When it comes to shipping goodies around the world, Santa Claus isn’t the only master of transportation. DTI Logistics relocated to St. Clements in October after spending 17 years in business in New Hamburg.CEO Belinda Beaulne worked in the transportation industry doing accounting work before opening her own business.
“I realized there were customers that were lacking true customer service and that there was a niche here that the market really wasn’t focusing on,” Beaulne said.
DTI operates as a freight broker. This means they’ve built relationships with thousands of carriers all over North America who provide them with different rates and services they can offer to clients. It’s all about matching the customers’ needs, she adds.
“We have customers where the only thing that matters is price,” Beaulne said. “It could be another customer that’s an expedite. We do an awful lot of expediting.”
What makes their company especially handy for St. Clements residents is they can ship farm equipment, and supplies where needed. The only thing they don’t ship is livestock.
“If a farmer buys a new piece of equipment and he buys it from the States or he buys it from out west or he’s got straw that he wants to ship, all of those things will go on a flatbed,” Beaulne explained.
She said they’ve become established because of their service. Some of their customers have been with them ever since they started. Others have stopped using their services and then returned. DTI essentially is the middleman for shippers and customers. If someone is looking to ship something they send DTI their order and then DTI takes over.
“We are the ones that contact the customer, let the customers know when they can expect it, if there are any problems or concerns to call us, not to call the company that is actually shipping the order because they’ve got things to do,” Beaulne said. “That’s where it’s an extension of each person’s corporation.”
When she looked into opening the business she said there were other brokerage companies but they weren’t doing the same thing as what DTI does. Their services allow companies to save time and focus on what their business is doing.
DTI grew to where it hit its maximum capacity in 2004. This lasted until the recession and the business had to be reorganized. She said she’d like to bring the business back to that pre-recession level.
“Short-term we would like to probably hire a salesperson and grow more in the niche markets that we have. It’s our customers that drive us to where our niches are,” Beaulne said.
President Ross Gingrich is returning home with the move of DTI. Originally from Elmira, Gingrich is a mechanic by trade. Working with customers on a daily basis has taught him different skills.
“I learned to really hear what people are saying, in understanding what their needs are,” Gingrich said. It’s helped me to better communicate.”
Beaulne said this business has helped her understand that everyone’s needs are different, a lesson she takes with her in her personal life, too.
“It’s not about the business; it’s about what we can do for them,” Beaulne said. “That’s a good feeling because really what you’re doing is helping somebody.”
She said it’s all about finding the best solution for each customer because no two customers are alike.
The decision to move the business to St. Clements came from a personal reason: Beaulne was diagnosed with cancer in 2013.
“My cancer is incurable so I needed to find a home that was a bungalow,” Beaulne said. “And my mom was going to be moving in with us so I needed a home that was going to allow for her to move in, as well.”
She said this allows her to care for her mom now and for her mom to care for her when she’s sick. Beaulne became ill in 2009, but was misdiagnosed until 2013. She finished treatment in June of this year and is now in remission.
“I had pretty much stretched myself to the max,” Beaulne said. “I had too many businesses and I knew something was wrong. I went from 2009 to 2013 not knowing what was going on.”
She focused on managing the business and being able to maintain it while slowly growing. The cancer diagnosis is something that linked her with Gingrich.
Gingrich was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in 2011. While he was going through treatment he wasn’t working, so he learned the business side of DTI. He started working for the company in 2012.
Beaulne said she’d like to move their business to their own building eventually and over the next few years, if it’s manageable, she hopes to add another five employees for sales and operations.
“We’ll search for employees that are in the area in comparison to outside the area first,” Beaulne said.
It’s a relatively slow time of year for them, so they’re on the road delivering Christmas gifts to their clients from Peterborough to London for the first two weeks of December.
“That gives us an opportunity to meet them and that’s basically the only time we see them,” Beaulne said. “We’ll spend that time finding out if there’s any concerns, and suggestions, any new opportunities that need to be considered for the New Year.”
The public is welcome to check out DTI’s new digs on 3585 Lobsinger Line at their open house on December 19.