Ohio native Earnest S. Wheaton founded Wheaton Van Lines in 1945. He had entered the moving business in 1916 with a job at the Cotter Transfer and Storage Company in Mansfield, Ohio, before buying the firm nine years later and renaming it Pioneer Storage. Pioneer became an agent for Indianapolis-based Aero Mayflower Transit Company in 1931, and Wheaton left Pioneer to become a Mayflower executive two years later. Wheaton stayed with Mayflower until 1945 when he started his own company, Clipper Van Lines.

Clipper began operations that September with four employees in its first office in the Century Building, making its first household move in January 1946. By 1951, annual revenue topped $1 million. That year, Clipper lost a lawsuit to Pan American World Airways over the use of the word “Clipper,” and the firm became Wheaton Van Lines. The company began making international moves in 1958. Wheaton moved to its northeast side office in the mid-1970s.

In 1973, Wheaton became the first moving company to hold authority as a carrier in all 50 states. Its name changed to Wheaton World Wide Moving in 1987. By 1992, Wheaton was the country’s 11th largest carrier with revenues of $42 million.

Facing a decline in the numbers of individuals moving from state to state, Wheaton turned to acquisitions to continue to grow. In 2012, Wheaton purchased Bekins Van Lines, a competing moving company located in Hillside, Illinois. Acquisition of Boston-based Clark & Reid followed in 2013 and Michigan-based Stevens Worldwide Van Lines in 2019. Wheaton went on to acquire Arpin Van Lines, which had been headquartered in West Warwick, Rhode Island, for 120 years, in March 2020. (Arpin’s International Group, Inc. continued to operate as a separate company.) These five brands operate under one umbrella—The Wheaton Group.

Revised March 2021

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