All things here should be known as truth. These are the historical events that led to the anomaly we know today as the Little Guys Movers moving company. It is a company culture like none other; a strong brotherhood comprised of those with great will and “conquer-all” attitudes. We are a group of callous-handed life lovers. We are a moving company built on sweat, strong backs, and a simple philosophy: “do right by people and you will be rewarded.”
We have a few tricks up our sleeve this year. Stay tuned!
New Adventures: 2017-2019
We were feeling really good in Murfreesboro, so we renewed that store’s lease through 2021. We are always looking for a better building, but this location is hard to beat! Then, the Murfreesboro team got to move tables and chairs for the iconic Hard Rock Cafe in downtown Nashville.
In October, we purchased and renovated an old Dollar Store at 461 W 15th Street in Fayetteville, Arkansas – at the time, we were located in an old renovated Blockbuster Video – and the Fayetteville crew moved into the new location at the end of October. Is that a move up or a move down? In any case, home sweet home!
Zach Blair accepted the challenge of Branch Manager in Lexington, KY and packed up the family and left Austin. 5-year Little Guy Ramon Garza (recently graduated) jumped at the opportunity to work with his ol’ buddy ol’ pal Ryan Adams as the new Operations Director in ATX.
We decided to duplicate our North Carolina strategy in Florida and open 2 locations at the same time. Rusten Bullard left Lubbock in the good hands of Drew Brannon and headed out to Gainesville to open up the 5th location for our franchisee, dear friend, and all-around badass, David Conklin.
Florida native Joshua Davis was hired as Branch Manager for Tallahassee. Denton Master Crew Leader, Brett Rice, moved from Texas to help make all the first Florida moves excellent. We bought a brand new 2019 Hino, and she was christened Betty Mae Jumper.
We spent much of 2018 working with a consultant on perfecting our franchise sales and support program and making sure we are ready to help 4 to 5 new franchisees get operations up and running at the same time. We are ready, so bring them on!
If you see yard signs with our name on them in your neighborhood, well, this is the year that we started doing that!
In February we became aware that a lady in Greensboro had started advertising “Little Guys Moving” in the local paper, and we had to go a few rounds with her before she finally ceased and desisted.
We had more square footage than we needed at our national headquarters in Denton so we were on the lookout for the perfect folks to rent some space to. We are huge fans of film, and ran across a couple of guys that were going to put Denton, Texas on the map in the film industry. Andrew and Isaac Lewis of Denton Film became our first tenants. Check out some of their awesome work.
In 2017, we reached a major milestone for Little Guys Movers: 25 years in business. When we began this venture out of our garage in 1992, we never could have imagined we would complete over 250,000 moves, have Little Guys locations all across the country, and meet so many incredible customers and employees over the years.
To celebrate a quarter-century of Little Guys Movers, we partnered with Audacity Brew House in Denton, Texas to brew “Little Guys Lifter,” a refreshing lager perfect for raising a glass to Little Guys’ big achievements. We hosted a beer release party at Dan’s Silverleaf in downtown Denton and invited friends, family, and the entire community to join. We also commemorated this notable occasion with a killer line of t-shirts from Pan Ector Industries. They designed four 25th anniversary shirts for us that are our favorite additions to our closet.
Our 25th year was one for the books, full of celebration and, of course, lots of moves! Here’s to 25 more!
Not So Little: 2011-2016
Let the records show that in February of 2016, Little Guys Movers in Denton moved into their very own custom-made forever home. Everyone loves the new shop! When April rolled around, team Denton took home the Best of Denton award for the third year in a row. 2016 also marked Eric’s 20th year in the company!
It was a time for growth and change. We were putting the finishing touches on our new CRM development and started pushing for expansion through franchising, in which David Conklin starred in a great video to get the word out to future Little Guys franchisees.
Adam Bingham moved back to Fort Collins from Austin as Ops Director. Austin misses him, but knows he is happy to be home.
Raleigh got another truck and kept up the good work on the charity front, helping out people in the community through CASA and fundraiser events. They also hit the $1 million mark this year!
The Austin store took on more community outreach, working with American Diabetes Assoc. Salvation Army, Austin Furniture Bank, and The Arc of The Capital Area.
Meanwhile, Lexington celebrates that they have officially moved to 25 states! Little Guys really go the distance.
