Pallet Express and Woodscape are family-owned and operated enterprises. They are operated by four brothers, a father, and cousins.
Jeff Streadbeck founded Pallet Express in 1993 after having worked with his brother, Dave, in a landscaping business in Virginia. When he moved back to Utah, Jeff worked at another pallet company, along with his other brothers, Mike and Jon. Mike and Jon repaired pallets while Jeff drove a truck. This was the Streadbecks’ introduction to the pallet industry.
"We learned many good things in working for another pallet company," Mike recalled, "but we also learned many things we did not want to perpetuate in our company."
Subsequently, Jeff left to start his own pallet company. He was joined by Dave, who by this time had also returned from Virginia. They eventually brought Mike and Jon into the business. Their father, Larry, a civilian employee of the Air Force, was instrumental in working behind the scenes during the early years. "He kept us legal," Jeff said. "He made sure the taxes got paid and the computer worked." Larry joined his sons in the business after retiring from the Air Force in 1998.
The brothers range in age from the mid-to-late 20s through the mid-40s. . The family has roots in Utah that go back generations — the Streadbecks’ ancestors arrived in the state with the Mormon migration.
The brothers initially went their separate ways after high school. Jon and Mike furthered their educations at Weber State University in Utah.
When Jeff was a driver for another pallet company, it had tried repeatedly to get a certain major account without success. Jeff approached his boss and asked for permission to attempt to get them in, but he was discouraged from trying because his boss had been personally rebuffed at least twice. Jeff was successful in getting the contract for them and started working on-site with a small crew. Soon, however, problems arose between the customer and the pallet company’s home office, which constantly caught Jeff and his crew ‘in the middle.’ When it became apparent that the ties were going to be cut, the customer approached Jeff about working for them directly in the same capacity but as an employee. Jeff considered the offer but declined. Later he asked the customer about submitting his own bid and was encouraged to do so. He approached his boss about going out on his own, and his boss encouraged him until he learned that Jeff was considering submitting a bid for the company’s customer. He fired Jeff immediately and told him he would never make it on his own. The next day, the customer gave the pallet supplier one week’s notice that it was terminating its contract, and the company accepted Jeff’s bid and awarded a contract to him. Pallet Express was launched, offering pallet repair services to its first customer. Mike continued working for Jeff’s original employer, and Jon subsequently worked for the pallet supplier, but after a couple of years they both joined Jeff at Pallet Express.
The company started with a flatbed truck, and the brothers worked on-site for customers prior to leasing their first facility. Pallet Express later bought land and a building in Salt Lake City and have added adjoining parcels for a total of 8 acres. In about 2002 the Pallet Express family started a new business Woodscape of Utah, making wood landscaping products, colored mulches, play ground chip, horse bedding, and more. Then in 2012 they partnered with M.R. Wilde and Sons Farm and Ranch to begin creating compost.