CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - With the Cuyahoga County Justice Center in view from their office window at the AECOM Building, two best friends look to give those with a criminal record second chances.

“Can’t judge them based on their past,” said Demetrius Holmes, co-founder of FreeWheeling, LLC, a logistics company based in Cleveland. “They’re good people, they’re good workers.”

Holmes, along with his childhood friend, Charles Brown, founded the company.

Both started the business at the start of 2020 and early on made it a personal mission to hire those who struggle to find work elsewhere.

Holmes said that ten of the company’s 30 employees “have previous records.”

The business has seen nothing short of growth, having shipped all sorts of items across Cleveland—from clothes to water to produce.

“If you get potatoes in Ohio in the next couple of months it most likely was on our truck,” Brown said.

Both co-owners understand their hiring practices come with several challenges, and there’s still a stigma attached to those who have made poor decisions in the past.

“If you have something on your record, the first thing a person is going to do is judge you,” Holmes explained. “What we try to do here, we try to look past that.”

As Free Wheeling continues to grow, both owners see nowhere to go but forward.

“We’ll be starting to hire dispatchers as well... and, again, we will be looking for those with past criminal background records,” Holmes said.

“I feel like we’re changing a lot of people’s lives, their families lives, and that’s what’s important, really,” Brown added.

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