Early in the year, exciting things were on the horizon for the Little Guys in Denton as we prepared to begin construction for the first-ever Little Guys shop designed precisely to our specs. In May, we had a whole groundbreaking ceremony and everything. Things were starting to get real as the building was erected and we prepared for our own move from the Elm Street location to our brand new Little Guys home. The Denton location won Best of Denton for the first time, since the Denton Record-Chronicle finally decided to add a category that celebrates awesome local movers.
Speaking of moves (we always are), Fayetteville threw a giant re-opening party after moving into the new place, celebrating all the new room to work and play. They were also featured as the Business of the Month in the local paper. Not too long after, the shop’s Assistant Operations Director, Chris Wong, accepted the position of Operations Director at the home-base LGM in Denton, and James Bell was promoted from Master Crew Leader to the Assistant Ops spot.
Little Guys in Norman celebrated their fifteenth anniversary. Go Norman!
Meanwhile, it was time to get serious in Texas. Longtime Murfreesboro manager, Chris Coffee, visited the Austin branch to help train and evaluate staff. Fort Collins’ manager, Adam Bingham, accepted the challenge to take on the role of Operations Director there too. By the end of 2015, Austin saw a sales increase of 80% from the year before. That’s what we call rockin’ and rollin’!
Things were kickin’ in Raleigh too, so they added another truck to their fleet. They also teamed up with Raleigh Orthopedics for a fundraising event involving moving a bunch of stationary bikes, and continued helping folks in the community by working with CASA and The Green Chair Project.
Some good changes went down in Kentucky when Gary Shoults took over as Branch Manager in Lexington. The shop relocated to a spot where it is more functional, with easier access and better public visibility.
On October 1, Little Guys Movers opened up shop in Wilmington, NC, with Andrew Harmon moving in from Operations Director in Greensboro to the being the new Branch Manager in North Carolina. Josh McKelvey filled his shoes back in Greensboro.
Jeff and JD were presented with their 15-year shotguns for all they’ve done for the company over the years.
And how could we forget – in September, Ryan Adam’s family grows with the birth of a baby boy, a true Little Guy!
This year we made some moves of our very own! Austin moved from one spot to another (much better) spot; Little Guys Movers in Norman moved into their biggest and best building yet, just off I-35, and they managed to do it just as the busy season was kicking off. Murfreesboro relocated, too, with a grand re-opening party in July.
San Marcos didn’t move locations, but with all the changes they experienced the year before, this was a record-breaking year for them, bringing in the highest sale volumes the location had ever seen! This was due largely in part to a new Crew Leader Tracking system and their blossoming relationships with commercial clients like Texas State University, the City of San Marcos, Central Texas Medical Center, and the local ISD. Little Guys love big moves.
And speaking of good things happening, 2014 was the year that San Marcos, Fort Collins, Fayetteville, and Norman all hit over $1 million in sales for the first time!
This year, like every year at Little Guys Movers, was a year for giving back. After the tornado disaster in Oklahoma, Little Guys gathered and delivered donations to help people affected. Fayetteville started working with the Jackson Graves Foundation to deliver toys to the hospital in Little Rock over the holidays, and they volunteered around the city wherever a little heavy lifting was needed. Little Guys Movers in Raleigh partnered with The Green Chair Project to lend a hand moving donated furniture for families transitioning from homelessness to home. They also started working with CASA to help veterans in need.
It was a year for growing, too. Raleigh increased their fleet of trucks. The Fayetteville shop grew into a better location for their needs and acquired a new 26-foot box truck. In July, the Denton shop got an ice machine and they were really, REALLY excited about it. (They also won “Best of Denton” for the second year in a row, which is also very cool.) And the Norman store crossed over the million dollar mark in sales for the first time!
In April 2014 took a company trip to Wilmington, NC with David Conklin to see if they could handle Little Guys Movers. As it would turn out… they can and do!
We ended up loving it so much we went back to the North Carolina coast for a summer trip and even brought our families.
Early in the year, we once again gathered all of our hard-working managers back to Denton for our annual manager meeting. Over the course of several days, we played hard but worked harder. Spending quality time as a team every year allows us to maintain a united vision and values, especially while we continue growing in scope and size.
In February, Denton’s shop helped Little Guys Movers HQ move into their new home base.
This year, Little Guys Movers in Austin helped train and support management for the San Marcos branch and the shop underwent more than a few changes, all for the better. Josh Paselk was promoted to General Manager in San Marcos and began implementing exciting new ways to keep track of information in the store and motivate his crews.
