Petru Grai - About me
Petru Grati, 34, Chicago, IL.
I was born and raised in Eastern Europe, the Republic of Moldova, in a family of three.
My parents, very hard-working people, gave me a good education and raised me
with high moral standards. At the age of 14, my father had to go to Spain for work, to
support his family financially. I was at home, in Moldova, with my mom, my younger brother and sister, and my two grandmothers. That's when I started to work and began developing my business skills. I built a small greenhouse and planted flowers - a lot of people in my village were growing flowers back then, and today, many still are, including my parents. I was selling flowers that I grew and made money for basic needs. Later, my father returned from Spain, and they continued my flower "business", which is their main source of income until the present.
Moving to America:
In 2008 I moved to the United States, to chase my dreams and my independent life. I came at the age of 18, with no English, and no knowledge of American culture or traditions. My first job in the United States was at hardwood flooring, with $300 a week. This was right during the 2007-2008 financial crisis - the most severe worldwide economic crisis since the Great Depression of 1929. I was happy and lucky to have a job because many didn't. I later moved to New York City and worked in Construction for about one year.
When I turned 21 I immediately got my CDL - Commercial Drivers License, and became a truck driver. This job was so much better than what I did before, and the pay was double! After only one year of working as a truck driver, I purchased my own truck - old, but mine. It wasn't the smartest decision, because the truck broke in a few weeks. The repairs were more expensive than the truck, so I just dropped the truck at the towing. I told them to take it. That was my first lesson in trucking and, I had to start all over, as a truck driver. I later purchased my second truck, and then another one, while still working as a driver.
I officially started my company, GPN Express, in 2013. Operating in 48 states, I had 4 trucks and 4 drivers. I was working in the office, but also driving occasionally. Together with my current wife, I learned to Dispatch trucks (to find loads), do recruiting, and many other tasks in a trucking company. Everything was new and we had to learn from mistakes. There are a lot of laws and FMCSA & DOT regulations in the trucking industry, a lot of paperwork, a lot of filling and document retaining. We did mostly Reefer, Van, and some flatbeds. Our equipment was older and was constantly breaking down. That's how I learned my second lesson in trucking.
In 2016 I started an Auto-Hauling company, transporting vehicles in 48 states. We grew up to 50+ drivers very quickly. Our customers were car dealerships and physical persons who wanted to transport their cars. Car-hauling is more difficult than Reefer/Van/Flatbed. Much more difficult. We closed the company after a few years, as it wasn't profitable, however, I got a lot of knowledge in experience in this industry.
During the pandemic (COVID-19), when most businesses were shut down, I moved with my family to the Miami area, where we started a Luxury Car Rental company. Cars are my passion. I love fast cars. The business went pretty well, and very quickly, we became among the top Exotic Car Rentals in Miami (although there are hundreds of car rental companies). However, two years later, we decided to move back to Illinois and sell the Car Rental Business.
GPN Express is currently leasing commercial trucks and trailers to Trucking Companies. We have Semi Trucks and Flatbed Trailers. Our positive difference from other competitors is that the equipment is new: 2020 to 2024. We offer long-term leases - usually a 1-year minimum. Reach out with any Lease questions, partnerships, and/or proposals.
Nice to meet you,