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Black-owned trucking business seeks expansion while hiring drivers with criminal records

CLEVELAND (WOIO / Gray News) – Two best friends and business owners are looking to give those with criminal records a second chance.

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

“I can’t judge them on the basis of their past,” said Holmes. “They are good people. They are good workers.

The two started their businesses in early 2020 with the goal of hiring those who are struggling to find work elsewhere.

A third of the 30 employees of the growing company have a criminal record. Workers transport items like clothing, water, and goods across Cleveland.

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

Both understand that their hiring practices come with several challenges, and that there is always a stigma attached to those who have made bad 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’re trying to do here, we’re trying to look beyond that.”

As Freewheeling continues to grow, the two owners see nowhere but to go ahead.

“We’ll also start hiring dispatchers, and again we’ll be looking for those with a criminal record,” Holmes said.

Brown added that he believed it was helping to change the lives of people and their families.

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