this spring/summer we're gonna do a fun experiment.  We've got a few brands in mind who we'd LOVE to partner with so starting in a few days we'll reach out to them in a fun and creative way.  We're gonna be completely transparent and show you the process AND the results.  Maybe the brands will say yes and maybe they'll say no.  And maybe this will be a very humiliating experiment.  But that's OK too because it's gonna be all about the fun process :)

We'll be reaching out to the first brand in a few days.  

Thanks for following along!

Teacher Appreciation Week

Tuesday was truly our favorite day of the year because it's the day when we recognize teachers on teacher appreciation day with free custom engraved crates!

This is our second year giving crates to our kids teachers and we plan on doing it every single year from here on out.  

The kids will give the crates named after them, the Sid the Kid and the Sweet Trey and they'll stamp the bottoms with the Handmade in the USA stamp.  The kids really seem to enjoy it, especially when they get to write special notes to their teachers and put the in the crates too. 

This year was extra special because Trey has officially been promoted from Quality Control to Crate Stamper, he was a bit too young last year but this year his big sister showed him how to stamp.  Yay!

Teacher appreciation week, teacher appreciation day, asheville crate company

We'd like to thank our kids teachers and ALL of the teachers around the world who do such an awesome job educating our children.  There's always talk about pay grades and lack of supplies, and we totally understand those frustrations because there are numerous teachers in our family.  

You're appreciated year round, but this is the week when we get to show you our gratitude.  Thanks for all you do!


Asheville Crate Company

Tiger Woods at The Masters

When my Dad and I visited Augusta National Golf Club for the Monday practice round, we decided the golf course would be the star that day, not the players. 

We drove 4 hours and spent a few hundred bucks to see the beautiful course we had seen countless times on TV and if by chance we saw some of our favorite players, that would be an awesome bonus.  But we were really there to walk the grounds. 

Augusta National exceeded our expectations.  Way exceeded!  It was just so incredibly manicured, not a blade of grass was out of place and there wasn't a weed to be found anywhere.  We entered the gates when the course opened at 8:00am and walked for hours and hours, only stopping to try the pimento cheese sandwiches.  

Augusta National, Asheville Crate Company, The Masters

By 3:00pm we were both exhausted so we decided to make our way back up to the top of the course where the practice tee was to sit in the bleachers and watch some practice sessions.  And get some much needed rest.  

I stopped at an information booth to ask which way would be quickest to get to the practice tee and the gentleman said...'It's over that way, but it's gonna be packed because Tiger Woods is on his way.'  

Well then...hello awesome bonus.  

We quickly made our way up to the practice tee and there we saw the greatest golfer of all-time, he was at the end of the range bombing drivers into the distance, laughing and joking beside Fred Couples. Tiger was wearing a rose colored shirt and white Nike hat.  

Tiger Woods, Augusta National, the Masters
Augusta National, Tiger Woods, The Masters

I'm not gonna lie, I felt like a kid again.  I felt exactly the same way I did 10 years ago when my Dad and I saw Tiger in person for the first time at the US Open in San Diego.  The crowds started to gather, and we all just watched Tiger work through all the clubs in his bag. 

We weren't very close to him because the players were all at the front portion of the practice tee to save the grass for the tournament days later in the week.  But it was still pretty cool to see him even from this distance. 

Augusta National, Tiger Woods, The Masters
Augusta National, The Masters, Asheville Crate Company
Asheville Crate Company, The Masters, Augusta National

I could tell by the way Tiger was practicing that he wasn't there to work on his swing or fix any fundamentals, he was warming up his body to go play a practice round.  So my Dad told me to go follow him while he waited for me at the practice tee, he was just too exhausted to walk with me any more. 

The only problem with trying to follow Tiger to get a couple good pictures is the crowds are 3 and 4 deep, AND I didn't know if Tiger would be going out on the front or back nine. 

Ten years ago I learned the best thing to do is get a hole or two in front of Tiger and wait at one of the tee boxes to get super close, that's how I got this picture of him...

Asheville Crate Company, The Masters, Augusta National

And the only way to get a hole or two in front of him would be to guess which nine he was going to play.  I definitely needed the golf gods on my side.  

I instinctively walked halfway down the first fairway and put the zoom lens on my camera and watched the first tee box, waiting for any sign he would hopefully be playing the front nine.  If he decided to go play the back nine any chances of me getting a good picture would disappear. 

