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How Not To Go Out Of Business

I think every business manager should have to take a course on going out of business with dignity. We've seen many examples of companies going under through this recession. Some have done it the right...

I think every business manager should have to take a course on going out of business with dignity. We’ve seen many examples of companies going under through this recession. Some have done it the right way, by notifying customers and employees and then winding down operations in an orderly manner.

Others have just disappeared, locked the doors and let disgruntled ex-employees, stiffed suppliers and neglected customers spread the word for them. I’ve heard many horror stories. One company apparently put its entire facility up for sale while its employees were still laid off indefinitely and patiently awaiting their return to work. One such employee told me he was browsing through his local paper and saw that his workplace was up for sale, and that’s how he found out he no longer had a job to return to.

Of all the closures and bankruptcies that this devastating recession has left in its wake, the sudden shutdown of Arrow Trucking in the States takes the cake.

Just three days before Christmas, the 1,400-truck fleet suddenly ceased operations, leaving as many as 1,000 drivers scattered across the country with suspended fuel cards and instructions only to turn their truck in to the nearest dealership.

Some of these drivers were literally living in their trucks and effectively left homeless. Others had no way to get themselves or their gear (they were flatdeckers) home, although Freightliner and Navistar were offering $200 travel vouchers and/or Greyhound bus tickets in exchange for their rigs. It was truly a nightmare.

But this story does have a happy ending. As word of Arrow’s demise spread, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) and staff of its Land Line magazine set into action, establishing a Facebook site to help connect stranded Arrow drivers with others who could offer them a ride.

Big fleets such as Swift and Schneider instructed their drivers via their in-cab communications devices to assist any Arrow drivers in need of help and to give them a lift if they’re headed in their direction.

The Facebook site went viral, as the kids say, and overnight had blossomed to over 1,000 postings offering assistance ranging from rides to warm meals, showers and in some cases even a few bucks.

The Arrow incident demonstrated a few things. One, to repeat my opening line, every business manager should be trained on how to go out of business tactfully and with class. Professors could even use Arrow as an example on how not to do it.

The other thing the Arrow closure demonstrated was that social media is an increasingly important medium, yes, even for professional drivers. Had it not been for the quick-thinking OOIDA staff and the wherewithal of many professional drivers and their families to visit Facebook, it would have been nearly impossible to coordinate efforts to help stranded Arrow drivers and get them home safely. Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have surpassed the ability of even the time-tested CB radio when it comes to connecting professional drivers on a large scale.

And the third, and perhaps most important, thing we can all learn from the Arrow fiasco, is that professional drivers still look out for one another.

It’s a pity it took a major catastrophe to serve as a reminder, but the overwhelming response to OOIDA’s initiative shows that when you’re down and out, you can still count on a fellow driver to give you a hand up.

-James Menzies can be reached by phone at (416) 510-6896 or by e-mail at

You can also follow him on Twitter at

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3 Comments » for How Not To Go Out Of Business
  1. Rick Cressler says:

    I think the best way to handle the people responsible for this is to find out EVERYONE that had a hand in this fiasco and NEVER let these people back in the industry to even mop a floor! The board of directors and company executives that orchestrated this mess will no doubt be looking elsewhere for employment and another company to destroy. Let’s make sure they don’t get the opportnity! If one of those drivers decided to “retire” and abandon a piece of equipment like these people abandoned their employee’s, they’d be blacklisted! Time for turnabout and fair play!

  2. john says:

    It is a shame for a company like arrow to do what they did and that is a slap in the face to the employees that help them become the company they were. I have come up with a program for all O/O that have their authority that while using my freight services it will cost only $150.00 per month w/unlimited loads paid to the truck at 100%. I’m not doing this for the money but to give what the drivers are due to them so they can stay in business w/out having to worry about their next bill to pay the greedy.

  3. billy greathouse says:

    What scares me about the whole thing is will the owner of ARROW open another business elsewhere and do it again? We need to get it where he can never open another business of anykind. If he will do it once he will do it again. Make him sell his huge luxury home to compensate these drivers and the companies that was kind enough to step up and give a helping hand. This is what makes the whole industry look bad. The ceo’s and all of the bigshots of ARROW should have to pay for what they done.

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