Black-owned trucking company looks to grow while hiring drivers with criminal records

FreeWheeling, LLC, a Cleveland-based trucking company, has found success by hiring those with criminal histories.
Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 1:27 PM CDT
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CLEVELAND (WOIO/Gray News) - Two best friends and business owners are looking to give those with criminal records second chances.

WOIO reports Demetrius Holmes and his childhood friend Charles Brown founded Cleveland-based logistics company Freewheeling. Their office window has a view of the county courthouse and jail, where some of their employees have spent time.

“Can’t judge them based on their past,” Holmes said. “They’re good people. They’re good workers.”

The two started their business in early 2020 with a goal to hire those who struggle to find work elsewhere.

One-third of the growing company’s 30 employees have a previous criminal record. The workers transport items like clothes, water and produce across Cleveland.

“If you get potatoes in Ohio in the next couple of months, it most likely was on our truck,” Brown said.

Both understand their hiring practices come with several challenges, and there’s still a stigma attached to those who have made poor decisions in the past.

“If you have something on your record, the first thing a person is going to do is judge you,” Holmes explained. “What we try to do here, we try to look past that.”

As Freewheeling continues to grow, both owners see nowhere to go but forward.

“We’ll be starting to hire dispatchers as well, and again, we will be looking for those with past criminal background records,” Holmes said.

Brown added that he believes this is helping to change the lives of people and their families.

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