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ACRA Electric marks 40th anniversary

By Staff | May 29, 2015

Today ACRA Electric Inc., a family owned and operated business, celebrates its 40th year of becoming incorporated and serving the residents and business owners of Cape Coral.

ACRA Electric Inc. President Robert Greco said his father, Anthony Greco Sr., who was an electrician up north, decided to visit some relatives in Cape Coral in 1972. Anthony Sr. decided it was a good place to raise his two young boys, Robert and Anthony Jr. after that initial visit.

On May 29, 1975, Anthony Sr. opened ACRA Electric. He came up with the idea to name the business by using the acronyms of his name, his wife’s name Carmella, and his two sons’ names.

In 1976, a 1,500-square-foot building was constructed at 842 SE 46th Lane. Throughout the years, the building has expanded by 10,000 square feet to accommodate the businesses growth.

Robert said he was 17 years old when they moved to the area and he began attending North Fort Myers High School. As soon as he turned 18, he became a master electrician after passing the test.

“I got my license when I was 18,” he said, adding that five years later he became a state certified electrical contractor.

When the business initially began, the employees were Anthony Sr., Robert and Carmella who sewed draperies in the backroom. The duo initially began wiring houses when the business first began.

The workload increased and the family hired additional employees in 1976. Robert said many of those same employees still work for the business today.

“It’s a family business with extended family,” Robert said. “We don’t have a big turnover of employees. If we wired their house in the ’80s, it’s possible the guy that wired it is still here.”

The Grecos instantly became involved in the community by joining the Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce and the Cape Coral Construction Industry Association.

Robert still recalls a memory from that first Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce meeting, which featured guest speaker Paul Sanborn, who shared information about the history of the city. He said he remembers thinking he missed so much of the infancy of the city and he was too late.

Now looking back, Robert has experienced 40 more years of Cape Coral’s growth.

Robert said he, his father and brother have all served as presidents of the CCCIA at one point.

As the years ticked by, the family’s love of what they do continued to grow.

A business that began with residential electrical wiring soon grew to include commercial electrical wiring. In the mid ’80s, they began a service department that provided renovation and repair electrical work.

A fourth component was added due to Cape Coral having 400 miles of canals.

“It’s a tremendous part of business,” Robert said of boat lift electrical wiring.

When ACRA Electric first opened in 1975 there were no boatlifts in Cape Coral, but rather davits. The business was on the ground floor of the influx of boat lifts specializing in proper and safe boat docks and lift wiring.

They use stainless steel hardware and remote control technology to control the lift. ACRA Electric’s employees have become very proficient in the boat lift electric wiring. He said the employees can work under the dock if they have to when wiring.

The business also has a small sales counter with electrical supplies for sale. Robert said often times if a hardware store does not have an item they will send the customer to ACRA Electric to purchase what they need.

In 1996, Anthony Sr. and Carmella retired leaving the business to Robert and Anthony Jr., who also is a state certified electrical contractor.

Last year, Michael, Anthony Jr.’s son, became a state certified master electrician adding a third generation to the business. Robert said his nephew brings a great deal of mechanical and electrical knowledge to the business.

Since the electrical industry is constantly changing with new technology, their licenses are required to be renewed every two years with 16 hours of seminars. Robert said he, Anthony Jr. and now Michael attend the conference for their continued education.

ACRA Electric also holds monthly night classes for its employees. Robert said depending on who attends the class determines the topic that will be discussed.

ACRA Electric will celebrate the 40th anniversary milestone with a special party to reflect back on the four decades the business has served Cape Coral. Robert said he hopes to have photographs to showcase the changes over the years, as well as recognize employees that have been with them for so long.

ACRA Electric Inc. is at 842 SE 46th Lane. For more information, call (239) 542-1624 or visit www.acraelectricinc.com.