NORFOLK, Neb. — Mobility is an essential part of business for Andrews Van Lines.
And while it’s no longer owned by longtime Norfolk businessman Clayton Andrews, the company is staying right where it’s always been. That’s a detail Andrews made sure of when he sold the 93-year-old business earlier this year to a buyer that would have otherwise taken it out of Norfolk.
“The purchaser had to keep the company in Norfolk ... and could not terminate any of my employees. They were more than agreeable,” Andrews said. “As far as my employees are concerned, if we would not have told them that there was a sale, they would not even have been aware of it.”
Andrews said he’d been approached several times in the past by different entities whose leaders had expressed interest in purchasing Andrews Van Lines. But he never had any interest in selling because the business was something he and his employees had built together.
Andrews Van Lines was founded by Roy Andrews in 1920 — the same year his son, Clayton, was born.
“I grew up in the business,” he said.
As he grew older, Andrews said he began seeing more opportunities available for the company. After completing 50 months of service with the Air Force, he returned to Nebraska and worked for the company until his father retired in 1954 and left him in charge. From there, he built Andrews Van Lines into a worldwide transportation company with 132 agencies.
Andrews Van Lines focuses mainly on moving household goods and general commodities. It also has contracts with the government to move military personnel to and from destinations overseas.
Andrews said he thinks his father would be surprised if he could see what the company has grown into over the years. He heaps praises upon the employees at the Norfolk headquarters — many of whom have been with the company for decades — for their work ethic and dedication to Andrews Van Lines.
“I have employees that have been with me for 20, 30, 40 years and more. I have a very good CEO, Arlis Meyer, who has been with me since she was 17 years old,” Andrews said.
His trust in the company’s chief executive officer allowed him to focus on the co-founding of the humanitarian organization Orphan Grain Train in 1993.
“(My employees) have been spending most of their working lives with Andrews helping build this,” he said.