And then seconds later he appeared, the rose colored shirt and white Nike hat showed up in my camera lens and I gave a silent fist pump.  I guessed right!

So I immediately turned and walked super fast to the second tee box where I would stand and wait for him to show up in 15 minutes or so.  Another dude from Alabama had the same idea, so we were both speed walking up the first fairway talking about how awesome this all is.  

There are only two times in my life when I've high-five'd complete strangers....way back in the 80's when the Rolling Stones were in concert and I high-five'd a stranger on the way into the concert, and on this day when me and Alabama dude realized how close we'd be to the greatest golfer of all time in just a few minutes.  

I stood at the tee box waiting with eager anticipation.  Gosh, I'm nearly 50 yrs old and I was so freaken excited!  I had my camera at the ready.  

And then Tiger finished on the number one green and made his way to where we were all waiting.  Word had spread quickly Tiger was on the course so the crowds were already 3 and 4 deep but I was right at the front so I could watch him tee off and get some action shots.  

Augusta National, Asheville Crate Company, The Masters
Augusta National, The Masters, Asheville Crate Company
Asheville Crate Company, The Masters, Augusta National
Augusta National, The Masters, Asheville Crate Company
Augusta National, The Masters, Asheville Crate Company

After Tiger hit his tee shot, I quickly switched lenses so I could get a video of him walking right in front of me.  I fumbled around in my camera bag and somehow managed to get the lens attached just in time...I apologize for the salty language at the end but I was pretty excited :)

After Tiger walked by and I finished with my salty language, Alabama dude said...'Heck yeah, I've seen I'm taking my happy ass home!'  

Me too, Alabama too.  

Asheville Crate Company at The Masters

A few years ago my Dad and I got stopped at the gate when we tried driving down Magnolia Lane at The Masters. 

Yesterday we finally saw Magnolia Lane from the INSIDE when we went to the Monday Practice round at Augusta National.  

When we got home last night, we calculated we'd been gone nearly 19 hours, about nine of those hours were driving from North Carolina to Augusta, Georgia.  

We bought our tickets off StubHub.  We've both been entering the lottery for tickets to the Masters but neither one of us ever won, so this year we decided to take matters into our own hands and have my ad fly down for a visit and buy tickets off the internet.  

We were prepared to pay high prices, but we actually got tickets for a couple hundred bucks, which was far lower than we thought we'd pay after it was common knowledge Tiger Woods would be there this year.  

The first thing I'd like to acknowledge about when we arrived at Augusta National is how awesome it was parking was free.  It was FREE!!  I immediately held resentment for Dolly Parton at Dollywood for charging $10 per car at her amusement park.  It's just so awesome the membership at the Masters doesn't try making a few extra million even though it easily could over the seven days of the tournament.  

I'd like to write about every single detail of Augusta National but I'd be here all day.  Also, my words probably won't be able to describe just how incredibly beautiful it was when I looked around and saw the pure greenery, the foliage, shrubs, trees and pine straw all manicured to perfection.  Augusta National is a golf course but it also feels like a nursery or botanical garden. 

Augusta National, Asheville Crate Company, The Masters
Augusta National, Asheville Crate Company, The Masters
Augusta National, The Masters, Asheville Crate Company
Augusta National, Asheville Crate Company, The Masters
Augusta National, Asheville Crate Company, The Masters
Augusta National, Asheville Crate Company, The Masters
Augusta National, Asheville Crate Company, The Masters
Augusta National, Asheville Crate Company, The Masters
Augusta National, The Masters, Asheville Crate Company
Augusta National, Asheville Crate Company, The Masters
Augusta National, Asheville Crate Company, The Masters
Augusta National, The Masters, Asheville Crate Company

By around 2:30 or 3, my Dad and I were getting pretty tired after walking endlessly up and down the hilly course for 6 or 7 hours.  We were ready to just sit at the practice tee to get some rest but then this happened...

Tiger Woods entered the grounds.  

Augusta National, Asheville Crate Company, The Masters

The entire mood at the course shifted, and so did the crowds.  Everyone wanted a glimpse of Tiger.  Luckily, we had decided to go to the practice tee before we knew he was gonna be there so we were close to the front.  

I got my second wind.  I felt like a kid again seeing the greatest of all-time up close.  I decided I would try and follow Tiger for a few holes before the day was out...

