Thieves Bring Dark Times to Two Sunny State Movers

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As movers, our first priority is making sure the belongings our customers entrust us with remain safe. We lock our trucks and our warehouse doors and chain up the gate.

But just as important as protecting our customers’ goods is protecting our own stuff—namely, our trucks.

Sometimes, that’s easier said than done.

A U-Haul center in the paradise of Hawaii has fallen victim to not one, not a couple, but dozens of instances of vandalism and theft this year. Kaleo Alau, owner of the U-Haul center, tells Hawaii News Now that the accused perpetrators, homeless individuals living under a nearby viaduct, have smashed windows, stolen batteries, siphoned gas and even lit a fire, causing thousands in damage and lost business.

It’s something that’s very hard to catch,” says Alau. “They have lookouts on one side who will warn people when a car is coming. There is a place to jump in the water and swim away which has happened before when they got caught.”

So what about security cameras? They might help—though not if your perpetrators know they are there.

That was the case in Hollywood, Florida, where two men scoped out the lot of the North American Moving Company before moving in and stealing ten wheels off two trucks, leaving the rigs sitting on wooden blocks as they rolled the stolen tires under a fence and into their white van. (It’s always a white van, isn’t it?)

Security camera footage shows the men hiding their faces with pieces of cardboard from whichever cameras they hadn’t already disabled or turned toward the sky. Moving company owner Gary Manning noted that these guys knew exactly what they were doing. “These weren’t just two guys walking off the street,” he added.

Unfortunately, these guys are still walking the streets. More evidence if there ever was some to keep your equipment as secure as you possibly can.

Top 10 Helpers Celebrate at HireAHelpers HQ

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10 years, 10 Helpers, 10 Call Service Representatives.

A trio of celebrations was recently held on HireAHelper’s “Top 10 Helper Day”, HireAHelper’s 10 year aniverssary event that doubled as a summit of some of the best people working in the moving industry today.

A Contest for Movers

Rigo’s Moving Company being interviewed at HireAHelper headquarters.

Rather than just ordering a cake for the big “1-0”, HireAHelper used their milestone moment to shed light on the people who make the company possible: hardworking movers, as well as the people booking their jobs every single day.

Here’s how they did it: they asked Call Service Representatives (CSRs) to vote for their favorite movers in the HireAHelper network. Additionally, HireAHelper asked the movers to submit the names of their favorite CSRs, as moving companies interact with their call center day in and day out. In many cases, movers interact with various CSRs for years on end. Voting on both ends was based on professionalism, efficiency, helpfulness and ability

More than a thousand moving companies across the country were eligible. (Not to mention a few dozen phone operators.)

The voting was fierce and the lists were long. But after the votes were tallied, the top five moving companies on the list were invited to take part in a special event at HireAHelper headquarters in sunny San Diego, CA, which took place this month.

Top 10 Helper Day

One by one, the contest winners emerged into HireAHelper headquarters, each bringing with them unique backgrounds spread out across the United States. They also brought anecdotes regarding how they found out they had been named a top 10 moving company in the country.

Says Crystal Rocci out of Lakeland, Florida’s Family Movers, “(We) got the email and he’s shaking and I’m like, ‘Why are you shaking?’ And he hands me the phone…and I’m reading it and saying, ‘Honey, we made fourth place!'”

Movers also shared stories from their long journeys establishing themselves as major players in the moving world.

Family Movers receives their certificate.

There’s a lot of bad reputation in the industry,” says Carmen Ball, from Aurora, Colorado’s LeDoux Moving Solutions. “If you build a reputation, you know, you gotta ride on your reputation. You screw that up, you don’t stick around.

“That’s my name on my shirt. I am representing everything, not just the company, I am representing the family as well.”

Continues Ball, “There’s many small businesses where we are that have been in business 20 years and they don’t do what we do. But I really believe (in) focusing on reputation and integrity.

Winners pose with their certificates.

The theme of the day? Going the extra mile.

“Rigo is very passionate about what he does,” says Susana Avelino of Rigo’s Movers out of Los Angeles, the contest winning moving company. 

Martha Martin, also of Rigo’s Movers, echoes that sentiment. “(Rigo) wants everything perfect. If something happens, resolve everything. If something gets damaged, try and fix it.” To get this level of recognition, they stress that customers have to always feel safe and secure in their hands.

“Our guys always calm down the customer and say, ‘Okay, you’re in good hands. Let me do my job and let me wrap everything. We will fit it on your truck.'”

Prizes Galore

The Top 10 Helper ceremony was held in front of a big screen and among boxes of gourmet donuts, during which the top 10 Helpers and CSRs received recognition. All present Helpers received their certificates and cash prizes. Afterwards, a catered lunch of tacos and drinks awaited everybody outside.

