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Our Story

Our company was established in 1927 by Henry F. Owens, Jr. Met with many roadblocks, Henry turned obstacles into opportunities. Today, nearly a century later, Owens Companies is the oldest minority-owned company in New England.

Henry F. Owens, Jr. broke through racial barriers with an industrious spirit, drive for success, and commitment to excellence to become one of Cambridge, Massachusetts's first and most successful black entrepreneurs.
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Joe Lewis and Henry F. Owens, Jr.

Henry F. Owens, Jr. was born and raised in Cambridge, where he operated his moving company. He graduated from Rindge Technical Highschool in Cambridge, where he was a star athlete. Henry was a perennial all-scholastic member of the football team. He was also a heavyweight boxer. Henry was chosen as Rindge Man of the Year and later inducted into the Rindge Hall of Fame (class of 1928).

After high school, he became the New England Golden Glove Champion and was also the Diamond Belt Champion of boxing. Henry had the opportunity to fight Joe Lewis, with whom he later became friends.

Henry F. Owens, Jr was punctuated with many obstacles. After receiving the highest score on the police exam for the City of Cambridge two years in a row, he was denied an appointment to the police force. Many feel to this day that the best thing that happened to Henry was that he never became a police officer.

Looking to help support his seventeen brothers and sisters, Henry F. Owens, Jr. asked his father, a blacksmith, to borrow $50.00 to buy a horse and buggy "because I can help make you some money."

In 1927, at the age of 16, started Henry F. Owens Movers.

Henry would haul ice before and after school to assist his parents financially.

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Henry F. Owens eventually expanded from hauling ice and bulk items to household goods and moving pianos for many of Boston’s famous visiting artists. For years, Henry concentrated on rigging and moving the world’s finest pianos for many of Boston’s famous visiting artists. Henry hoisted pianos for the former Senator Edward Brooke, Johnny Mathis, Arthur Fiedler, Baldwin Piano Company, Boston Symphony, and Leonard Bernstein. Henry F. Owens Inc moved Raytheon’s first microwave oven.

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In the early days, most of the loads were pianos. Pianos were something for which movers were hard to come by. When people needed a piano moved, they would say call Henry.

Henry gained the reputation that if you had something difficult to move, especially a piano, the only person to call was Henry F. Owens Inc Movers.

With the money he had saved and his father's help, Henry purchased his first truck, a Model T Ford and established Henry F. Owens movers in 1927.

Henry F. Owens Movers had become a familiar name in Cambridge by the 1950s, and business had become steady. Over the next several decades, Owens opened a small warehouse with his 20 employees and slowly built his business.

During the winter months, traditionally the slow period in the household goods moving business, Henry saw an opportunity in exporting trucking and construction equipment to the US Virgin Islands. He sold trucks and equipment. Eventually, Henry F. Owens, Jr became involved in construction, where he and his youngest son, Eddie, built houses and rental units.

The bulk of business in the 70s came from affiliations with Global Van Lines and Atlas Van Lines, which ranked top 10 among major carriers for shipments.

Henry F. Owens Movers was one of eighteen minority companies in the nation and the only one on the East Coast with Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) authority to transport goods interstate. Owens Movers was one of a handful of minority movers affiliated with a major carrier.

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In 1975, Henry’s son, Eddie, took over the business and decided to abandon pianos and make a bid for some of the increasing volume of commercial business. The company concentrated its operations on commercial and industrial moving and began to watch its list of corporate clients grow slowly but steadily.

Through the years, Owens Movers would go on to perform hundreds of moves for some of the largest institutions in Massachusetts, including Bank of America, Blue Cross, Fidelity, Gillette, Harvard University, John Hancock, Northeastern University, Prudential Insurance, Raytheon, among many others.

Today, we offer companies a range of services, including transportation and logistics, warehousing, storage, and distribution. Owens Companies is also engaged in acquiring and developing industrial and commercial real estate. 

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