To be continued..

Don't Follow the Money - Asheville Crate Company Shipping Crates

My Dad always gave great advice.  One of my favorites was 'the world doesn't owe you a living.'  

Another one I really liked was 'don't follow the money.'  He meant do something you love, and if you get really good at it the money will follow.  We had to hark back to this advice over the past couple weeks when we decided whether or not to enter the shipping crate market.  

Because of our name, we've fielded numerous requests over the past couple years for shipping crates but each time I had to tell disappointed potential customers we're only in the gift crate business.  Until now. 

We've made the decision to enter the domestic shipping crate business.  It just makes sense.  Clearly there's a market for it based on the calls we've taken but we had to decide if it was something we'd enjoy.  Turns out we do!  There's a lot of creativity and ingenuity involved when it comes to building the perfect shipping crate for a client.  And we can make them look pretty too!  

Our first client is Advanced Superabrasives Inc. in Mars Hill, North Carolina.  We've made three different sized domestic shipping crates that are all pallet ready and easily hold their 200 lb products.  And did you know one of their products is on Mars helping to search for life and water?  Awesome stuff!

We're looking forward to working with them and other individuals or businesses who need products shipped.  

shipping crate, Asheville Crate Company
shipping crates, Asheville Crate Company

How Asheville Crate Company Helps Realtors

Hello.  If you're a realtor in North Carolina, especially towards the Eastern part of the State, you can expect a cold-call or email from Asheville Crate Company in the next week or so.  I really dislike cold-calling and emailing...not many people like to be encouraged to buy something on the phone or email.  I'm not even sure how effective it is but we're gonna try.  

So apologies in advance for spamming your inbox...but it's not really spamming, it's presenting an opportunity.  

We've worked closely branding crates for The Matt & Molly Team here in Western North Carolina for a long time, the feedback from their outstanding realty team and their clients has been awesome.  Now we're looking to expand our services to realtors on the Eastern part of the State.  Once we partner with a realtor, we ensure that realtor becomes priority number one in that region.  I guess you could say space is limited.  

We've created a branding/sales page for potential realtor clients.  So again...apologies in advance for buggin' you, we're just excited to start helping your brand.  


Game-changer for Asheville Crate Company

There are moments in life we'll always remember.  Momentous occasions that establish who we are and where we've been.  Some are simple memories, some are game-changers.  

Like you, I've had my share of both.  I'm into leaving a legacy, creating and doing things so my kids can look back at their Daddy one day and say...'Yup, he was pretty cool.'  

A game-changer for me was about 15 or 20 years ago when I made a decision to just go for it.  I hired a graphic designer to put together a handful of feature articles, sidebars, photos and quotes all created by me for a junior golf magazine I called Golf Scratch.  First of all, the name was all wrong.  I should have called it Scratch Golf...but that's part of the learning process.  

When the first issue came off the printing press, my Dad and I drove around all day in his van and delivered my creation to various golf courses and facilities.  It was a game-changer for me.  

I eventually parlayed that experience into some pretty cool writing gigs for high-profile teams and websites.  

At Asheville Crate Company, EVERY customer is awesome to us.  When you make a decision to purchase a crate, that means we've established your trust that we're gonna make something you want.  

When Congressional Country Club contacted me about eight months ago, I literally asked the caller...'Are you really calling from Congressional?'  

Congressional is a game-changer for this business because they opened the door to a new market we weren't in eight months ago.  A market I first entered about 15 years ago with the help of my Dad and his van.  

So thanks, Congo.  Thanks for keeping me in the game.  

New Color Options for Asheville Crate Company

Sometimes change is good.  And it's definitely always good to try to turn a negative into a positive.

I did a Facebook post yesterday about how we had to issue our first refund after being in business for two years.  The customer didn't request a refund but she did voice her concerns over the white wash pickling crate we sent her; she was hoping it would be a darker white.  

White wash pickling has always been a tricky color.  Depending on the piece of wood, sometimes it shows up great and sometimes it's non-existent, even after a second coat.  

So we decided to turn a negative into a positive by changing up the color options available on the site.  

We've kept the four most popular colors:  American Walnut, Colonial Pine Vermont Maple and Pearl Gray and we've replaced some colors with five new ones.  

Gone are White Wash Pickling, Driftwood and Wood Rose.