On getting to meet with the top 10 CSRs that they’ve worked with for years, Rocci of Family Movers exclaims, “I was like, ‘Yes!’ I finally get to put some faces to some names! I talk to these super energetic people on the phone, and I’m like, ‘I thought I was the only person like that.’ [laughter]”

Top 10 Helper Day wasn’t the only place celebrations were held, however. The top 10 CSRs were assigned a Helper from the rest of the top 10 list and given free airfare, lodging, cash prizes, and the opportunity to award the rest of the top Helpers their certificates in person.

Jess and Camille, winning CSRs, visiting Top 10 Helper “Moving Texas” in Austin.

Says Camille, Helper Relations Specialist and a winning CSR,

“There is definitely something different about meeting a Helper in person, something significant about putting a face to a name that brings life to their voice the next time I work with them over the phone.”

Again and again, winners stressed the importance of community as a key to success.

Now with 2017 in the books and ten successful years behind them, HireAHelper is positioned to continue their impressive take over of the moving labor marketplace. And with the Top 10 Helper contest being such a hit with everybody that participated, hundreds of professional moving companies (and the passionate employees that fuel them) remind us that all continued success will have to go through them.

Rachel Ledoux of Ledoux Movers reiterates, “You can slam out a bunch of jobs and…walk away thinking that everything’s great, then come to find out later that they never took the time to find out if that customer was actually happy.

“You know, moving is more than just a business; It’s relationships.”

For a list of the top 10 Helper winners and their prizes, click here.

Mover Saves Man’s Life in Florida

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Different customers need different things. Some need you to take extra care of the glass-top dining room table that has been in the family for eleven generations. Some need you to keep out of the flower beds – and will stand on the porch to make sure you do. Some need an hour to go over the paperwork before they sign anything. Some need to be reassured every ten minutes that yes, you will be packing up the drapes for them.

Then there is the occasional customer who needs you to save their life.

Unfortunately, we haven’t discovered any footage of the actual event as it unfolded. But from what we gather from CBS News 12, Michael Morgan from Two Men and a Truck may very well have saved Morton Trugman’s life when he kept him from tumbling down a long staircase at the Windward Palms Retirement Community in West Palm Beach, Florida.

According to CBS12.com, Morgan sprang into action after seeing 84-year-old Morton Trugman begin to lose consciousness at the top of these stairs in the lobby at the retirement home.

“I saw him, he just ran up the stairs, he took like ten steps and kind of scooped, basically saved his life,” said Emilio Faella, Windward Palms Enrichment Coordinator.

Morgan just says he was glad to be there at the right time.

But he wasn’t just there. He was paying attention – not to his shoes, not to his phone, but to the people and things around him. Those customers with the glass-top tables, the drapes, the flower beds and the paperwork issues are usually really good at telling us – again and again – exactly what they need. But there’s always the possibility a customer can’t give us that heads up. Let’s hope it never happens, but hey, it pays to pay attention.

It also helps to be able to run up stairs really fast.

The 7 Best Things to Do in Orlando (That Aren’t Theme Parks)

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Though Orlando is best known for its vast array of theme parks, it gets old pretty quick. Personally, I’d rather avoid the theme parks — too many kids and too many crowds.

But since I’ve seen and done everything there is to do in Orlando, trust me when I say there’s plenty of places to visit that can help you avoid both the kids and the crowds, especially if you’re looking for a great happy hour. Yep, there are many things to do in Orlando that definitely don’t involve theme parks. Here are my favorite things to keep you chilling in your own age bracket for a stress-free stay in Florida.

1. Kick Things off With Wine (That You Made)

Yelp.com

Let’s set the bar at age 21. For those of us who love to DIY and drink, try The Corkscrew Winery. It’s been a hit every time I’ve done it. Great for friends, dates, family members – you name it.

The gist of the place is that you can sign up to learn the wine making process right there from your seat. I’m surprised at how I can get immersed in the wine-batching process and learn how the pros get those grapes into the bottles. Plus, the end of the wine-making course, each guest leaves with their own bottle! Great perk.

These events are more intimate and are a complete antithesis to the crowds typically found at Orlando’s theme parks.

2. Need a Shoe Repair? Or Maybe a Beer? How About Both?

The bar’s original form from the 1940s. Instagram.

Let’s keep the drinking theme going. I can’t help you if you actually need your shoe repaired, but I do know of a speakeasy and eatery in downtown Orlando that looks exactly like a shoe repair shop. And that’s because it used to be one! It’s called Hanson’s Shoe Repairthe venue itself is one of the oldest downtown buildings in the area. And Andrew Hanson’s family-owned shoe repair store is one of the best-kept secrets in Orlando.

What’s cool about it is that isn’t as uptight or spendy as some other Orlando spots. The fact that it’s still standing in Orlando is awesome enough, but the new owners kept the name of the original shop. They’ve got a great beer menu and, if I do say so myself, a truly amazing Cuban sandwich.

