While Dominique Reighard-Brooks is probably best known for appearing on Cycle 10 and Cycle 17 of the CW’s “America’s Next Top Model,” many would be surprised to find out that she’s the co-owner of E.E. Ward Moving & Storage Company, the oldest black-owned business in America.
The Columbus, Ohio native and her husband, who are married for nine years, are responsible for turning the 138-year-old business into a multi-million dollar, award-winning gold mine.
“I am proud of E.E. Ward’s story of surviving slavery, the U.S. Civil War, Great Depression, The Great Recession, two World Wars and 26 presidential terms,” Reighard-Brooks said. “We are grateful to be recognized as one of the most reliable and charitable multi-million dollar moving companies nationwide.”
Recognized by the U.S. Department of Commerce as the oldest black-owned business in America, E.E. Ward Moving & Storage has been in operation since 1881.
E.E. Ward Moving & Storage was originally founded by John T. Ward, who started the business with just two horses and a wagon.
Prior to going int transportation, Ward was a conductor a conductor on the underground railroad in the 1840s.
However, today the company is one of the premier providers of professional relocation services for corporate employee relocation, commercial office moves, and consumer residential moves, thanks to Reighard-Brooks and her husband.
With a presence in both the greater Ohio and the Charlotte area, E.E. Ward Moving & Storage maintained its status as a family-owned business until Brian purchased it from Eldon W. Ward in 2001.
Ward, who led the company for 50 years, decided to sell after realizing that no one in his family had an interest in taking over E.E. Ward Moving & Storage. Coincidentally, Brian’s father was Ward’s attorney.
In 2014, Reighard-Brooks stepped in to help her husband was run the business.
“It wasn’t a difficult transition because my husband and I been together for almost 12 years and his business always came home with him, so it becomes a part of your life,” Reighard-Brooks said.
Reighard-Brooks saw the value of her husband’s skills sets, so she decided to match her strengths and talents with her spouse and collaborate with him.
“It’s easy for us. It’s great when you have a partner that wholeheartedly believes in working towards the same initiative and goal as you,” Reighard-Brooks said. “It feels good to have that person to lean on.”
Once Reighard-Brooks joined the company, E.E. Ward Moving and Storage started to take off by providing excellent service to top executives.
One of E.E. Ward Moving and Storage’s first standout successes happened when the company moved an executive for Richard Petty Motorsports, a NASCAR racing company founded by the “King of NASCAR” Richard Petty.
“We did such a phenomenal job that when Richard Petty Motorsports needed to move his facilities in 2014, the exec referred us,” Reighard-Brooks said. “We then picked up a relationship and became an associate sponsor.”
Reighard-Brooks says that the opportunity was unique due to Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. being the first African-American driver in almost 30 years.
As a result, E.E. Ward Moving & Storage was able to partner with Richard Petty Motorsports.
“Apart of being an associate sponsor for Bubba Wallace Jr, we had a nostalgic truck logo on the 43 cars in the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 race at the Atlanta Motor Speedway this past year,” Reighard-Brooks said.
According to Reighard-Brooks, E.E. Ward Moving & Storage continued to receive one opportunity after the next after scoring a relationship with Richard Petty Motorsports.
The company has also been able to become an agent for North American Van Lines, a relocations solutions with over 500 agents worldwide, handling corporate, government, military and private relocations in over 100 countries.
Through their good business practices and an excellent track record in givin back E.E. Ward Moving & Storage has since received several awards for its high level of service, philanthropic activities, and business innovation.
Some of their awards include OMSDC MBE Supplier of The Year award, BBB of Central Ohio’s Torch Award (3 of them), Corporate Caring Human Services Award, Diversity In Business Award and the highly coveted Agent of The Year Service Excellence Award from the American Moving & Storage Association (AMSA).
“E.E. Ward has shown their strong commitment to maintaining high levels of service and a commitment to charitable causes in the communities they serve. All of us at AMSA salute them for their success and achievements,” said Scott Michael, AMSA president and CEO.
More recently, E.E. Ward Moving & Storage was honored with the 2019 Pillar Award for Community Service. Sponsored by Medical Mutual and Smart Business, the award recognizes organizations that set the standards for outstanding service to their communities.
“Giving back has always mattered to E.E.Ward because the community has always been our foundation for over a century, said Dominique Brooks, Co-Owner of E.E. Ward. “We employ from our communities, we have customers in our communities, and we service our communities, said Reighard-Brooks.”
This article originally appeared in the Atlanta Voice.