This July marks the 70th anniversary of Beaver Express Service, a premier small package express and LTL motor freight carrier serving Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, and New Mexico. The company has a facility at 910 McKinley in Great Bend.
Beaver Express Service began as a small package express carrier, hauling packages and newspapers for The Oklahoman. Its service area began in northwestern Oklahoma, including the panhandle. In the spring of 1943, the dominant carrier of northwestern Oklahoma was Mistletoe Express, a company that would soon abandon service to the area. When Mistletoe Express gave up northwest Oklahoma, an entrepreneur namend Floyd Hamm overtook the express service route between Woodward and Beaver, Okla. Following the traditional naming system used by the railroad industry, he named the company after the farther point served, thus Beaver Express was born.
A few years later, the company was sold to Clarence McPherson, who enlarged the service area, adding more Oklahoma panhandle towns including Guymon, Arnett, and Shattuck. In 1958, the company was sold once again to Clyde Reeves, former general manager at Mistletoe Express, and grandfather of the current president, Mike Stone. After being sold to Reeves, the company began immediate expansion. Within a few years, the service area had stretched down to include almost the entire Texas panhandle from Amarillo, into eastern New Mexico, and almost all of southwest Kansas.
In 1973, the company was taken over by long-time employees Larry Stone and Duane Frech, who had worked for the company since the early 1960s. In 1984, the company entered into a management contract with Edmond Motor Freight. “With our contract with Edmond Motor Freight, we were allowed access to the vital Oklahoma City market in a regulated environment, and the company was able to survive tremendous competition from Mistletoe Express,” President Mike Stone said. The company began serving an important hub in Wichita, as well as western Kansas, including Great Bend.
Beaver Express made a similar agreement with L&L Motor Freight in 1987, opening the additional service areas of Tulsa, southern and eastern Oklahoma, thereby followed by aggressive expansion into Kansas.
In 1986, Beaver Express gained access to serve towns west of Oklahoma City, such as Weatherford, Clinton, and Elk City. In 1989, the Stone family experienced tragedy with the sudden loss of Larry Stone, leaving the company under the leadership of his son, Mike Stone. Stone had been with the company since 1981 by that point, at the helm of several jobs, including management trainee, Customer Service Manager, and Marketing Manager.
In 1990, L&L Motor Freight expanded in Ft. Smith, Ark. and Lawton, Okla. During the summer of the next year, L&L additionally received authority to serve over 60 points in southeastern Oklahoma.
“When deregulation passed in 1995, preventing states’ rights to regulate trucking in each state, Beaver Express, Edmond Motor Freight,. and L&L Motor Freight were allowed to expand intrastate service to points in Oklahoma that they did not already serve,” Stone said. Given the success of the company, they attracted attention of a larger carrier in 1997, merging with Western Parcel Express, a Santa Fe Springs, Calif. based carrier. In January 2000, Edmond Motor Freight and L&L Motor Freight dissolved into Beaver Express, LLC, encompassing the collective growth of all three companies.
In May 2002, the former owners of Beaver Express purchased most of the assets and liabilities of Beaver Express, LLC and created a new company called Beaver Express Service, LLC. Within a few months, a restructuring of the line haul service around the Kansas City market opened the way to package express and LTL freight service to surrounding customers. January 2003 saw the addition of a Beaver Express terminal in Dallas, Texas, followed by growth into East Texas. This was followed by leaps into West Texas including Abilene, San Angelo and Big Spring. In 2005, Beaver Express started flowing freight into major cities in central Missouri, and north central Texas.
Beaver Express Service currently boasts the ability to service all points in Oklahoma and Kansas. They have over 3,200 Direct Service Points in the six-state area. They have 23 strategically located Service Centers, providing dependable pick-up and delivery service. They have partnerships with over 145 contractors that provide local service in most of the smaller towns they serve, ensuring excellent
local service to customers in any size of town.
With a company strategy that has allowed them to remain flexible, Beaver Express Service provides daily service to all points, regardless of volume. Their on-time, dependable delivery is crucial for perishable, seasonal, dated, and medical items. They have free automatic pick-up at the customer’s request. They also handle C.O.D shipments, and provide prompt remittance on all of these shipments.
Additionally, they deliver on Saturday mornings, in many locations, at no additional cost. There are never and size or weight restrictions. The company utilizes a simple small package express rating system, based on the shipment weight, not a “per piece charge” like many parcel carriers. It’s this strategy that allows shippers to save with volume discounts. They offer competitive LTL motor freight rates on larger shipments. Beaver Express also may offer discounts for some heavily traveled traffic lanes, with information available through their Sales and Pricing Department.