Speaking of promotions, 2013 was the year Brad Steiger moved into the General Manager position in Denton after Jeff took over overseeing all the shops at HQ as Director of Safety and Compliance. In Norman, Ryan Hamblin was promoted to General Manager, and McVay was made Operations Director. Blake Allen was brought on board in Raleigh to head operations.
Meanwhile, the guys over in Fayetteville added two new trucks to their fleet and had their first large-scale commercial move, helping Acumen Brands/Country Outfitters move into their new 100,000 square foot warehouse. They also stepped up their charity game, adopting and cleaning up Gregory Park and lending a hand after the city of Joplin was devastated by an F5 tornado.
Finally, 2013 marked a momentous milestone for the company – the invaluable, the incomparable Shane Onstead receives his 15-year company shotgun. Thank you, Shane, for helping us build this company into what it is today!
February 2012 started off with a bang as we opened our newest location in Lexington, KY. Of course, as with every other grand opening, it didn’t happen without a few bumps in the road. About a week before opening, the following conversation took place:
Chris to Marcus: “Hey, did you get the Household Goods Carrier License for this state?”
Marcus: “NO, didn’t you?!”
Suddenly we found ourselves with a 3-year lease on a property, a brand new manager salary to pay, and, you guessed it … no moving license to our name! But true to our persistent nature, we scrambled to get the application in and vowed to call the folks in charge every day until it was approved. As it would turn out, the state of Kentucky’s response to our application was to notify all other moving companies in the state that we were hunting for a moving license, and they were each given 30 days to protest the application. If any moving company did in fact protest, we would’ve had to attend a hearing and therein prove that the people of Lexington need/deserve/want another option when it comes to a moving service provider. We were told by some at the state that they couldn’t remember the last time any company won their motion in a similar situation, and that our best bet would be to buy an existing license from somebody who wanted out of the business or had an extra one lying around. Believe it or not, we found the latter, and spent the next several months negotiating, cussing, and discussing. Throughout this period in limbo Donavon Davis, our new manager of the Lexington branch, did an absolute bang up job with what little he legally could do.
Fast forward a few months, and this location is completely rocking. (And on that note, we would just like to say to anybody attempting to come into this market by applying for an HHG license – we will NOT protest your application. We believe in free enterprise and the spirit of competition, and to those companies that protested our application, SUCK IT!)
February 2012 – A franchisee opens a store in Tulsa, OK and Jaime Kilpatrick — brave soul that she is — becomes Little Guys Movers’ first female GM.
March 2012 – Little Guys plays an integral part in the planning and execution of the 2012 35 Denton music festival in their hometown of Denton, TX. Becoming involved with and supporting our local music and arts scene means a great deal to us, and is something we do with pride.
This same month we take on Swash Labs (or is it they take us on?) as our marketing agency, and we begin a hard and fast education on social media, marketing, and creating our social personality as a national brand.
July 2012 – Our annual GM Retreat is held near Fayetteville, AR on Table Rock Lake in Missouri. We rented two large houseboats, played on the water for three days, and went through 50 cases of beer … an overall success story if you ask us! These annual retreats are a time of team-building, and also a chance to show gratitude to the leaders of our stores for all the hard work they do.
July 2012 – Joseph Barnes was promoted from his position as GM in Fayetteville, AR to the official Director of New Market Development. We liked what he was doing so much that we put him in charge of researching potential markets, applying for all HHG licenses in a timely manner, hiring the right people to manage stores, and helping these managers get everything up and running. Joseph’s promotion created an opportunity for Fayetteville native Jake LaDue to step into the GM shoes in Fayetteville. Jake was promoted from Operations Director, where he had proven himself a more-than-capable manager. (When he’s not busy taking care of Little Guys, Jake dedicates many hours to his position as the Vice President of Equestrian Bridges — a local not-for-profit corporation that provides horse therapy for Autistic children.) Bishop Williams was brought into the fold in Oct 2012 to fill the role of Operations Director.
October 2012 – Longtime San Marcos manager Ryan Adams opened our new Little Guys Movers location in Austin, TX. Aaron Mims moves from Denton as a Crewleader to take on the exciting challenge of finding the key elements for and fostering the Little Guys culture in Austin. Austin zoning is not friendly or flexible, so instead of our usual storefront situation, we were forced into the industrial area “where moving companies go,” and thusly hidden away from the precious public. Although that was not our ideal setting (we love to be in the heart of a city where all the cultural action is), it was only a minor setback, and we refused to let it bring us down.
