The Gator Story
Gator Cases was founded in 2000 by father-daughter team Jerry Freed and Crystal Morris in Tampa, Florida. Initially, they launched with a small offering of molded plastic guitar cases at the Summer NAMM show in Nashville, Tennessee. From there, they expanded the product line to include case and bag solutions for pro audio, IT, audio visual, general utility, band instrument, and percussion. The line now consists of over 1000 different solutions that are made from vacuum-formed plastics, rotational-molded plastics, wood, sewn, and EVA materials.
Leveraging the company’s expertise in case design and manufacturing, Gator has also grown a complete OEM division that works with leading companies around the world to engineer and manufacture custom cases for original equipment manufacturers.
In 2008, Gator acquired the manufacturing facility and product line of Protechtor Cases, located in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. This new endeavor brought on shore manufacturing in rotational molding along with expansion into the percussion market. Gator continues to invest in additional US manufacturing and expansion of this plant.
In 2013, Gator announced its new Frameworks line of stands and support systems at the Winter NAMM show. The launch features over 50 innovative and unique solutions for microphone, speaker, guitar, keyboard, A/V, and more. The line was extremely well received and compliments the existing case line, making Gator the one stop for all your accessories needs. After being awarded Best in Show Honors at Summer NAMM 2013 and Winter NAMM 2015, it is clear the Frameworks line of products will be a major and permanent contender in the industry.
In 2014, Gator moved into a new state of the art manufacturing and distribution facility in Columbia City, Indiana. With over 180,000 square feet of dedicated space, Gator is poised to continue expanding manufacturing and offer best in class distribution.
In 2015, Gator acquired Viking Cases, a USA based case manufacturer specializing in custom built ATA rated flight cases. All Viking Case manufacturing was moved from it’s location in St. Petersburg, FL into our facility in Columbia City, IN.
In 2018, Gator acquired Levy’s Leathers Ltd. , one of the world’s most respected names in quality guitar straps.
NAMM Interview with Gator’s CEO, Crystal Morris
The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) recently interviewed Crystal as part of their oral histories program the the music instrument industry. She shares some insights from the early beginnings of Gator in 2000 and expands a bit on where we are today for this industry. While Gator serves many industries, the music and pro audio industries still represent some of our largest and longest-standing product segments.
The Gator Mission
- To have PASSION about our products, our customers and the markets that we serve
- To have an energetic, POSITIVE work environment that is built on trust, friendship and respect of each other
- To be LOYAL to our customers offering them the best customer experience
- To BUILD our brands in the market to further develop our reputation as an innovative design and solution provider of quality products
- To CREATE TRUST in every relationship both internally and externally
- To try new things EXPANDING our expertise, knowledge and the way we do business
- To SEEK OUT CHANGE and embrace it with excitement and an open mind
Awards & Accolades
2020 Best in Show 2020 / Winter NAMM “Gotta Stock It” category
Introduction of Levy’s® “Strap Packs” as an innovative and savvy retail solution.
2019 EY Entrepreneur Of The Year in Florida
2019 Best Bag/Case Award | Music and Sound Retailer
Transit Series Lightweight Guitar Cases
2018 Best Bag/Case Award | Music and Sound Retailer
GC Series LED Edition Guitar Cases
2017 Editor’s Choice Product Award 2017 | Music Inc. Magazine
LED Edition Guitar Cases
2017 Best Bag/Case Award | Music and Sound Retailer
TSA Series Guitar Cases
2017 Best in Show 2017 | Winter NAMM “Gotta Stock it”
Frameworks Guitar Stand/Seat Combo
2016 Enterprise Award | She Rocks Awards
Crystal Morris (President)
2016 Best Bag/Case Award | Music and Sound Retailer
Titan Series Waterproof Guitar Cases
2015 Small Business of the Year Semifinalist |
Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce
2015 Best in Show 2015 | Winter NAMM “Gotta Stock it”
iD Series Speaker Stand
2015 Best in Show 2015 | Mix Magazine
Frameworks Mic Stand Accessory Tray
2014 Best Bag/Case 2014 | Music and Sound Retailer
Pro-Go Series Electric Guitar Bag
2013 Small Business of the Year Semifinalist |
Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce
2013 Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist | Ernst & Young
2012 Swagger Award for Business Expansion |
Indiana Economic Development Corp
Grabill, IN Factory
2012 Best Case Award | Music and Sound Retailer
G-TOUR Presonus Studiolive 24.4.2 Case with 360 Arm
2011 Players Choice Gold Award | Acoustic Guitar Magazine
G-Commander Series Guitar Gig Bags
2011 Best Case Award | Music and Sound Retailer
G-Club Series DJ Bags
2009 Vendor of the Year | West Music
2009 Best Bag/Case Award | Music and Sound Retailer
2008 Best Bag/Case Award | Music and Sound Retailer
2008 Players Choice Bronze Award | Acoustic Guitar Magazine
2007 Best New Case Award | Music and Sound Retailer
Messenger Series Band Cases
2006 Best New Case Award | Music and Sound Retailer
2003 Best New Accessory | Music and Sound Retailer