ST. LOUIS – If you don’t know what to look for, it’s easy to miss Oscar Brooks shop in the 5400 block of Dr. Martin Luther King Drive in North St. Louis.
“The original name was “Gateway Resale,” said Brooks.
Remember that. It’s important. You see Mr. Brooks is semi-retired. His resale business, which he likened to a flea market, once offered local moving services but hasn’t for some time. That’s why he was surprised by a call he got in December from a man in Florida.
“He indicated that he’d hired us to relocate him. And he said also that a rental truck came out and he wrote down the license plates to the rental truck. I said oh, that’s great!” added Brooks.
Great, because Mr. Brooks knew he could prove his business wasn’t involved. Still, he was concerned about the call. He learned the man hired “Gateway Moving and Storage.” A quick internet search takes you to a company website that lists an office in St. Louis County. But get this, the website used to show an address located on Dr. Martin Luther King Drive. The same address as Oscar Brooks “Gateway Resale.” More searching leads to more sites with “Gateway Moving and Storage” at Brooks’ address and phone number.
“I was stunned. I said how can this be going on?” said Brooks.
That’s what we intended to figure out. We found a company named “Gateway Moving and Storage LLC” registered with the Florida Secretary of State. Fox 2’s Mike Colombo called its manager, Kelli Delaney.
“I’m not trying to hide anything, and I don’t know why he got tied into it. Please give my him my number. Obviously, you know my name is Kelli. I’ll answer and watch for his number.” Said Delaney in a phone conversation with Mike Colombo.
Our investigation found there’s more to this story than the call Mr. Brooks received.
“Why do you have a St. Louis mailing address when you’re a Florida based company? Asked Colombo. “We have affiliations across the United States. I can give you a Chicago address, a Los Angeles address, Georgia address,” responded Delaney.
But there’s a problem with the St. Louis County address listed on the company’s website. A quick look at the directory in the front office of the building, and there is no evidence that “Gateway Moving and Storage” has an office there.
Delaney tells Colombo her company has mail forwarded from a virtual office space in the building. The Better Business Bureau’s Don O’Brien explains why some companies to do this.
“If you want to make it seem like you can reach anywhere in a quick amount of time, St. Louis would be a better place to quote “have your business” than one of the coasts. This way you can kind of grab all of America in one spot by saying you’re in the Midwest,” said O’Brien.
The company’s website claims it has served Missouri and Kansas for almost 20 years, yet a document from the Florida Secretary of State shows it was just registered in February 2018. Delaney says she has two decades of industry experience but will change the language of the site to better reflect its recent tie to St. Louis.
“We’ve been in business 33, 34 years right there in the same spot. And never dealt with anything like that,” said Brooks.
We’ve connected Brooks and Delany to make sure it doesn’t happen again.