Say hello to Cherry Blossom, Coffee, Deep Ocean, Green Tea and Pure White. 

These new water-based stain colors by Minwax are bolder, happier and much better for engraving.  We hope you like them!  I'll post a pic of the new white crate we're shipping out to our unhappy customer soon...we hope to turn that frown upside down! 


Who We Are

Asheville Crate Co.™ began in the Fall of 2016.

The idea that building crates might be a good business opportunity arose when its founder (Josh) built a tiny storage crate to hold all of the scrap pieces of wood that were slowly taking over his workshop.  His wife (Maranda) wouldn’t let him use any of the hard plastic containers in the house because she was already using them all, so instead of buying more plastic he took matters into his own hands and built his own wooden crate.

That was back in 2016.  Today his storage crates can be found in almost every room of their house storing batteries, electronics, baking supplies, craft supplies, spray paint, kindling, shoes, paperwork, shipping supplies and of course, scrap pieces of wood.

The original four crates are named after the Asheville Crate Co. family...Big Daddy, Maranda, Sid the Kid and Sweet Trey.  The square MooMoo milk crate, Plum crate and TooBits came later, as well as the Leroy Pet Crate and Club Crates™ for golf practice facilities.  All of the Eastern White Pine or Iowa Cedar crates can be custom engraved with names or business logos and customers can choose eight different stain colors.

Their motto is Deliver Happiness.  It's now the beginning of 2018 and Asheville Crate Co. has delivered happiness to almost every state in the country and numerous corporate partners through their website and Amazon.  The Asheville Crate Company family is about more than selling crates, it's about the journey of a family and its business growing up together.  

Asheville Crate Company is:

Josh, Founder and Crate Builder

Sid the Kid, Crate Stamper

Sweet Trey, Quality Control

Maranda, Crate Deliverer


Grateful Crateful - Asheville Crate Company Corporate Gift Crates

I'm not sure why I've been thinking about corporate gifts lately..  I guess it's because over the holidays I heard about some pretty good ones and some not so good ones.  

The best gift I ever received was from eBay in the mid-2000's when they were flush with cash and spending it on their employees.  The pop machine in the lunchroom was free and we got bagels delivered to our desks every week.  I also gained weight while I worked there but that's not the point of this blog.  One year they decided to give everyone a USB flash-drive emblazoned with the eBay logo, it was an AWESOME corporate gift because I still use it today!

That's how I feel about crates from Asheville Crate Company.  

One of the most common types of feedback I get about our crates is people love them because they can customize them and put other things inside the crates if they want.  So the recipient is not only getting a cool custom crate they can keep and use forever, they're getting the swag inside it too!

So if you're a boss and you're on the internets searching for corporate gift ideas for your valuable employees, please keep Asheville Crate Company in mind.  Our crates can be engraved with the names of your employees or with your business logo or BOTH!  We'll offer your business a volume discount and maybe we'll even put 'em in the van and deliver them right to your door if you're in shouting distance of Asheville.  

And we can guarantee they're much healthier than free pop.  

Asheville Crate Company, corporate gift

Golf Club Crates for Congressional

It sure doesn't feel like golfing weather.  It's a balmy 10 degrees F this morning as we go all in on the Golf Club Crates Congressional Country Club ordered last month.  

We've got 60 to build, with the Congressional word mark engraved on both sides and a double coat of stain and water sealant for all of them.  Now that the Holiday season has passed, we've got time to double our efforts and get these in the van and delivered to Bethesda, M.D. before the spring golfing season starts.  

To save on costs, we offered to load these up and hand deliver them to Congressional ourselves instead of bulk shipping through USPS or UPS.  We're looking forward to the drive over to Maryland to see the course where Rory McIlroy won a US Open and where Tiger Woods hosted his annual tournament.  

 Rory McIlroy at Congressional (photo courtesy SkySports)

Rory McIlroy at Congressional (photo courtesy SkySports)


There's a rich history at Congressional, their Wiki page is pretty impressive in terms of past and current members.  It'll definitely be a great honor to have our Asheville Crate Company Club Crates in use at both of their practice facilities.  

We'll be blogging and vlogging about the journey so check back to follow our adventure!

(PS...we offered to bring Sydney and Trey along on the journey to Maryland as sort of a 'bring your kids to work day' but they both said no cuz they'd rather stay home and play with dolls)