Talking Shop with Jon Craiglow of Craiglow's River Delivery

Monday, October 1, 2012
Tyler Craiglow with Craiglow's River Delivery out on the open waters of the Mississippi River on Thursday. (Laura Simon)

Jon Craiglow of Craiglow's River Delivery has made his career on the Mississippi River as a pilot and currently helps barge lines by running deliveries out to boats on the river. Craiglow said he'll deliver groceries, supplies, crew members and everything else needed, out to a crew on the water.

Q: Tell us about yourself and your business.

A: I own Craiglow's River Delivery. I deliver groceries, crew members and supplies to boats on the Mississippi River. I'm 38, live in Jackson, and I am a father of two.

Q: How did your career evolve to get you where you are today?

A: I started out as a deckhand in 1993 and worked my way up to pilot. I also work as a pilot for a barge line. I work with my nephew Tyler and sister Laurel who run things and do deliveries while I'm out and working a full-time job. Working with family has challenges. Sometimes we have to draw the line between business and family, but it's great. There are a lot of rewards. You learn to treat everyone with respect no matter who they are, and at the end of the day it's still family.

Craiglow's River Delivery out on the open waters of the Mississippi River on Thursday.

Q: What was your vision for starting your business?

A: The Mississippi River is important to this area. There is a lot of traffic. We're on a good spot on the river to start this business and I saw the need for good quality service. The boats operate 24/7 and they always need supplies and crew members. Because I have been working on the river I have insight into what happens. I talked with some crew members and realized nothing like this existed in the area. Unique services like this make the life of a crew member much easier.

Q: What are some of your long-term goals?

A: We want to establish a quality business in the area. We're a small family-owned operation, and we want to continue to grow and add services as we see need for them. We are always looking for new ways to improve our ability to serve the needs of the crews of the barge lines in the area.

Q: What does a day for you look like?

A: The river is 24/7, so hours are random. We go out in all weather conditions. We get to see some beautiful scenery and wildlife. The city looks different from the river. We get to meet good people on the river and get them their groceries, books, cigarettes and what they need to keep them rolling. Working two jobs is very tough. Entrepreneurship is not easy, and I didn't expect it to be easy, but it is tough balancing everything out to have time for family and a personal life, and hopefully it will pay out in the end with my family.

Q: Anything else you'd like to add?

A: It's definitely an interesting job, and it's definitely a different life. We move everything that makes the world go around on a barge, from rocks, grain, oil and gas. Most people don't realize there are 58 trailer trucks and 15 rail cars in one barge. We're not going to move a barge load of TVs. We move a lot of freight on a small amount of fuel relatively. We're super green and keep a lot of congestion off the highways. A lot of people don't know what goes on the river. Many people in this area have a family member or know someone who works on the river.

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