50 Most Admired Companies of the Year 2016

Driven by a Desire to Change the Way Retail Executives Use Technology: ECRS


Develop and deliver common sense, innovative retail automation solutions that work as advertised. Take care of your customers and employees, and profits will follow.” – Pete Catoe

ECRS’ twenty-seven-year and holding stand-out success can in essence be summarized as entrepreneurship done right. Humbly started in 1989 by Pete Catoe, one of the founding ECRS principles was that you don’t have to be bigger to be better; you just have to be better- with every customer interaction and every product delivered. Refreshingly, their bark has managed to stay in alignment with their bite throughout their booming growth.

Today, an internationally recognized leader in retail automation, the ECRS headquarters and manufacturing facilities still reside in the same progressive university town where it all started, Boone, NC. Surrounded by the breathtaking Blue Ridge Mountains and with offices located next door to a renowned computer science program at Appalachian State University, it is an ideal location for young professionals and seasoned specialists alike to produce world-class software and deliver best-in-class services.

ECRS proudly maintains zero debt and stands firmly rooted in their founding principles to treat customers and employees well, and to deliver a better, more innovative solution than their competitors. ECRS also believes strongly in giving back to the local community and international causes, with emphasis on youth charities and educational initiatives, such as scholarship funding.

What sets ECRS apart from the rest
Reinvesting profits into research and development is a win-win strategy anyway you slice it, and ECRS has faithfully relied upon it, which has largely contributed to their inventive, cutting-edge technology that anticipates the curve and stays ahead of it. Another one of ECRS’ most valuable tools has been keeping a steady pulse on customer feedback, thoughtfully listening to their changing needs, trends and business environments, to help provide direction for the product development team. It would be remiss not to also attribute ECRS’ success to the entire team of employees who make up the unique company culture. Interestingly, the rapidly growing, tight-knit ECRS working community manages to embody a comfortable, relaxed, yet fiercely creative and fast-paced vibe.

Vertical Markets served
The scope of their success spans thousands of successful system implementations across all 50 states, as well as Canada and the Caribbean. Traditional Grocery multi-store chains, Cooperatives, Natural and Specialty/Gourmet Foods, and Spirits/Beverage make up their primary markets, and ECRS has a powerful presence in Micro Market/Vending environments.

What ECRS brings to the Table
Particularly setting ECRS apart from the industry pack, is the innovative, forward thinking that infiltrates their exhaustive, end-to-end retail solutions suite, intelligently eliminating the need for disparate 3rd party systems and services by offering a comprehensive, single platform technology suite backed by a team of “success navigation specialists”. From consulting, to project management, hardware, installation services, and award winning technical support, ECRS does not simply deliver a product – they ensure satisfaction and retail success for their customers, by surrounding their product with the supportive structure necessary for its optimal performance. As such, ECRS’ CATAPULT® includes a seamlessly integrated cloud-based, secure online data back-up, a first-rate loyalty program, integration to major accounting systems, as well as select credit card processors, EMV, P2PE & PCI compliance, built-in retail analytics, and unparalleled automated ordering and inventory components. It’s all about the single platform execution, and CATAPULT® is a frictionless, all-in-one solution.

The ‘big picture’ in today’s world of retail revolves around the omni-channel consumer experience. ECRS appreciates this and not only relentlessly seeks ways to improve and automate back-office processes, but continuously pursues ways to elevate the consumer experience through customer-centric feature development. The following CATAPULT® features, to name a few, demonstrate this pursuit nicely:

  • Webcart 2.0 and OrderPick allow customers to click and collect with ease and efficiency in this age of online ordering, whether for store Pick-up or Delivery.
  • Secure OneTouchallows customers the ease of paying with a single touch of their finger.
  • DemandFill 2.0 equally eases stock management processes, through the reduction of inventory-holding costs, as it boosts the consumer experience, by ensuring that the items they want are in stores and on shelves when they want them.

Looking ahead
Evading complacency or idleness, ECRS maintains an ambitious 5 year plan, which includes staying atop the cutting edge of technology in the retail environment and continuing to recruit exceptionally creative and talented forward-thinkers to grow the team.

Meet the Key Executive

Pete Catoe, Founder and CEO: Pete Catoe started ECRS after noticing a disconnection between a store’s cash register and back end system. Pete and his wife, Kim, still own and manage the business today. Pete attended Appalachian State University in Boone, NC.

                                       “At ECRS it’s about what happens after the sale.”