3. The Store That’s Got Everything

One of my favorite shops to visit If you need to add a bit of the magic to your Orlando trip, there are more options than the Magic Kingdom.

North Orlando is home to the strange and wonderful Carmine Oddities Boutique, home of an infamous two-headed mummy and a variety of historical occult books. Whether you’re into learning about sub-cultures or just want to make first contact, there are a ton of super interesting trinkets, books and much, much more. Over the years, a lot of the items from the shop have begun to fill out my home. It’s worth a trip if you’re in the area — every time I’m visiting family, I make my way over there and end up walking away with something new.

The shop is open Tuesday through Sunday, and you can even make an appointment. Keep in mind it opens by 10 A.M., and it closes at 6 P.M. on weekdays (and 8 P.M. on the weekend).

4. Winter Park, Orlando’s Fun Neighbor

Winter Park Village, HotSpotsOrlando.com

If you want to try and get just outside of the city for a little bit, Winter Park is one of my favorite spots to visit. There’s just always something to do. Located north of Orlando, the city of Winter Park is known for its arts initiatives, shows, and small-town vibe. Some of the planned events in Winter Park include:

  • Dance lessons
  • Music jams
  • Rummage sales
  • Community cleanups
  • Movies in the park
  • Fishing tournaments

I’ve found that the people are especially friendly too, if you’re feeling chatty after a few beers. It’s a great place to stumble upon a random dog show or neighborhood parade.

5. Rent a Swan-Boat on Lake Eola

For anyone visiting Orlando as a couple, this one’s another great date idea. It might seem like a tourist trap, but it’s actually quite charming and totally worth doing just for the great view of the water. Lake Eola is located in downtown Orlando, so it’s the perfect thing to kill some time before happy hour or scheduled events. The lake itself is home to many different types of birds and, if you’re visiting Orlando in the spring, you’re sure to see some baby swans flapping about. Rent a swan boat and paddle your way around the water. Bring a bottle of wine with you, maybe even the one you made at Corkscrew. It’s a great way to see downtown from a new perspective and avoid the crowds.

6. Take a (21-And-Over) Guided Ghost Tour Through St. Augustine

trolleytours.com

This one’s a bit weird, considering it’s a ghost tour and a pub crawl run by a church. But that just lends to the authenticity! The church of St. Augustine offers a Haunted Pub Crawl and Paranormal Investigation that guides “spirits with the spirits” while searching for new haunts. From their website:

“Ever since opening to the public, there has been an immense number of reports of paranormal occurrences, continuing to this day. The old well in the gardens has been the center of many strange happenings; you’ll learn more about this during your investigation. Through research and archival records, stories of deaths and strange events on the property have been found. A number of psychics and paranormal researchers have investigated the property and reported bizarre findings- but no public programs have been allowed until now…”

It’s one of the most fun things to do in Orlando simply because of how it guides you from bar to bar with new visitors and locals alike. Attendees will explore the town’s most notorious haunted caverns where it is alleged that the honorable Judge Stickney stalks the graves nightly and searches for the bodies buried alive during the post-Civil War typhoid outbreak. Just your average night!

7. The Best Theater and Cabaret Performances are Local

One of my absolute favorite venues for local theater is The Mad Cow Theatre, where local actors collaborate to put on raucous, riotous plays and musicals that are sure to have you in stitches laughing. As a bonus, if you’re in Orlando in May, the Mad Cow Theatre puts on the Orlando Cabaret Festival – now in its 15th year! – which you can’t miss if you love pure, musical entertainment in cool, intimate spaces.

Whatever you, your date or your family end up doing, just make sure you don’t sell yourself short. There’s a lot of interesting stuff to do in Orlando that has nothing to do with a certain mouse. Explore it – just like I did!


Mark Healey is a travel and adventure enthusiast who enjoys photography, fitness and exploring the great outdoors. During the day, he works in marketing and is passionate about helping businesses achieve greater visibility through digital channels.

Florida and New York Grapple With New Sex Offender Laws for Movers

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On June 9th Florida Governor Rick Scott signed into law a bill directed at moving companies and the former sex offenders they may hire. (more…)

Tips for Moving to Tampa, FL

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Flag photo courtesy Ed Group

Photo courtesy Ed Group

Moving south to Tampa? You’ve chosen a top-notch city. It’s received commendations in several areas. Washington Square News listed Tampa as one of the top cities for “twenty-somethings” and Forbes magazine calls it the “5th best outdoor city.” If you have kids, you’ll be happy to hear that Newsweek listed twelve of Tampa’s High Schools in their list of America’s Best High Schools. For a bit of fun in the sun, check out these sites and attractions Tampa has to offer!

(more…)

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