At this point, Joseph tells us that North Carolina is the place we want to be, so we got ourselves some plane tickets and headed east. We were immediately blown away by the wonderful people we met, and the growth and beauty of the Tar Heel State. Raleigh and Greensboro become target locations in our sight. We decide that our franchisee would open Greensboro, and we would open Raleigh, making this the first time we have opened two locations within such close proximity at the same time.
November 2012 – We promoted Jeff Barnard from Denton GM to Director of Safety, which encompasses all regulatory and compliance issues as well. The feds were really cracking down on the trucking industry, and it is more important to us than ever to make sure all of our paperwork, drivers’ logs, and trucks are exceeding what the regulators expect. Jeff was the perfect guy for this job, and his dedication and hard work is going to help us continue to grow the company in a responsible manner.
It turns out the North Carolinians are a little more pro-business than Kentucky, so the license is secured and the buildings we find are ideal. Lucky for us, we were able to round up a couple of managers for these locations.
December 2012 – As the year came to a close, we took a look around and realized, with mixed emotions, that we had outgrown our national office in downtown Denton, TX. We knew that the next step in moving forward would be to get each of the Little Guys Movers national employees, both long-standing and newly-appointed, under the same roof. With optimistic hopes and plans for the future, we bought a new building (our very first real estate purchase!) in Denton, TX to serve as the headquarters for the entire Little Guys Movers empire.
Encouraged by the success of the newest location in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Little Guys decided to keep the ball rolling and open a store in yet another state. After much careful research, Murfreesboro, Tennessee was chosen. During a single visit from Marcus and Eric, a great location and a great guy were found: John Manning, father of two, was hired to take the reins in Tennessee.
This year also brought another Little Guys location in the form of David Conklin’s second franchise in Bryan-College Station, Texas. After a month of training in Denton, Grant Rollo was brought in as the head honcho in Aggieland. Lubbock was in dire need of some added assistance after record-breaking sales, and David hired Michael Prewit as the Head Manager of Lubbock.
The Fayetteville store continued its phenomenal growth, and Ian Shell became a welcome addition to the family, giving support to Joseph Barnes as his Operations Director.
With so much seam-busting business happening throughout our locations, we thought it would be best to expand the National Office team, starting with bringing on Tim Hausam as our National Office Manager in August 2011. This gave Shane Onstead some room to focus on developing a program for Quality Control and Standardization across all stores. After 15 years of dedicated service in the trenches, Eric Eisenmann received his company shotgun and transferred to our National HQ to team up with Shane as the United States Logistics Commander. Eisenmann would now help with fleet control, store visits, and any other obstacles that come our way as we continue to add locations.
Growing Up: 2006-2010
Joseph Barnes arrived in Denton for training and stuck around for the annual company meeting in January. He got to know the seasoned Little Guys managers, soaked up buckets of knowledge from them, and brought it all back to AR with him. Before we knew it, Fayetteville was up and running, and the Northwest Arkansas region embraced the new Little Guys with open arms.
Denton (AKA “The Mother Ship”) desperately needed a new location. We had been in the same building since 1997 and had outgrown the parking by 2002, but because we could park an 18,000 pound truck on a dime and leave a nickel in change, we were able to make it last longer than it should have! Eventually, we found a great spot with plenty of parking and when the economy bounced back, we were able to expand to 10 trucks. J.D. Patton’s expertise was much needed in beautiful Fort Collins, CO. To his chagrin, he moved his family up to the “Best Place to Live in the USA,” (according to us and CNN).
We held the July managers’ meeting west of New Braunfels on the Guadalupe. The theme was “LET’S GROW!”
Fresh meat Bradley Steiger and Jeff Barnard, a 10-year veteran Crew Leader, joined the Denton Operations Team to head up the goal of running 8 trucks during the summer… and with much success, we might add.
We contracted with an impressive marketing company, Produce Results to focalize our marketing needs. The website was completely rebuilt and they helped us create new ways to give back to our communities’ people in need.
With the economy still in the pooper, we figured it would be the perfect time to expand! Sticking with our tradition of existing in great places to live, our search landed us in Fayetteville, Arkansas. In the past, all Little Guys head managers had been put through the moving ringer and were promoted from within the company. Marcus and Chris set about finding a location for the new shop, and in one visit found a local “Little Guy,” Joseph Barnes, in Fayetteville to take the helm and steer the new store to success.
