Appreciating all that makes America special

Americana: FedEx

FedEx has grown from a fledgling delivery service to 280,000 employees and over $25 billion in assets. Uploaded by

It’s unusual for a company to occupy a place on this list. Not that there aren’t some that deserve the recognition; it’s just that most businesses have some negatives that may seem to cancel out the positives. Of course, no business is perfect, and neither is FedEx, but it did something unusual and important. It created a whole new category of business – overnight delivery.

Fred Smith founded the company in 1971 in Little Rock. The story goes that he didn’t get the support he needed from the Little Rock airport, so he moved his operations to Memphis. Great vision, there, Little Rock.

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At first, overnight service was available to only 25 cities in the country. But when airline routes were deregulated, FedEx not only expanded its service but also the size of its airplanes. The company bought seven Boeing 727-100s, on the way to becoming the second-largest fleet in the world.

Ironically, one of the company’s largest customers is one it almost put out of business. The U.S. Postal Service uses FedEx to deliver its Express Mail and Priority Mail. The deal lasts until 2013 and is why you’ll find FedEx boxes at most post office locations.

The original FedEx is now FedEx Express, just one of many divisions of the company. Among these are FedEx Ground, FedEx Freight, and FedEx Office (formerly known as Kinko’s). It now employs more than 280,000 people, and has assets in excess of $25 billion. Like that, Little Rock?


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