Effingham — Odd as it sounds, the origin of Broadway Express becoming a major company in Effingham started at a music festival in Sedalia, Missouri.
Tony Griffith, owner of Broadway Express, had been working at Exxon in the oil business before he was laid off, and went to the Ozark Music Festival in Sedalia, MO in 1974. He met a young truck driver mover, Bob Klaudt, who had a moving truck leased to Bekins Van Lines in Hillside, IL at the event. Klaudt offered him a job as a driver's helper, and he took it.
"That was my first encounter with trucking at $75 per week and all I could eat," Griffith said. As days went by I told Klaudt, "one of these days this truck is going to be mine." Klaudt laughed and said, "Go for it!!!!"
Griffith accompanied Klaudt to California and other states and destinations for the summer as part of Bekins Van Lines Company. On the first trip to California, Tony did Klaudt's paperwork and on the trip back to Texas, he had Tony drive — TONY WAS HOOKED!! Griffith bought the truck three months later.
Griffith then contracted with Bekins Van Lines and through time became one of the top drivers in the entire company. His experience, along with some local friends he hired and contracted to Bekins to drive his truck, ended up starting Broadway Express.
In 1988, Tony purchased the Yellow Freight Terminal on Evergreen Avenue in Effingham, IL and established a regional hub for Bekins specializing in LTL loads (less than a truck load). Bekins operated this hub with dozens of trucks a day — 7 days a week from 1988-1996.
In 40 years, Griffith has moved items for well-known Hollywood celebrities such as Bob Hope and Elizabeth Taylor, Generals in the Air Force including the Chief of Staff, Broadway musicals such as "Showboat" plus the sets for "American Idol" and "X-Factor" with plenty in between.
Broadway Express also moves hospital equipment, gun safes, animatronic dinosaurs and even helicopters.