The Croft Family
For over 80 years the Croft family has been patenting, inventing and selling trailers, parts and accessories. Four generations later, the company is still family-owned. Our success is owed to the innovative spirit of our founders, George and Lena Croft, and their descendants that continue to follow their lead.
The First Generation
Farmer, inventor, salesman and manufacturer, George A. Croft was a man of many talents. George was born and raised on a farm near Fairfield, Nebraska, and gradually worked his way up to owning farms spread across Nebraska to Texas. Because George traveled so often between farms, he started selling parts to gas stations and mechanic shops. The natural salesman, George started to change routes his commutes between farms in order to find new clients. During this time he began inventing trailer parts, even getting a patent for towing hitches in 1935. In 1939, he bought a building off Truman Road in Kansas City, now known as our Truman location, and founded Croft Trailer & Hitch Company (which now operates as Croft Trailer Supply, Inc.). The business grew as George continued to stay one step ahead of the competition with new inventions, one of which was the H-3 coupler, which is still manufactured and sold today. George was also an innovator in rental trailers, being one of the first to start renting trailers to customers.
The saying, “Behind every successful man is a good woman,” was certainly true of Ester Lena Croft. George’s wife was loving, gracious, hardworking and helpful, both in the business and at home. Lena accompanied George on sales trips all across the U.S., especially after the couple had a daughter together. Lena is remembered for making sure everything ran smoothly. Despite having friends and family all across the 48 states, Lena never forgot to send a birthday card. Her punctual and polite nature made sure everyone they encountered felt like part of the Croft family.
The Second Generation
Iris Croft, later Iris Dougherty, got her first taste of sales while accompanying her parents on sales trips. At a young age, Iris showed an exceptionally entrepreneurial spirit. She made and sold little cards to the same gas stations that her father would sell to. Iris began working at Montgomery Ward as a purchasing agent, but had to quit after becoming pregnant. Eventually, Iris went back to work, this time helping George start the family business. She joined in Croft’s rental store operation. It was there that she distinguished herself as a pioneer in the party rental industry, winning awards and leading seminars.
Originally a California native raised on a chicken farm, Walt Dougherty met Iris in Wichita, KS while working as a field manager with Nationwide Trailer Rental System. In 1957 he married Iris, and started his career with Croft Trailer Supply. He became president of the company in 1975 after George retired. Walt was also an inventor, and contributed numerous inventions still in production today. Walt also contributed to the company’s success through his management skills and development of our product catalogs and sales flyers.
The Third & Fourth Generations
Sandy Jones-Allen is Croft Trailer Supply’s current President and CEO. The granddaughter of George Croft, Sandy officially joined the company in 1968. After years of working under George and Walt, Sandy took over control of the company. Just like her mother Iris, Sandy shows us that a woman can achieve great success in a male dominated industry. Under Sandy’s leadership, the family business continues to be successful, building new relationships and expanding Croft Trailer Supply’s reputation not just in and around the Kansas City area, but across the nation.
Sandy’s daughter Susan Adolphsen is Croft Trailer Supply’s current Vice-President. Susan, who started in with the company in 2003, has become an integral part of the company. She was instrumental in Croft gaining a Women Owned Business Certification in the State of Missouri and managed the roll-out of our website. Susan continues to bolster the company with her hard work and dedication.