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America’s Oldest Running Black-Owned Business Is Based In Columbus, Ohio

By Leah Freeman-Haskin

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Columbus, Ohio is home to the oldest continuously operating black-owned business in the United States. E.E. Ward Moving & Storage has withstood the test of time in its 138-year history, surviving the Great Depression, two World Wars, and the Great Recession.

RELATED: How To Spend A Day In Black-Owned Cleveland, Ohio

“From the early days of E.E. Ward’s ownership and management to now, the long legacy of the company and the goodwill it has created within the community is what has sustained it for this long and warranted it to be kept alive,” said Brian Brooks to cnn.com, who now co-owns the company with his wife Dominique.

It all started in the 1840’s with just a horse and a wagon. Today the company can boast operating a full fleet of long-haul trucks and two warehouses in Columbus and Charlotte, North Carolina.

Photo via eeward.com

And its history is as inspiring as its legacy. John T. Ward served as a conductor on the underground railroad. According to cnn.com, he used his horses and wagon to help slaves escape to freedom through a network of hiding places and safe houses. After the business scored a few government contracts that led to increased growth, the business ownership made its way through the family, eventually landing with Eldon Ward in 1945. He would become the last Ward family member to own the company.

RELATED: Black-Owned Small Businesses To Support This Holiday Season

Today, Brian Brooks and his wife, Dominique, own the company, maintaining the culture and legacy that the Ward’s created nearly a century and a half ago. Their services promise to focus on quality, professionalism and customer service.

“We want to see this company through the next 100 years,” said Dominique.

Check out more about the E.E. Ward journey below.

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