John von Paris
World-class moving and storage owned and operated by one family for over 100 years
John von Paris is the president and CEO of Von Paris Moving and Storage. Founded in 1892, Von Paris has helped its customers relocate their homes, businesses, and belongings for over 100 years—all while remaining under the ownership and management of one family. The company was one of the first in its category to adopt a motorized fleet, and was an early pioneer of long distance interstate and international moving. In addition to its consumer-facing services, Von Paris has handled and stored highly specialized cargo for Fortune 500 companies, museums, sports teams, and more; it is is the official moving partner of the Baltimore Orioles, the Baltimore Ravens, and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Aside from his role at Von Paris, John has served as board chair for the Better Business Bureau of Greater Maryland and the Black and Gold Foundation.
EDWIN WARFIELD: Looking ahead, where do you think Von Paris will be in five years?
JOHN VON PARIS: I think we would be a very high-tech company, much easier to do business with—not that we’re not already, but a much easier company to do business with. And really, we’re going to be basing where we are in five years on the customer’s needs. That’s a secret: learning about what the customers need and then responding to those needs and building a company that can service those needs better than anybody else in the industry.
Q. What does Von Paris do that other movers can’t or don’t?
A. When you take a look at Von Paris—for example, if you take a look at the document management side of our business—where we separate ourselves from others who may be larger than our company is in the area of personalized service. We store your business documents and we handle your shredding and the scanning, but if you need a document on the weekend, we’re part of the community, we’re here. And if you need a document on the weekend, you would have the president of the company’s phone number, and we can get you the document no matter what time day or night, or even if it’s a holiday. So, the personalized service from the Von Paris family, and being part of the community and being the company that is a Maryland-based company that sponsors the Little League and is involved in the community, you’re really buying local, and I think that’s been a big part of our success.
Q. Can you tell us about an interesting or challenging job for a client?
A. I found one of the most interesting moves we’ve ever completed was the move of the Baltimore Orioles from Memorial Stadium to Camden Yards. That was a complex move. It had to be done in a short period of time, and it was not only moving all the memorabilia and all the equipment, but you’re helping a hundred people or so relocate.
I’ll never forget that Saturday when we moved them down there. We had around 25 of our trucks all lined up and seven police cars escorting us down to Camden Yards. It was pretty special and we had probably 50 family members working on that move. We all came together, and it was a celebration because we were excited about the move. It was a celebratory thing for the community, for the Orioles, and for the family. And at the end of the move we all gathered in the office on the first floor of the warehouse there, right in the front door of the warehouse, and we all got together. We had some flowers for the Orioles, and they were orange and black and different colors, and then we got a picture. That was pretty cool.
Q. Why is being a Maryland-based company important to you?
A. I think the reason that we’re here in Maryland, and staying here in Maryland, is because of our ties to the community. We are very involved in the community and we have a history here, and the history goes back many generations—back almost 125 years here in Maryland. We’re tied to this community—we love it. Plus, you have the Chesapeake Bay.
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