Historic Overview of Bekins Worldwide

Bekins Worldwide was established out of Bekins, in recognition of the critical differences between international and local moving.
Local moving focuses value on immediately unloading what has been packed directly into the moving van. The in transit risks are few compared to moving time and costs stemming from loading and unloading.
International and overseas moving focus much of its value on the in transit management of possessions being moved. Packing items into protective easily able to be moved boxes and crates is key to coordination and reloaded between methods of shipping. For example moving van to container to train, ship or plane with options for detailed inspection by customs at both ends of the trip. Proper secure packing is implicit, given many items could be simply repurchased at the destination so ones being moved have a special jot for the sender. Further managing the timing and handling of transfer between transit methods a key to keeping costs under control, given the extraordinary high impact of unexpected demurage / storage charges, per day, when not prearranged. Neither of these areas play much of a role in local moves.
This way international move customers receive the kind of attention most likely to meet their move needs without the danger of local move personnel attempting to help without realizing the full extent of international move requirements.

Bekins Long Learned and Earned History

Bekins in the 1800's

The Bekins story began, over 123 years ago, when Sjoerd Bekuis emigrated to Michigan, married his wife Tiertje, and raised a family of 13 children in a community of Dutch farmers. It was their 5th child, Martin, who founded what has grown into the Bekins Moving and Storage of today.

Bekins 1880

In 1880, Martin Americanized his name to Bekins. In Grand Rapids, he was soon joined by his brother John. They both worked driving freight wagons during the day. In the nights they attended school to learn the cartage business fundamentals. It was the profession they made their life’s work. The brothers were pioneers “inventing” the moving and storage business as we know it today.

In 1891, they made Sioux City, Iowa their headquarters. The 12 employees, 3 horse drawn carriages and a single warehouse averaged 1-2 moves per day. Over the next decade, they opened offices in Omaha, Los Angeles and Chicago.

Bekins 1903Bekins Moving and Storage was the first company to specialize in moving household goods. In 1903, it was also the first to introduce covered moving vans and motor trucks to the west coast. The original fleet consisted of two trucks powered by two-cylinder, air-cooled engines. By the end of WWI, Bekins had disposed of its last horse drawn van. Bekins also built the first reinforced steel and concrete warehouse, for the fireproof storing household goods and acknowledging the importance they took in protecting clients belongings.

Bekins 1903

Also in 1903, Daniel Bekins, the youngest of the Sjoerd Bekius clan, expanded the family operation to Seattle, establishing Bekins Northwest. Daniel went on to establish, in 1924, the first Canadian Bekins in Vancouver, BC. He purchased what was later to be known as “The Sun Building”, at Pender and Beatty. It was an impressive structure, as well as the tallest building in the British Commonwealth when it was built in 1913. By the early 1930’s, Daniel had expanded Bekins Northwest to include facilities in Portland, Tacoma, Spokane, and Denver. During this time Bekins established Western Canada’s first fleet of motorized moving vehicles, in a period when road conditions were at best primitive. Bekins determination to provide the finest quality of service resulted in a Canadian fleet that was second to none in the Canadian Moving Industry.

Bekins 1913
Bekins 1930s to 40s

Bekins 1903In 1935, as Daniel Bekins neared retirement, he put his five sons in charge of Bekins Northwest. Bekins sold its original Vancouver Building to the Vancouver Sun in 1937. Bekins then built its “new” facility at the west end of the Burrard bridge, more specifically at Chestnut and York Streets. The state of the art moving and storage facility, in that time, served as the head office for the Canadian operation for over the next 40 years. It still stands today.

Bekins 1956

Bekins 1903In 1956, Bekins built a second warehouse, this time at Kingsway and Wilson in Burnaby, where Metrotown now sits. During this time, Daniel’s son Stanley took over as president of the company. Stanley Bekins built up one of the largest and most respected moving companies in the country, before retiring and selling the company in 1982 to the Baron Group of Toronto, who then became, by far, the largest mover in Canada.

The Baron Group subsequently sold the two Bekins buildings in 1983 as they custom designed and built a 42,000 square foot building on three acres at Crestwood Corporate Center in Richmond. In 1993, the Richmond head office of Bekins Moving and Storage was acquired by Larry and Sharon Rosenberg, returning the company to a locally owned, family business.

The Rosenberg’s, along with their Arbutus Transfer Ltd., acquired Cantin’s Moving and Storage, a long time member of United Van Lines in 1995 and became a member of United Van Lines. In 1997 the creation of dedicated international moving operations, removals and in transit storage plus freight forwarding, under the name Bekins Worldwide became a dedicated separate entity.

In 2018, their Canadian head office moved into its new purpose built moving and storage facility at 3779 – 190 St in Surrey, BC. The largest of its kind in Canada, with its optimally designed secure possession storage environment.