Early history of U-Haul

The history of U-Haul goes back to 1945, when twenty-nine-year-old Leonard Shoen co-founded the company with his wife, Anna Mary Carty.

The idea for U-Haul came in 1945, when Leonard Samuel Shoen and his wife, Anna Mary Carty Shoen, tried to rent a trailer to move from Los Angeles to Portland. Nobody offered such a service so they had to take only what they could fit in the car. The Shoens figure they weren’t the only ones who need to rent a trailer from one location to leave at another.

Leonard Shoen started the business in Portland by purchasing trucks, which he then retrofitted to meet the needs of the do-it-yourself moving industry. With initial investment $5,000, U-Haul grew into the country’s largest provider of move-it-yourself rental requirement.

He recruited independently owned service stations to allow him to rent his orange-and-gray trucks and trailers from their sites. In the 1940s and 50s, independent service stations were not as rare as they are today, and they provide a good network of rental locations.

By the early 1980s, Shoen had gradually transferred 95 percent of the company’s shares outstanding to his seven sons and five daughters.
Early history of U-Haul
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Reuters: Business News