|Roland C. Hews had a motto when he opened the R.C. Hews Body Shop in 1927. "We take the dents out of accidents…squeaks and rattles removed."|
Picture of Roland Hews' shop circa 1927
From that humble beginning in the basement of a three-story tenement at 883 Congress Street, Hews Company has grown to where today it has operations in two states, employs 50 people, and is northern New England's largest truck-equipment distributor. The business has always remained in the family. A third generation carries on now from a 28,000 square foot facility in South Portland, ME and a 7,000 square foot shop in Bow, NH. Known as "the man with the million-dollar smile", Roland Hews and his two employees quickly earned a reputation for quality auto bodywork. In addition to bodywork, they also built early van bodies, constructing them with oak frames, covered with cold-rolled steel sheets.
During World War II, Roland worked in the shipyards. In 1945 he relocated to an old barn that stood near where Westgate Shopping Center is today. Claude Hews, who joined his father in business in 1946, remembered that old barn was unheated and really cold. In 1946 a 40x120 foot Quonset building was built on St. John Street. At that time the firm was concentrating on building van bodies and providing customers with a growing line of truck equipment.
Hews Co. points proudly to a number of firsts: -First company in Maine to build refrigerated van bodies. -First company in Maine to sell and install over-the-road mechanical refrigerator units. -First company in New England to build all-aluminum frame truck bodies. In the 1950s Hews began expanding rapidly with distributorships of a wide variety of truck equipment. In 1954 they became the sole distributor for Superior buses in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. There also were more firsts in the mid '50s: -Designed and manufactured the first all-steel pulpwood truck bodies for Great Northern Paper Co. These all-steel bodies replaced the heavier short-lived oak-framed bodies used at that time. -Introduced the telescoping hoist to make the pulp bodies self-dumping. -Designed and built the first self-loading pulpwood pallet truck bodies for Scott Paper Co.
In the 1960s Hews had become the largest builder of truck bodies and distributor of truck equipment in northern New England. Orders came from companies throughout New England. It was during that period that Hews Company acquired Barrett Equipment in Hooksett, NH, a well-established firm specializing in sales and service of dump bodies. This facility now goes by the Hews Company name. The present building in South Portland was constructed in 1967. It was specially designed for the manufacture and repair of truck bodies and the sale and service of truck equipment. The third generation now runs the company. Bob Hews is the company president and Charlie Hews is the executive vice president. The 4th generation of Hews is involved in the company with Jim Hews serving as the Vice President of Operations, Drew Hews as Vice President of Bow, New Hampshire Operations and Elizabeth Harrington serving as the Administrative Manager.
11,046 sq. ft. Bow, NH Facility shown
|Bob Hews points out that today most truck bodies are supplied by manufacturers and installed by Hews on a truck chassis. Truck-mounted cranes have become an important part of Hews Company's product line. Hews Co. has also become known throughout the Northeast for the custom designed and built "Form-master" body that is built at our facility. These "Form-master" bodies have been displayed at trade shows from Las Vegas to Orlando, and are in use from Colorado to Nantucket. Other new product lines include on-board scale systems, refuse bodies, car carriers and wreckers, and radio-remote systems for cranes.|
28,000sq. ft. South Portland Facility shown
|For over 80 years, the men and women working together at Hews Co. have maintained the principles and dedication to quality products and service established by Roland C. Hews at the humble body shop on Congress Street in 1927. Many Hews employees have been with the company for 25 years or more. This loyalty comes from a working environment that fosters creativity, individual growth and reward for work performed. Bob Hews sums it up, "We will continue to build on our history of quality and innovation. We will combine a commitment to our customers, a group of quality suppliers, and an experienced, dedicated team of employees to provide products and services, unequalled in our industry."|