Manufacturer Member Profile: Nashville Wire

Nashville Wire: Standing the Test of Time

By Nicole Needles

From generation to generation, dating back to the Great Depression, Nashville Wire has been organically shifting and becoming the success it is today. The company manufactures industrial storage solutions, designs OEM solutions and provides retail displays. From a tool and die shop operating out of an East Nashville garage, the company now has 1,300 associates and spans 12 manufacturing facilities. And the team is far from done.

Robert Rollins is a division manager at Nashville Wire, and his grandfather, Clark Barton Rollins, started the company in 1934. During this period, people were transitioning from wood and coal burning stoves to electric, and C.B. Rollins saw an opportunity to supply the local stove manufacturers with oven racks. Even today the company is still producing oven racks. Around the late ’70s, a customer came to Nashville Wire needing to create a shelving surface for their pallet rack. Nashville Wire took the component parts they were already making for industrial mesh containers and repurposed them to make what we now know as a wire deck. The rest is history.

“I wish I could say our expansion was the result of some grand vision or shrewd strategy, but in reality, I think if you look back on it, it was organic growth – the result of our existing customers growing their businesses and bringing us new opportunities,” Rollins said.

From its roots, the company was passed on to the 11 grandchildren of C.B. Rollins. Today, Robert Rollins and his three siblings are the owners. Rollins says they are a company of long-term thinkers, which shows from how the business has stood the test of time.

“We couldn’t care less about juicing quarterly or even annual returns if there was any chance of compromising our long-term results,” Rollins said. “We move cautiously and deliberately and operate with virtually no debt. We reinvest nearly all our profits right back into the business to keep our production processes on the cutting edge, our facilities in top condition and our employees happy.”

On top of this, the company is extremely customer-centric. As Rollins says, nothing defines you better than how you handle adversity. They address problems head on, making phone calls and coordinating with customers, seeking to fix the problem first, then later understanding what went wrong.

“One of the things that we think sets us apart is our dedication to being available by phone or in person,” Rollins said. “We know customers often want to hear a friendly, helpful voice and work through solutions in a more personal way.”

Along with the long-term experience of company employees, the company actively works to hire the younger generation that can bring new excitement to the day-to-day operations. The team’s managers are constantly adding fresh team members. The organization has new perspectives and vigor thanks to the younger managers and staff. One of the company’s strengths is the fusion of old wisdom with fresh concepts.

Merging the old with the new will propel Nashville Wire into its next years. Learning from past lessons and adopting new ways will help the company grow and accomplish its goals.

As for where Rollins sees the company five years from now? “A little bigger and a little better,” he said. “We come to work every day seeking to make incremental improvements in our business. It’s harder than it sounds.”