This article appeared on October 12, 2001 in The Buffalo News
Despite its name, Extra Mile doesn’t own a fleet of trucks, planes, trains or ships. The Town of Tonawanda company acts as a broker, arranging whatever form of transportation a business needs to move its goods. Last year, that added up to sales of nearly $8 million at its local office, a 650 percent increase over a five-year span.
That high sales-growth rate has earned Extra Mile a spot on Inc. magazine’s annual list of the 500 fastest-growing privately held companies in the nation.
“I think everybody is very passionate about what they’re doing,” said Anthony Baynes, chief executive officer of Extra Mile, referring to his employees. “They’re all amazed at the growth this company has had.”
Baynes co-owns Extra Mile with Robert Rich Jr., whose son, Robert Rich III, is the company’s president. Baynes met Robert Rich Jr. when Baynes was a bartender at Mulligan’s Cafe, which he recalls as Buffalo’s version of Studio 54 in the 1970s. Baynes’ cousin, Michael Militello, used to run the Hertel Avenue nightspot.
In the 1980s, Baynes started a Buffalo-based logistics company, A.J. Baynes Freight Contractors, that remains in business. Seeing the potential in the business, he and Robert Rich Jr. set out to duplicate the idea on a national scale with Extra Mile in 1995.
Tom Walls, who runs the company’s day-to-day operations, said Extra Mile acts as an extension of a customer’s shipping department and a trucking company’s sales force, by helping the two connect with each other.
Baynes said he’s thrilled for his employees that Extra Mile made the Inc. list, but his own excitement was tempered by recent events. His brother-in-law, Chris Lunder, was lost in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
Extra Mile employs 58 people throughout its system, including 16 locally. The company has six branches around the East and South and is preparing to open two more. It’s focusing on another five markets, most of them in the South, that it hopes to enter by the end of this year.
Some of the places where Extra Mile has expanded are especially fond of the company; they’ve urged Extra Mile to move its headquarters. The company’s executives have turned them down. “We want to stay here,” Walls said. “This is our home.”
Extra Mile’s sales this year could reach $20 million.