Babies, babies, babies! With the growth of our families, we continued to focus on the growth of our empire. Bwaa haa haa!
2008 was a pretty tumultuous year, with lots of changes and a severe recession. Little Guys was really feeling the effects of the economy by October and decided to close the Colorado Springs location in order to focus on markets more similar to their proven locations. A little facelift to the Norman, OK image and a move into a sweet location on the corner of Porter and Gray streets provided much better visibility, no water leaks, and cheaper utilities. This was the second time Little Guys took a leap of faith and opened doors when the economy had fallen into a recession. Now it was survival mode! Cutting back on every frivolous expense was priority one. We closed our eyes and held on tight, and by the end of the year we’ll be damned if we weren’t more profitable than the year before… even with less sales! Go figure!
Chad Nichols decided to leave the company in pursuit of bigger and better things, (no, we can’t imagine what that is either), so Marcus and Chris bought his share.
Thanks to the efforts of crew leaders Leonard Euresti, Michael Lang, and Ryan Adams, San Marcos combated and conquered some pretty poor management long enough for Marcus and Chris to figure out what was going on, and swoop in to make changes. Mike Lang took the lead role; it felt like Little Guys again.
Lubbock, Texas is the place and David Conklin is the face for the Little Guys’ first franchise. In him we found the perfect partner to share our name. With David’s great mind and incredible energy, Little Guys Moves in Lubbock took off like a rocket. By the end of the year, the fledgling store had surpassed all projections.
What a year 2006 turned out to be. After a successful annual meeting in Denton, all managers found themselves newly aligned and invigorated. Long-time Denton manager Buck Bendickson picked 2006 as the year he would split off and open his own franchise in McKinney, Texas. This courageous move created a void that J.D. Patton was ready and able to fill, joining Eric Eisenmann at the helm. San Marcos mastermind Josh Dupree amazed the masses with his one-man show, producing an exceptional year. Josh was also able to juggle a move into his new shop just before ramping into the busy season. Fort Collins hard hitter Brian Dillon tipped his hat to the crowd and exited the scene after a very influential year and a half of great effort! He was missed by all. Brian’s exit left Shawn McNeiley chomping at the bit, and he was soon moved into the office alongside Zach Smith to continue on with a stellar year. Colorado Springs had a changing of the guard as Adam Bobay focused on a different life direction. Canadian import and longtime master Crew Leader, Russ Bried was approached by the partners to fill the position, and he readily took on the challenge. Nick Shelton and Jay McCoy kept things well under control in Norman, OK.
Major Milestones: 2001-2005
2005 was a year of reflection and regrouping. With a few great years behind the company, it could be human nature to become flat-footed at times. While sales maintained a healthy level, growth had slowed somewhat and required extra attention in order to re-energize the machine.
Buck and Eric kept things under control in Denton. Josh was still in San Marcos. Brandon Fry unexpectedly left Fort Collins and was replaced with crew leaders Zach Smith and Brian Dillon. Both new managers proceeded to breathe much-needed life back into the Fort Collins store. Adam Bobay maintained a foothold on the enormous Colorado Springs market while Nick and Jay continued to love life in Norman, OK.
2004 started off with a much-needed respite in Playa del Carmen, Mexico for Little Guys’ annual meeting. As usual, good times were had by all. This year brought a whole new era to the Little Guys saga with the conception of the Little Guys Movers Franchising Program. This lengthy process would eventually enable the spread of Little Guys Movers ownership around the country. Josh moved the San Marcos shop away from the highway and closer to the downtown square. Brandon Fry and Mark Wright also made a move from the longtime location on College to a new shop on Pinon.
2003 brought with it a different economy, and while the housing market remained healthy compared to other segments, disposable income for hiring moving companies shrank. To restructure and remain profitable during such an economic downturn is difficult; to become even more profitable is a huge accomplishment. Though many of the original members remained intact, some shifting had occurred: Eric Eisemann and Buck Bendickson ran the original Denton location; San Marcos had been taken over by Josh Dupree; Brandon Fry managed Fort Collins with the return of the legendary Mark Wright; hometown boy Adam Bobay captained Colorado Springs; in Norman, Jay McCoy and Nick Shelton were as familiar as Boomer Sooner; Shane Onstead joined the partners at the national level.
