When Robert Greco’s parents opened ACRA Electric on May 29, 1975, Cape Coral had no hospital, no high school and no fast-food restaurants. Anthony Greco, Sr., looked around and saw vast potential.
“My dad came here in 1972 to work for a month just to see how he could handle the heat,” remembers his son, Robert. “He ended up wiring the projection booth for the city’s first theater.
Today we are helping to renovate the same building.”
The business began with the parents and Robert as the sole employee. Robert joined his dad as a master electrician fresh out of high school and his mom sewed draperies as a side business venture while they got started.
Today, ACRA employs 48 workers, many of them long-term. The Grecos consider staff a part of their extended family. Anthony, Sr., and Carmella retired in 1996, leaving the boys to run the business, which they say is actually four electrical businesses focused on specific categories: residential, commercial, service and marine.
In 1975, there were no boatlifts in Cape Coral, only davits. ACRA was on the ground floor of the proper wiring of boatlifts. “We were pioneers in making the boatlifts safe to use,” recalls Anthony, Jr. “We used ground-fault protection 10 years before the government made it a requirement.” Today, the marine segment represents a significant portion of their business.
Perhaps the greatest key to ACRA’s success lies in the family’s commitment to being part of the Cape Coral community. The Jaycees, Rotary Club of Cape Coral Goldcoast and Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce are just a few of the organizations that have tapped into the Grecos’ talents. Perhaps the Cape Coral Construction Industry (CCCIA) has been their greatest legacy, with Anthony, Sr., Robert and Anthony, Jr., all having served as president of the CCCIA. And one more Greco may serve in that role too. Anthony, Jr.’s 26-year-old son Michael recently obtained his Master Electrician’s License, so a third generation of Greco electricians is now official.
Today, while the brothers groom the “younger generation,” there is no talk of retiring any time soon. “It feels like we opened last week,” says Robert Greco with a smile. “I can hardly believe 40 years have gone by. I guess that’s what happens when you love what you do.”