Delivering Timeless Traditions from the Hills of North Carolina

December 24, 2020

Delivering Timeless Traditions from the Hills of North Carolina

Thermo King® Customer Bottomley Enterprises greens up the holidays for millions of people across the United States each year

For many people, the holidays are simply not complete without a traditional tree, wreath, garland, swag, or some type of tabletop greenery – the fresh evergreen smells are often that final touch that make gatherings with family and friends memorable. And while millions flock to their local box stores for these holiday treasures, the odds are good that the products originated from the Blue Ridge Mountains and were delivered with love by Thermo King customer Bottomley Enterprises.

“Our farm ships to large box retailers, the who’s who of retailers,” said Ken Kaelin, president of Bottomley Enterprises, the transportation arm for Bottomley Evergreens and Farms, which has been producing exceptional quality and service for nearly 30 years.

What started out as a small family farming business in the hills of North Carolina has grown to produce a large variety of vegetables – think cabbage, corn, cilantro, collards, sweetcorn, pumpkins, green beans, and more, that feed consumers throughout the U.S. It also became one of the largest suppliers of holiday greenery in the eastern United States.

The farming business led to the creation of Bottomley Enterprises in 2004 as founder Mitchell Bottomley fulfilled his dream of owning his own trucking company. While the businesses operate separately, Bottomley Enterprises still hauls the farm’s products.

From its beginning, Bottomley Enterprises has depended on Thermo King refrigeration units to preserve the quality of the home-grown products it transports. “The company started with just a couple tractors and trailers. Today, we are running a fleet of 70 tractors and 120 refrigerated trailers – all with Thermo King Precedent® S-600 units and a few legacy units that are used at the farm,” said Ken.

“That number represents 40 percent growth within the past 15 months alone. Our trucking arm has enjoyed fast growth through our great culture, solid customer base and dedicated employees who understand that service is everything. All of this has really allowed for an exciting evolution for our companies.”

Service is King

Indeed, service is king for the Bottomley businesses, “and that’s a big reason why we have always chosen Thermo King to protect our products,” said Mitchell, who owns the company with his mother, Martha. “We are proud Thermo King users – it’s the only unit we have because we can depend on them. We love our Thermo King units.”

The company not only depends on the refrigeration capacity of the units but also the telematics technology built into each unit. “We count on the TracKing® telematics,” said Ken. “The scrutiny of food safety and the ability to have visibility throughout the supply chain is like quenching a thirst for shippers. It helps us keep insurance and liability costs down. It offers remote setting control. It helps us track each load. It’s essential these days.”

Beyond the product is the service Bottomley receives from its home dealer Thermo King Central Carolinas and the entire Thermo King dealer network. “The partnership we get from Ben Cox, our service representative, is outstanding – he really is an extension of our employee team. He helps us manage our equipment and maintenance needs, and he provides our drivers with the product and operational information they need to run the unit efficiently – and keep our products safe. Thermo King Central Carolinas also takes care of our reefer service work, ensuring the equipment is tuned up and ready to go – this is wildly helpful to us. And if service is needed when our 120 team drivers are out on the road, we have an entire network to call on – that is added peace of mind,” said Ken. 

Peace of mind is particularly important this time of year, when so many are depending on a fresh selection of trees and greenery at their local stores so they can decorate their homes with traditional holiday décor. The Bottomley family is poised to continue delivering for the long haul having recently opened a 33,000 square foot new trucking terminal in Mount Airy, North Carolina, that will accommodate many years of growth and create new jobs.

“They have built a legacy – in both their farming business and the long-haul refrigerated transport business, and it truly is a pleasure to partner with them and see their continued successful growth,” said Ben.