History of E.C. Griffith Co.
The E.C. Griffith Company and the Second Generation
|In 1923 Griff married Frances Rudy and they had five children, three boys and two girls: E.C., Jr., known as Sonny, David, Francie, Jimbo and Sally. After struggling to pay off his loans and keeping the business afloat, Griff taught his sons not to take risks and to seldom borrow money, the opposite of his original business philosophy.
The first of Griffith’s sons came on board in 1946. E.C. “Sonny” Griffith Jr. just was finishing his tour in the Air Force during World War II. David Griffith also joined the E.C Griffith Company and after a brief stint in the Navy, he operated an insurance business within company for a short time. Griff had set a clear direction for Sonny and future generations to come; pay down debt and don’t take chances. As a result, the company was virtually free of debt and any development was done with cash. Later in 1955 James R. “Jimbo” Griffith came on board after a 4 year tour with the U.S. Air force in Europe. Griff trained Jimbo Sr. to look after operations while E.C. Jr. aided in marketing of lots and operated a construction company that built many of the elegant houses in Eastover – most notably 517 Museum Drive the residence of E.C. and Francis Griffith fondly known as Nanny and Poppy to their grandchildren. The conservative efforts of the second Generation led the company to explore the underserved medical office market, brokering build to suits and leases with Charlotte Medical Clinic, Miller Orthopedic, Nalle Women Specialty Clinic (now REACH). This pioneering spring boarded a segment of real estate for the E.C. Griffith Co. that has become a specialty. Other notable developments were the Downtowner Hotel (later to be known as the Four Points Sheraton) and the
The E.C. Griffith Company and the Third Generation
The third generation is now headed by James R. Griffith, Jr., as President and his brother, Preston “Fred” Griffith, who serves as Executive Vice President. Their philosophy is somewhere between their grandfather’s entrepreneurial risk taking and the second generation’s Great Depression risk-aversion approach, with the second generation overseeing and approving all their projects. The current philosophy is best described as prudent, but progressive. The family is well aware of statistics that show only about 11% of family businesses successfully survive to
* Three generations of the Griffith family (From left right): Preston Griffith, E.C. Griffith, Jr., Jim Griffith, Sr., and Jim Griffith, Jr., pose in front of a portrait of company founder E.C. Griffith, Sr.
Recognizing the importance of family first and using the Total Quality Management business philosophy, Jim and Preston managed to restructure the company in a way that satisfied the interests of the second generation while providing new opportunities for the future. This business plan earned the company the prestigious North Carolina Family Business Forum Award, presented by Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business in 1997. The E.C. Griffith Company and The Griffith Real Estate Services Company are presently active in the Wake Forest’s Babcock School & Family Business Center. The Families involvement in the Family Business Center keeps the focus on continuous improvement, constant benchmarking of the best family companies and a renewed charge for the company as a professionally managed business serving clients with care and concern for their every need – like family.
According to a recent inventory, The E.C. Griffith Company and its associated entities total nearly one thousand acres of development, including apartment complexes, shopping centers, medical offices, industrial parks, office buildings and residential neighborhoods.
The company’s portfolio of investments includes: