Bekins storage in Hollywood

Throwback Thursday: Bekins in Southern California

Since 1891, Bekins Van Lines has been a leader of innovation in the household-goods moving industry. Throughout Bekins rich history, the specialization in storage became a primary service, especially in Los Angeles and its surrounding areas. For a special throwback Thursday, here is an article from the LA Times in 1989. Looking back how Bekins changed the storage business as well as the South California landscape.

Bekins: A Storehouse of History
LA Times
March 01, 1989
Leon Whiteson

They rise like medieval castle keeps above busy Southern California intersections. Their steep blank sides, relieved by rows of small windows, give no clue to the activities behind their fortress-like walls. Only the skyline signs reading Bekins Storage reveal the mundane purpose of these muscular architectural landmarks.

The era of the grand Bekins castles is past, along with the grandeur of the service that moved America when the entire country seemed to be shifting West. But as the company’s late president intended, Bekins’ powerful buildings stand as permanent landmarks on our changing urban landscape.

According to contemporaries, Milo Bekins believed that “moving is the American way.” He also believed that customers entrusting their personal possessions to Bekins needed the sense of reassurance offered by solidly built warehouses located on prominent sites. In a young and rapidly expanding city such as Los Angeles, where so many buildings seemed flimsy and transitory, he decided that his structures for temporary storage would appear unshakably permanent.

Bekins built its first reinforced concrete warehouses in the 1920s and ’30s. A prime example of its architectural style is the 55-year-old building at 929 S. Brand Blvd. in Glendale, a solid oblong box that towers seven stories high.

Bekins Santa MonicaAt street level, the arches of a recessed arcade mark a regular rhythm between the slender vertical columns that rise to the roof and end in finials resembling little dunce caps. Between the main columns are small pilasters that form frilly edges to the concrete cliff at top and bottom. Tiny windows make the building appear even bulkier, increasing its presence on the street.

Yet another landmark warehouse, an eight-story castle built in 1929, is located at the corner of Pico and Crenshaw boulevards. A ground-floor arcade houses a row of shops, including Bekins’ furniture sales division, and arches are two stories high, allowing light to filter into second-floor offices.

In its heyday the Bekins Co. owned more than 100 storage buildings in 14 states. In an attempt to streamline its operations in the face of stiff competition, Bekins began selling off its real estate in the early 1980s. By 1983, when purchased by Minstar Inc. of Minneapolis, Minn., Bekins’ stock of warehouses had been reduced to 55.

Founded in 1891

Bekins Van Lines was founded in 1891 in Sioux City, Iowa, by two young Dutch immigrant brothers, Martin and John Bekins. Martin moved west four years later, first to Omaha, Neb., and then Los Angeles. In 1895 the brothers organized the first transcontinental move from Sioux City to Los Angeles, and opened an office here in an old van at the corner of 2nd and Main streets.

bekins-storageOne year later, Martin Bekins owned six horse-drawn vans and a one-story brick storage building at 360 S. Alameda St. A five-story reinforced concrete building was later built on the site and still stands alongside the original warehouse.

The Bekinses were innovators in the moving and storage business. The first company in the West to specialize in household goods, Bekins later pioneered the concept of containerized storage. In 1903, Martin Bekins introduced the “side-winder” gasoline-powered moving truck to Los Angeles.

Martin’s son, Milo, took over as Bekins chairman in 1927, and built the company into the largest operation of its kind in the world. In the 1950s, 1,000 Bekins vans rolled across the country, serving a restless post-World War II population moving from the cities to the suburbs, and from one suburb to another.

A Simple Formula

The pre-World War II Bekins buildings were designed by structural engineers rather than architects. The vaguely Italianate style of decoration, featuring mini-pilasters and curly roof lines, was culled from the contemporary architectural pattern books popular among designers at the time. An example of the style can be seen at the 511 S. Fair Oaks Ave. warehouse in Pasadena.

Bekins buildings had a simple structural and design formula. Columns were spaced in 26-foot bays under 12-foot ceilings. At the rear were one or two high doors for loading and unloading goods. Ground floor frontages were glassed-in for small shops or offices. Big metal signs displaying the company name dominated the skyline.

LABekinsSMBThe warehouses have stored an extraordinary range of personal items over the decades, from cases of monocles to the Pentagon Papers. The latter, a top-secret study of U.S. military involvement in Indochina, was stored in the Bekins Beverly Hills warehouse at 215 S. Canon Drive, in “several metal handcases, a footlocker, 18 book volumes, a large cardboard carton and a large carton file,” according to an affidavit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice.

In the 1940s and ’50s, the style of the Bekins buildings changed. In keeping with the undecorated modernist fashion then coming into vogue, the warehouses became plainer and squatter.

Typically Featureless

The 1943 four-story concrete warehouse at 35 W. Huntington Drive in Arcadia, a similar design at 2101 E. Carson Street in Long Beach, and the 1953 five-story building at 1425 Holt Blvd. in Pomona are examples of the slab-sided, featureless and almost windowless blocks typical of this period.

The company also bought warehouses built by other storage companies. The 11-story Hollywood Storage Co. building at 1025 N. Highland Ave. was the tallest structure in Hollywood when erected in 1925. It was purchased by Bekins in 1939. And in 1943, a nine-story structure at 3625 S. Grand Ave., built in 1924 by the Birch-Smith Storage Co., was added to Bekins real estate inventory.

The original article can be found here: http://articles.latimes.com/1989-03-01/news/vw-725_1_bekins-vans

Inside of a classroom with back to school on the chalkboard

Save on Back to School Shopping

With another busy moving season wrapping up, it is about time to get your kids ready for school and with that comes back to school shopping. According to the National Retail Federation, the average family is expected to spend $606 per child for back to school shopping. If you have more than one child, the dollars add up fast. Here are a few ways to save this year:

Take inventory – Take inventory of what your child already has for clothes and shoes in order to avoid burning money on items that are already in the closet. Take the opportunity to teach your child a lesson in charity and donate any outgrown clothes or shoes. Articles of clothing that are beyond repair can be torn up and used as rags for cleaning.

Also, take inventory of office supplies sitting around the house. You may find some notebooks, folders, pens and pencils that can be of used for the upcoming school year.

Create a shopping list with your child and stick with it – After taking inventory you will have a pretty good idea about what items are needed for the year ahead. If you have just moved, be sure to consider what might be needed with the weather at your new home. Sit down with your child and discuss what supplies they think they will need. Stick to the list and avoid falling for the deals that aren’t needed.  Just because an item is “on sale” doesn’t mean you’re saving money by buying it. If you don’t need it, don’t buy it.

Take advantage of sales tax holidays – This is a great way to save if your state offers it. There are different requirements for each state, so do your research and double check what is being offered.

Plan lunch – If your child does not eat school lunch, you will most likely be the one to prepare it. The best way to do this is plan lunches for a week out by making a grocery list and sticking with it. Check for weekly deals on meat products and other items used for lunch. Consider going to big box stores to stock up on items that are non-perishable.

Get next year’s supplies this fall – The best and cheapest time to get school supplies is after school has already started. Stock up on supplies for the following school year or for next semester.

Back-to school swap – Coordinate with mothers of children the same gender as yours but different ages to host an annual clothes swap.  This is a great way to meet families in the area after moving, while saving money, too!

Track the sales and shop online – The easiest and most time-effective way to compare sales is online. It’s also easier to find coupons online and use them on the spot when purchasing items. By shopping online, you are also saving on gas and lunch that usually goes into a day of shopping.

Use apps to get some couponsShop Kick, Retail Me Not and Target’s Cartwheel offer coupons based on your location. With Target’s app, you can scan items and it will bring up their available coupons.

Happy shopping!

 

truck

What’s Inside Bekins’ Trailers?

Bekins’ trucks and trailers travel all across America packed to the max with household goods. Here is what an empty, brand-new trailer looks like before it is it put to work!

Bekins Truck 1

Semi-trailers at Bekins are 53 feet long and have side doors on them. Some have one side door, but this new one has two.

Inside the trailer 3

Trailers can pack 25,000 – 28,000 lbs. of household goods with the maximum weight capacity of 80,000 lbs. for your standard 18 wheel semi truck and trailer.

Inside Bekins Truck

Bekins’ trailers hold more than just your household items. Our semi-trailers come equipped with 200-250 furniture pads to keep your furniture beautiful and comfortable. For the more cumbersome household items each Bekins trailer has a detachable walk board (incline ramp) and other equipment to help with the move.

Roof of Bekins Truck

The numbers on the roof are cubic foot measurements to help the movers gauge how much space is available inside the trailer.

Outside of closed door Bekins Truck

If you are concerned about your odd-shaped items each trailer can accommodate with the belly box underneath each trailer.

We want to see what you see! Post to our Facebook and Twitter pages when you see a Bekins truck on the road!

RichmondVA_Skyline

Happiness is in Richmond, Virginia

Want to move to the happiest place in the country? Looks like you are headed to Richmond, Virginia!

According to the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research, Richmond, Va. was ranked as the “most contented area in the country” and contented equals happiness. What makes Richmond the most contented place in the country?

Fellow Richmonder, Teresa Bonifas, explained why she thought they were ranked as the most contented place in the country. “The best thing about Richmond is there is always something to do at any given time. The southern charm and history of Richmond along with the many festivals, restaurants, outdoor activities and central location will make anyone fall in love with this city.” Bonifas continued, “Richmond is a place where people say please and thank you and give an appreciative wave when driving while also coming together to support the city’s many programs.”

Here are some other facts from visitrichmondva.com:

  • Richmond has hot summers and generally mild winters.
  • In September 2007, Richmond was ranked the third-best city for business by MarketWatch.
  • The Richmond Region has more than 18,000 hotel rooms and 900 restaurants with prices to fit every budget. They also have a growing food truck and craft brewery scene.
  • Richmond is located along the James River, which offers bike trails, hiking and nature trails, various water sports and scenic overlooks.
  • Several colleges and universities call Richmond home, including Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and University of Richmond.
  • Richmond has a long, rich history, including being the capital of the confederacy in the Civil War. Richmond offers several Civil War attractions throughout the area.
  • There are six Fortune 500 companies that are headquartered in the Richmond Region, which is among the top 15 cities in the nation with the most Fortune 500 company headquarters.
  • The Region hosts a variety of sporting events throughout the year, including two NASCAR races and Dominion Riverrock, and is home to minor league sports teams Richmond Flying Squirrels (baseball) and Richmond Kickers (soccer).
  • There are more than 80 attractions in the Richmond Region. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Henricus Historical Park, the James River, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Kings Dominion and numerous Civil War sites are just a small sampling of all the Region has to offer.
  • Parenting.com named Richmond as “America’s healthiest city and one of the best cities for families” in 2010.
  • Trail Runner ranked Richmond as one of the nation’s “Top Seven Cities for Trail Runners” in 2009.
  • MovieMaker named Richmond one of the nation’s “Top 10 Cities for Filmmakers” in 2011.
  • Forbes.com ranked Richmond as one of the nation’s “100 Best Bang-For-The-Buck Cities” in 2009.

Richomonders have a lot to be proud of and have no problem showing it. “Richmonders love showing their pride whether it is displaying a RVA sticker on their car, flying a U of R flag on their house, or walking down the street in VCU apparel,” Bonifas said.

Below is the top ten list of the “Most Contented Area in the Country. ”For more about the Happiest and Unhappiest places in the country,visit http://www.cbsnews.com/news/passage-the-happiest-and-unhappiest-cities/
1.    Richmond-Petersburg, Va.
2.    Norfolk-Virginia Beach-Newport News, Va.
3.    Washington, D.C.
4.    Raleigh-Durham, N.C.
5.    Atlanta, Ga.
6.    Houston, Texas
7.    Jacksonville, Fla.
8.    Nashville, Tenn.
9.    West Palm Beach-Boca Raton, Fla.
10.    Middlesex-Somerset-Hunterdon, N.J.

References:

http://www.visitrichmondva.com/media/media-kit/fastfacts/

http://www.richmond.com/city-life/article_eb55921e-1270-11e4-aa55-0017a43b2370.html

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/passage-the-happiest-and-unhappiest-cities/

skd273191sdc

Buyer Beware: Read This Before Buying a Flipped House

When relocating you will more than likely go through the process of finding a new home. Buying is a huge commitment, and it will be important take your time to ensure you find the perfect house for you and your family. During your search, you will most likely come across flipped homes for sale. A flipped house is a redevelopment of distressed or abandoned properties, fixing them up and selling them for a profit.

According to RealtyTrac, homes flipped in 2013 accounted for 4.6 percent of all U.S. single family home sales during the year, up from 4.2 percent in 2012 and up from 2.6 percent in 2011. There are a lot of people that are great at flipping houses, but there are some that do the bare minimum — mainly cosmetic improvements – to sell the house and make a buck. If you’re considering purchasing a flipped home, below are a few extra steps to ensure you purchase the best home for you and not one that was just cosmetically flipped.

  • Do your research.  Check online, ask your realtor and talk to the neighbors to find out about the house prior to the renovation. Realtors will have disclosers if the current owner received them, so make sure to ask for all documentation.
  • Hire an experienced home inspector and have your inspection done as soon as possible. A home inspector will be able to tell if the work on the house was complete and done properly.
  • Look for structural problems. Tip-offs include cracking in the exterior brick, evidence of tuck-pointing in the area, unleveled floors and bad finish work. If you suspect issues, consider hiring a structural engineer.
  • Check for permits on the house – unpermitted work is a bad sign. Make sure the permits were pulled and closed out properly with inspections done at completion.
  • Pay attention to details. Does the dryer and heater vent out of the house? Is there a new circuit breaker panel with a state inspection sticker on it? Ask to see the manuals of the new appliances as these should be on hand if they were recently bought. Check to see separate hot and cold knobs in the shower, this usually points to old plumbing.
  • Who worked on the house? Find out what contractors, plumbers, electricians, etc., that made improvements on the house and check their reputations online, such as the Better Business Bureau website and Angie’s List.
  • If you are considering buying a house that was up for auction, talk to your realtor about the risks. These are generally without warranty or any guarantee of clear title.

There is nothing wrong with buying a flipped house, but there are always some bad eggs in the basket.  It is important to do your research, pay attention to details, and, if all else fails, ask an expert before making a commitment to buy the perfect house for you.

References:
http://realestate.msn.com/blogs/post–5-questions-buyers-can-ask-about-a-flipped-home
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/buying-a-flipped-home-be-careful-2013-08-26
http://www.zillow.com/blog/problems-with-flipped-houses-78938/
http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/lifestyle/2014/07/how-to-spot-a-home-flip-money-pit/

 

roadtrip

Family Fun with Road Trip Games

All of your household belongings are packed in the Bekins truck and now you are making a road trip to your new home. Make your journey interesting with a few of these road trip games. It is a great way to pass the time as well as bond with your family as you embark on your new adventure.

Spot the Bekins Truck
Here at Bekins, one of our favorite games to play on a long road trip is spot the Bekins truck. Count how many Bekins moving trucks you pass while traveling to your destination. Whoever spots the most wins! One of the Bekins trucks could be the one moving your belongings!

Bekins_Triple Crown Muffucci

I Spy
This is possible one of the most popular games of all time. One person chooses a nearby object and says, “I spy with my little eye something that begins with ____________ or something that is the color ________.” The player who guesses the correct object gets to go next. Remember, it’s best not to choose something that will be out of site in a few seconds, such as a moving car.

Banana Game
Similar to “Spot the Bekins Truck,” anyone who spots a yellow car shouts “Banana!” and gets a point. You can make up your own point system. For example, a school bus could be worth five points or a little yellow corvette could be two points. It’s your game, so you make the rules!

License Plate Game
There are many ways to play the license plate game and adjustments can be made depending on the age of your kids. Young participants can call out spotted license plate letters in alphabetical order. The first one to Z wins. Next, have them look for doubles of letters or numbers on the plates. Older kids can spot out-of-state plates they see. To make it harder, they would have to spot state license plates in alphabetical order.

Name that Tune
The winner here is the one who figures out the name of the “mystery song” first. You can sing, whistle, or hum a tune after choosing a theme for the game, such as show tunes, movie or TV themes, or contemporary music. The winner gets to be the singer for the next round. You can also guess songs on the radio by hitting the “seek” button.

I’m Going On A Picnic…
One person begins by saying “I’m going on a picnic, and I’m bringing…” and then whatever they choose to bring, according to a special pattern or rule that only they know. Maybe it’s only things that are a certain color or start with a certain letter. Other players try to guess the secret theme of the picnic by suggesting their own items to bring. The picnic planner then tells them whether or not they can bring that item based on the secret pattern. The first person to guess the pattern wins and gets to lead the next picnic.

Seven Questions
The rules are simple: Players must take turns asking each other questions. Any player who hesitates, laughs or actually answers a question loses. The game can be played for points or just for bragging rights of not getting disqualified. Of course, the best way to win is to get into your opponent’s head: “Are we still playing?” “Did you just hesitate?” “Do you think we can pull over soon for a bathroom break?”

What are some fun games that you and your family pass the time on a long car ride?

 

 

 

References: http://www.minitime.com/trip-tips/Top-5-Road-Trip-Games-article, http://www.edmunds.com/car-reviews/top-10/top-10-road-trip-games.html, http://www.pbs.org/parents/summer/road-trip-games-for-kids/

exercise

Combat Stress with 20 Minutes of Exercise

Moving inevitably will cause stress under any circumstances, but one of the most important ways to combat it is exercising 20 minutes a day.

Exercising just 20 minutes a day can benefit your physical and mental health. Here’s how:

  • Exercise increases the flow of the blood to the brain, just as it improves circulation to the heart and the rest of the body.
  • Increased core temperature during exercise may lead to reduced muscle tension.
  • Activity also stimulates the growth of nerve cells in the part of the brain involved in memory. When we’re stressed, cortisol and adrenaline are surging and we forget things. In the brain, cortisol is binding with receptors in the hippocampus, the seat of memory formation and learning. If stress is left unchecked over time key connections between nerve cells in the brain won’t function as well, impairing memory and ability to take in new information and raising the risk for depression and anxiety.
  • Exercise produces neurohormones like norepinephrine that are associated with improved cognitive function, elevated mood and learning. It improves thinking dulled by stressful events.
  • Physical activity helps to bump up the production of your bran’s feel-good neurotransmitters, serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, which can affect mood and anxiety levels.
  • Blood flow drains metabolic waste products away.
  • Exercise pumps blood containing oxygen, fluids and nutrients to active muscles.

Easy ways to exercise every day and easy on your budget:

  • Go for a walk! If you have a dog, take them because they need it just as much as you do! Go to a park or around the block. It’s always good to get fresh air.
  •  You don’t have a buy a workout videos anymore. You can find workout and instructional videos all over the internet and they are free! Find something you like and keep up with it. Some places to find these at youtube.com or Pinterest. Here is a list from Learnvest of the best free workouts online: http://www.learnvest.com/2013/01/10-free-workout-sites-youll-love/
  •  Put together a routine. For example: 10 pushups, 20 sit ups, 25 squats, 20 lunges (10 per leg), 80 jumping jacks and 60 second wall sits. Repeat three times or when 20 minutes is up.
  • Do you love playing sports? Join a recreational league and play your favorite sport. You might even make new friends!
  • If you sit most of the day, take a walk on your break or leave some time for your lunch. Sitting all day is not good for your health, so the more you move throughout the day, the better.

Remember certain exercises aren’t for everyone. Know your limits. Start small and work your way up. It’s better to be doing something than nothing. Get exercising!

 

References: Community Health Network, Learnvest

 

destin

Need a Vacation? Visit These Top Vacation Spots in the Country

Want to get away after a big move across the country or just need a vacation? You are not alone! About 89 percent of people in the United States are planning a summer trip this year, according to a survey by TripAdvisor and these are the top destinations around United States.

Key West, Fla. – The Southernmost city in the continental U.S. is a 120-mile long island chain connected to mainland Florida by US 1. Obviously the main attraction is the beach, but there is a lot to do and see, such as the John Pennkamp Park (the nation’s first underwater park), Duval Street, Theater of the Sea, the Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Park, just to name a few.

San Diego, Calif. – San Diego is known for their extensive beaches, mild climate year-round and natural deep water harbor. Things to do include Balboa Park, Belmont amusement park, San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park and SeaWorld San Diego. San Diego hosted 32 million visitors in 2012. Between Coronado, the Ansa-Borrego Desert and the Laguna Mountains, there is plenty to do whether it’s relaxing by the beach or spending a day hiking and exploring.

San FranSan Francisco, Calif. – The City by the Bay is known for its cool summers, fog, steep rolling hills, eclectic culture, architecture and, of course, the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars and Alcatraz Island. Every neighborhood in San Francisco has its own personality, but the most popular is the Marina District that has perfect views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Pier 39, cheese sampling at the Ferry building and Delores Park across from Ocean Beach. Fisherman’s Wharf is San Francisco’s most popular attraction where you can visit Pier 39 and see sea lions lounge on the rocks all day.

Virginia Beach, Va. – The city is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as having the longest pleasure beach in the world. Virginia Beach is a resort city with miles of beaches and hundreds of hotels, motels and restaurants along its oceanfront. It is also home to several state parks, several long-protected beach areas, three military bases, a number of large corporations and two universities. The Virginia Beach boardwalk is three miles lined with hotels and restaurants with lanes for walkers, bicycles, roller blades, and surreys.

Orlando, Fla. – What else can you say about the city that has Disney World – aka the “Most Magical Place on Earth”? Orlando is one of the leading tourism destinations in the world, boasting 59 million visitors a year. The resort is 42,000 acres, with 24 resort hotels, four theme parks, two water parks and four golf courses. Other non-Disney parks in Orlando include SeaWorld Orlando and Universal Orlando Resort.

Ocean CityOcean City, Md. – Ocean city stretches along 10 miles of beach from the inlet to the Delaware State line. It offers a three-mile classic wooden boardwalk lines with hotels, food, games and shopping. Ocean City is visited mostly by people living in the Mid-Atlantic region, which hosts 8 million visitors annually.

 

 

Destin, Fla. – Who wouldn’t want to go to a place that has beautiful, clear green water and beaches with the whitest, softest sand in the world? Destin is located on Florida’s Emerald Coast and sees 4.5 million visitors each year. One of the most popular activities in Destin is chartering fishing vessels. You can visit the two-year old Destin boardwalk that has water attractions, restaurants, zip lining and amusement rides.

New York, N.Y. – Home to more than 8 million people and the most populated city in the United States, the Big Apple hosts around 55 million visitors annually. The many districts and landmarks will keep you busy the entire time, with the most popular being Times Square, Broadway Theater District, Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Central Park, Rockefeller Center and list goes on. No wonder why they call it “the city that never sleeps.”

Las Vegas, Nev. – Leave the kids at home and head to the Entertainment Capital of the World, which hosts the best casinos, shopping, fine dining and nightlife in the country. Stay and walk on the Las Vegas strip, which is 4.2 miles long and has 15 of the world’s largest hotels on it. The most popular, free attractions are the fountains at the Bellagio, the volcano at the Mirage and Festival Fountain at Caesar’s Palace. If you have any money left over after visiting the numerous casinos, go see one of the many shows Las Vegas has to offer.

Myrtle Beach, S.C. – The Grand Strand stretches 60 miles of the South Carolina coast, making Myrtle Beach a vacation destination for 14 million visitors in the spring, summer and fall months. With 87 golf courses in the area, Myrtle Beach is a golfer’s paradise. There is plenty to do, such as visiting Broadway by the Beach, Carolina Opry, Barefoot Landing, Legends in concert as well as countless restaurants and bars.

What other places are great vacation destinations for you and your family?

 

 

References: TripAdvisor.com, Disney.com, Wikipedia.com, Chamber of Commerce Sites for each city