Meet America’s oldest Black-owned business: E.E Ward Moving and Storage

Meet America's oldest Black-owned business: E.E Ward Moving and Storage
E.E. Ward Moving & Storage founder, John T. Ward| Photo courtesy of E.E. Ward Moving & Storage

As the oldest continuously operating Black-owned business in America, E.E Ward Moving and Storage is ushering in a new era of black excellence. E.E. Ward’s current owner, Brian Brooks shares with rolling out the secret to the company’s unprecedented customer service, longevity, and plans for the future.

What does being the oldest Black-owned business in America mean to you?

What it means to me is the fuel that ignites the entrepreneurial flame. The legacy and lessons that were left by the Ward family are an inspiration in its purest form. It is a privilege to be a part of such a strong business history. The Ward family’s story of perseverance, determination, and commitment to service excellence is a power-filled message that drives entrepreneurial passion over a century after the business was founded.

Besides your close relationship with the Ward family, did the rich history involving E.E. Ward Moving & Storage and the Underground Railroad have anything to do with you acquiring the company in 2001?

The history of the EE Ward story is compelling. When [I found out] the company was on the verge of shutting its doors, a sense of responsibility did factor into my decision to purchase it. To have the ability to keep this story going and potentially navigate a new direction for the future path of the business was powerful.

What have been some the pitfalls you’ve had to overcome owning a moving and storage company, coming from a real estate background?

Coming from the real estate industry, there was familiarity with the concept of relocation, however, there was a learning curve to overcome to better understand the moving industry. The biggest challenges came from the need to know the business lines that were best to follow to grow the company.  Not all business is good business. It was critical to quickly assess and act on the best markets to target.

When it comes to longevity in business, what can businesses learn from the evolution of E.E. Ward Moving & Storage over the years?

I think business owners can learn a lot from the evolution of EE Ward, over 138 years. The first thing is the level of commitment to the customer experience. The company’s founders and leadership have always focused on making sure customers were provided with the utmost professionalism and quality filled move services. Secondly, it has been important over the last two decades to evolve with the changes in consumer behavior.

What do the next 100 years of E.E. Ward Moving and Storage look like?

With the company’s continued dedication to providing exceptional and professional customer experiences, the next 100 years will be strong. A foundation that is built on a commitment to customers and community care provides a platform of stability that can endure changes and challenges.

To learn more about Brian Brooks and E.E. Ward Moving & Storage, please visit

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