It all started back in the late 1800s, after the Civil War...
- Colonel William Pemberton Dunavant and General Nathan Bedford Forrest were early pioneers of the first short-line railroads built in Mississippi. These later became part of the Frisco Railroad, used extensively for transporting cotton, freight and other agricultural product.
From T.J. White & Company to W. B. Dunavant & Company to a leading global cotton merchant
- In 1928, William Buchanan Dunavant Sr. started trading cotton with T.J. White & Company. The company traded around 80,000 bales a year, despite the Great Depression and World War II.
- In 1952, William B. Dunavant Jr. joined T.J. White & Company and became a partner in 1956.
- In 1960, the company was renamed W. B. Dunavant & Company after T. J. White's retirement.
- In 1961, William B. Dunavant Jr. became CEO and the company experienced tremendous growth.
- The company grew from a small scale Memphis cotton trader/merchant into a leading global cotton enterprise.
How Dunavant was founded
- In 1972, the company became Dunavant Enterprises Incorporated, a multi-national trading company, and made the first sale of U.S.-grown cotton to China.
- Dunavant started expanding its reach into all the world's cotton markets.
- In the 1980s and 1990s, the fifth generation of the Dunavant family became an integral part of Dunavant Enterprises' operation.
- In 2005, William B. Dunavant III became CEO of Dunavant Enterprises, Inc.
Evolving to logistics and establishing a global signature
- For the past 25 years, Dunavant vertically expanded its global operations to wherever cotton was produced and sold.
- This was achieved through the acquisition and construction of fixed assets, including cotton gins, cotton and seed warehouses, and logistics facilities in California, Texas, the Mid-South, the Eastern U.S., Australia, Asia, Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, India and Africa.
- Dunavant sold between 4.5 to 6 million bales of U.S.-and foreign-grown cotton per year, with sales consistently between $1.2 billion and $1.7 billion.
- After more than 40 years in the cotton industry, Dunavant sold its global cotton operation in 2010.
- However, Dunavant retained its extensive logistic operations, as well as its real estate and investment divisions.
- Over the years, Dunavant has invested in a diverse number of non-cotton related private equity ventures: owning and operating companies engaged in aviation sales and service; software development and sales; chicken processing; coal mining; gold mining; sports; real estate development; and a fleet of offshore oil supply vessels.
Dunavant's entrepreneurial spirit and sense of duty to the community
- Dunavant Enterprises has received numerous honors and accomplishments over the past 50 years, and continues to evolve through charitable endeavors.
- Dunavant has been ranked by Forbes as one of the largest private companies in America, as well as one of the largest private companies in Memphis.
- In 2007, Ethisphere ranked Dunavant as one of the "World's Most Ethical Companies - Agricultural & Food Processing."
Dunavant's logistic division today
- Dunavant ships tens of thousands of containers around the world and extends this experience to the commercial market through its logistics division.
- The logistics division is headquartered in Memphis, Tenn, with a rich history of managing millions of international and domestic shipments over the last 50 years.
- The logistics division has a broad database of supply chain partners including more than 3,000 domestic and international logistics companies.
A leader in performance, knowledge and service
- Dunavant's strategic partners have a long history with the company and have been pre-qualified to meet stringent standards for safety, performance and service.
- Combining smart technology with their global supply chain expertise, Dunavant is uniquely qualified to solve and manage complex problems for any channel of distribution.
- Dunavant has always operated upon a customer-first attitude, responding with urgency and integrity.
- In addition to global logistics operations, the Dunavant investments division continues to consider diverse investment opportunities through its capital management operation and investment in real estate opportunities through its real estate operation.