CHEERS — Hip Hip Hooray!
This column salutes REAP businesses that are
finding ways to increase their success.
Tony Gomez, Founder of Gomez Pallet Company
The impoverished life … this entrepreneur from
Mexico built his company from the ground up by seizing a business
Tony Gomez was born and raised in Mexico. In 1963, he came to the U.S. to
get out of the impoverished life he led and to find better opportunities for
himself and his wife. His first home in the U.S. was with an uncle in Elgin,
Illinois. Tony started his first job as a dishwasher for $1 an hour in
In 1970 Tony began working at Floyd Valley Packing for $2.65 an hour. He
noticed the plant was throwing away broken pallets and asked his supervisor
if he could take them home and fix them. Tony worked his 10-12 hour shift
during the day, and then at night he worked on the pallets in his garage.
When he was finished, he returned the pallets to the packing plant.
The packing plant closed less than a year after Tony began repairing
pallets. He was left jobless and unsure if finding another $2-$3 an hour job
somewhere else was the answer. Tony decided to try the pallet repair
business on a fulltime basis. In 1985, he approached IBP to strike a deal to
buy their broken pallets to repair and resell. He repaired 120-150 pallets a
day during his first year of operation.
Today, Tony’s business has grown to handling over 5,000 pallets a week
and now employs 15 people. His business has branched out to not only repair
used pallets and resell them, but also to sell new pallets. Tony has all the
equipment necessary to make and repair pallets in the 3000 sq. ft building
located west of his home near Jackson, Nebraska.
Tony has won many, many awards over the years for his accomplishments
both personally and professionally. He is listed in “Who’s Who Among Spanish
Americans,” received the Merit of Achievement from the United Way for his
personal dedication and contribution, and in 2001 was named “Man of the
Year” from the National Republican Congressional Commission, just to name a
few of his honors.
In addition, Tony attended the Business Plan Basics training in Spanish
through REAP in 2002 and has been an active supporter of REAP ever since.