After eleven years of spelunking pitfalls, developing concepts, and honing systems, the focus turned to franchising Little Guys Movers nationwide. Decentralization had always been a key to Little Guys’ success, and franchising could take that mold one step further.
By the ten-year anniversary, the number of moves completed pushed 100,000. The growth had been built on sweat and determined attitudes. Sales had gone from less than $50,000 a year to over $2.6 million. The business that was spawned by the need for college beer money had become an economic force in five cities and three states. To work hard and do right by people is a simple concept, but was rewarded by those communities served. The goal of being rooted in each town was achieved, with Little Guys becoming the first name in moving, even before those “big guy” corporate giants that terrorize the highways.
The Norman location came alive with the resurgence of the town itself, rejuvenated by the Sooner Football program’s return to prominence. Colorado Springs, our largest community, began to embrace the Little Guys phenomenon. Sales continued to grow in each of the five locations as the culture expanded to over one hundred strong. There were current and former Little Guys roaming the country, and the sightings of branded t-shirts stretched from Fairbanks, Alaska to Cancun, Mexico. Then, on one September day, it was all put into perspective… community before profits, and an American company above all else.
The Beginning: 1992-2000
It was the year 2000. Y-2 what? We didn’t think so either, and decided to open our newest store location in Norman, Oklahoma. The pioneers of the Sooner State were Jay McCoy, Kevin Kalka, and Andrew McCalla. Norman welcomed Little Guys with open arms and a love for down home good service. If you have never been, the people of Oklahoma are beautiful – kind to a point beyond gracious. Little Guys Movers was proud to be part of that.
With a foothold on the Front Range, the next opportunity lay just down the road. Little Guys
Movers wanted to plant moving companies in towns where people wanted to live, and Colorado Springs was one of the most livable cities in America. It was their first venture into such a large metropolis and much was to be learned.
Eric Eisenmann, Jay McCoy, and Dwight Maskew loaded up and headed west. Unfortunately there was no place to unload. A makeshift office was set up in Eric’s dining room and moving commenced. His understanding wife Nikki put up with them for a month before a shop was found. Life in the big city proved difficult and it took a long time for the ripples from their splash to cross that large pond. Word spread much faster in the smaller communities, but they set in for the long haul. By focusing on their customers and building their culture, steady growth was finally achieved.
While on a fly-fishing trip to Wyoming, Chad randomly spent the night in Fort Collins, Colorado. A beautiful college town was thusly discovered, and by August, Chris, Marcus, and Chad arrived to search for Little Guys Movers’ third location. It was a big step leaving the great state of Texas, but it was good to diversify… (to not have all your eggs in the same regional economic basket, if you will). Mark Wright, the designated opener, joined Matt Whetstone and Brandon Fry to set up shop in a building on North College.
It quickly became clear that Fort Collins was a Little Guys town. Employees who complemented the company culture were readily available, and the community embraced the hard-working little company. It was a long, dark winter, but the Fort Collins location emerged profitable and ingrained itself into the foothills town.
In February, Little Guys Movers relocated to town. A newly built commercial warehouse was transformed over the next two years to include an operations room, showroom, corporate office, and conference room. The company purchased their first new truck, a 1997 Freightliner FL70 named Great White. It marked the end of the pickup and trailer days, and became the flagship of a growing fleet.
After a booming summer with huge sales growth, the partners decided to take the leap to expand to multiple locations. San Marcos, the jewel of Texas’ Hill Country, was selected for its similarities to Denton. In October, the San Marcos location was off and running in both sales and culture. Mark Wright and Reiner Krämer were the pioneers of Little Guys Movers’ first satellite shop. Hiring locally, they soon had a team of Little Guys very similar to those in Denton. This reinforced the notion that Little Guys could be found anywhere. Within six months, San Marcos had its own new Freightliner and a staff of eleven employees.
The company began to accumulate a few employees who worked themselves into the framework of the organization. These brave souls and unique personalities that nurtured the growing culture included Carl Ramsey, Matt Whetstone, Eric Eisenmann, Reiner Krämer, Mark Wright and Buck Bendickson. Their first Yellow Page ad appeared, and sales grew with the reputation of those hard-working, fun-loving Little Guys. In May, Chad Nichols approached the partnership after completing his Masters in Business Administration from the University of North Texas. He came to the partnership with new ideas of organization, structure, and a vision far beyond The Barn. This was the start of a series of substantial changes that catapulted Little Guys Movers into the next chapter of their story. Mike Barber chose to leave the partnership in search of a career in Applied Ceramics. He entered the graduate program and instructed courses at the University of North Texas. Mike had been a key driving force for the company and was sorely missed.
