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With view from the top, Wilcox keeps faith in future

“The travel business is a disease, not a profession,” Glenn Wilcox, Sr.  joked, though he’s made plenty of money in his business over the years. “Once you get bitten, you don’t want to do anything else.”

Glenn Wallace Wilcox Jr. joined the firm 45 years ago. Like his dad, Wallace Wilcox had a sharp eye for future trends.

In the 1990s, airlines moved to simplify their fare systems and changed the commissions paid to agents. “That changed the whole industry,” said Wallace Wilcox, who had been writing ticket orders by hand since high school. Over the decade, the travel agent industry went from about 45,000 firms down to about 12,000.

Then came the Internet.

The Wilcoxes compete against the Internet search giants such as Expedia, Travelocity, Trivago, Kayak and others, but can dive into deeper fares that aren't readily apparent on online searches.

They've also specialized in travel for missionaries, planning package tours for pastors who want to lead groups to the Holy Land, as well as finding the special flights and fares for humanitarian relief groups.

Wilcox credits his son for his foresight. "Wallace had the vision to automate the company. We wouldn't be still here without him."

Through industry upheaval and recession, they've whittled their workforce by attrition — no layoffs — down to 15 employees.

Besides Wallace, who serves as the company CEO, the firm employs most of the rest of his family, including Marie; son, David; and his grandsons, Glenn W. Wilcox III and Tyler Wilcox. His other son, William, and daughter Sarah have worked previously for the family business......Read More