Little Guys acquired two more pickup trucks and a new WW brand 16′ box trailer. It was not long before they purchased a second 20′ WW trailer and began to rent trucks to do even larger moves. By the end of the year, a real company began to take form, including incorporation and twelve full-time employees.
In 1995, Little Guys Movers relocated to “The Barn” on Denton County’s Cooper Creek Road, one hundred yards outside the city’s limits. The change was drastic–from cement floors and walls to an open-faced barn with dirt floors and salvaged, corrugated metal walls. The original trailer was placed in the corner of the barn and incorporated as part of the structure. Free from city codes, the trailer was run with electricity and set up as an office. The Barn was home for the next two and a half years. Some of the perks included a dirt driveway, a water moccasin-laden pond, two cows, a horse named Sox, a pen full of rare Ibex mountain goats, and a group of musicians that lived on the property.
Due to a back injury and a promising musical career, Trey Johnson left the company. He went on to do amazing things in the Dallas music scene. He was a founding member and frontman for one of our favorite bands, Sorta. He also produced multiple solo albums and now helps develop new artists through his record label State Fair Records. You can read more about Trey here.
Little Guys Movers’ first real office was set up behind the Bike-O-Rama bike shop on Locust Street in Denton. It consisted of a 30′ x 70′ cinder block warehouse with an exposed toilet and sink in the corner, broken windows, and a flat roof that leaked like Niagara Falls. This environment went through several modifications, such as “The Bio-Dome,” (an attempt to control the moisture and cold), and “The Roof Within,” which was meant to control the water leak from inside the building.
At this point, Chris Hawley and Trey Johnson were working as some of Little Guys Movers’ first full-time employees. Times were tough, and the employees were lucky to make $100 a week. Most of the time was spent overhauling engines, pulling, rebuilding, and reinstalling transmissions, working on the trailers, doing some moving, and hanging out working on the company culture. Chris and Trey were made full partners after six months of dedicated work and much beer drinking.
A second truck was added in the form of a 1979 red Ford. Its long bed and crew cab came in handy, but it went through two engines and several transmissions. A second trailer was also added. A local welder built a frame around a 12′ flatbed. A galvanized sheet metal skin was then screwed down. The new trailer was christened “The Silver Bullet” and would be destined to make many moves over many miles.
One of the first moves was a two story, four bedroom house. The two Toyota pickups and the customer’s truck were loaded up and caravanned to the new location. The customer paid $450 and Little Guys Movers had their first trailer the next day. It was a boat trailer converted to a flatbed, complete with one-inch gaps in the floor. There were no walls or ceiling. Weather permitting, moves were completed all summer using the flatbed and lots of rope. By the fall, enough money had been made to build walls and a ceiling out of plywood and corrugated metal. That old boat trailer was now an enclosed cargo trailer, minus a back door. Rope was used at the end of the load in a spider web method to hold customers’ belongings. To pull this new creation, Marcus acquired a 1979 Ford F-150 from an auto impound for $100. It was not much to look at – ugly brown and severely dented – and it affectionately became known as “The Turd.” You have never seen a truck go farther on less oil; it moved for years.
Around that time it was brought to Chris Mercer’s attention that this type of work was not for him, and he left the company. There was no permanent location. The office, (a phone and an answering machine), was moved from home to home in order to keep one step ahead of the city’s code enforcers.
Marcus Watson first moved to Denton from Abilene to attend the University of North Texas, but his concentration turned more recreational in nature. Tired of smoking BBQ for a living, he approached an acquaintance that operated a company called Big Guy Movers. Over several barley sodas, Marcus accepted a cash offer to move some furniture. Big Guy Movers at that time consisted of a 1972 Chevy Long Bed and an ad in the Denton Record-Chronicle. The day was spent with Marcus solo moving while the “Big Guy” concentrated on the driving. At the end of his only day of employment with the company, Marcus got $20 from the $150 job. Spitting bitter was he.
He decided that working for others was not his bag and set out on his own. He teamed up with longtime Abilene friend Chris Mercer and Denton homeboy Mike Barber. Each brought their Toyota pickups to the table. They placed an ad announcing Little Guys Movers in the local paper under Big Guy Movers’, and a company was born. Big Guy Movers would be out of business in a matter of weeks.