Busy Weekend for the Gentle Giant New York Moving Team

This past weekend, Gentle Giant’s New York movers were busy assisting two wonderful organizations with their banner events of the season. Throughout the weekend, Gentle Giant moving crews went up to Sleepy Hollow in Westchester County to load and deliver materials for Saturday morning’s spooky Sleepy Hollow Halloween 10K and to mid town Manhattan to the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge to load up hundreds of boxes of supplies and collateral for Sunday’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in both Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Take a look at some of the great photos from both events!

Moving On; The Gentle Giant Alumni Bios – Kris Walker

Gabe Duquette and Kris Walker rep GG at New York's Mega Mixer 2006.

For this month’s Gentle Giant Alumni Bio, we will learn more about Kris Walker, Master Crew Chief extraordinaire and first New York regional manager.

## Life At GG

I first heard about Gentle Giant from some rowing friends the summer before I planned to move to Boston, and was looking for a job to get established there.

I started on September 10th, 2001, and my first move was on Sept 11th (the infamous 9/11). On Dec 29th, 2007, I left the New York branch to pursue a career in software.

I worked out of the Gentle Giant Moving Company Boston location through 2003, then the Needham location through 2004. From there, I started the New York regional location and worked there through 2007.

My favorite Giants to work with included Jeff Green, Harris Rappaport, Noah Duarte, Jake Zoller, and many more.

Kris and Tom O'Gorman at the Boston Marathon Finish Line

My favorite part of GG was the camaraderie between everyone working on the crews. We worked together, dined together, and played together.

My most challenging job was hoisting an armoire to a 3rd floor window in Charlestown. I’m sure there were many more jobs that were more challenging than that, but I only remember them from time to time. Honestly it’s been easiest to remember the great customers and coworkers I met.

## Life After GG

I’m a software engineer, and I build high scale web systems for some awesome clients including Warner Brothers *Lord of The Rings*, League of Legends, Samsung, Apple, and more. I work for a small, extremely talented company of close friends called MadGlory Interactive (madglory.com). We’re like the early Gentle Giant of web software :-)

Gentle Giant taught me the value of great teamwork, and what good management really is. It also taught me how great it is to have awesome customers. I’ve tried to build every business I’ve been a part of since GG as a business that is designed to find and work for great customers where we can do our best work.

Kris on top of the world

My second career is mountaineering, so I’ve been to a handful of really awesome places. I’ve climbed in Alaska, the North Cascades in Washington, British Columbia, The Rockies in Colorado, and a bunch here in the Northeast as well.

I grew up in Cortland, NY, attended Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY, and currently live in Poughkeepsie, NY (but moving to Saratoga Springs, NY  soon). I was married in 2004 (when we moved from Boston to NY), and had our first son in 2009. Our second son was born in 2012.

In addition to mountaineering I still row, and play golf in the summer.

Gentle Giant Moving Company and the American Cancer Society

Gallery

This gallery contains 9 photos.

Gentle Giant Moving Company‘s New York team recently entered into a partnership with the American Cancer Society to help with their enormous Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in Brooklyn. Gentle Giant helped load several hundred boxes filled with clothing, …

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Moving On; The Gentle Giant Alumni Bios – Andrew Burd

For Gentle Giant Moving Company Founder & CEO Larry O’Toole, one of the greatest parts of his job is hearing from former Giants that not only enjoyed their tenure at GG, but used the experience to further their personal and professional development. Below is a letter sent to Larry a little while back from Andy Burd, a talented young man that spent 5 years with the Giants, that highlights how his time as a mover helped him stand out in a sea of qualified job applicants.

Andy Burd (Bottom Right) stands with his crew after another successful onload.

Dear Larry, 

I have been meaning to write this for some time.  You may or may not remember me, but this is Andy Burd, who worked out of Acton and sometimes Framingham (now Marlborough) seasonally (summers and some winters) for 5 years from ages of 16 to 21.  Now that I have graduated from college and working in Hartford, CT at an investment management firm, I wanted to share with you my nostalgia of working at your exceptional company.

On graduation day after college I was faced with a difficult decision.

Without a job, I seriously entertained the thought of asking to come back to Gentle Giant.  After much thought, I opted not to, because I knew that as soon as I put on that purple shirt that I would quickly forget about seeking the job I had dreamed for, and get caught up in doing what I have come to love: moving furniture.  Having made the decision to part ways, I hit the road looking for jobs.  I won’t bore you with the details, but the journey was long.  However, in personal reflection over those months, I had to find my ‘worth’: what can I bring to a company that few others can?

The answers all came from my time at Gentle Giant.  Working alongside Jay Brooks, Craig Averett and Joe Johnson (among an army of others) during those early years of ‘adulthood’ made me: productive, efficient, dedicated, and humbled.  There is no better feeling than driving home tired as hell knowing that I did everything I possibly could to make a customer’s day better.  Tip or not (some would disagree), I felt no better satisfaction than genuine, sincere praise from a previously skeptical customer that was blown away by Gentle Giant.

While I didn’t have a fancy internship throughout high school or college, the experience of being one of the youngest ever crew chiefs at Gentle Giant and having the opportunity to lead was a formidable experience I won’t see again for many years.

I have been working at my current firm for 10 months and have recently been promoted to a position I don’t think I’m even qualified for, but people have been impressed by a strong work ethic, servant’s heart, and “go get ‘em” attitude that the Gentle Giant culture promotes.  Hurry but don’t rush.  I credit this completely to the culture you have created of an honest, hard day’s work.  Thank you..

- Andy Burd

Since sending this letter, Andy has moved to NYC and now works as an equity analyst at an investment bank. His view on Gentle Giant hasn’t changed at all since the letter and he still credits his GG experience for the success he’s had in his career.

Moving On; The Gentle Giant Alumni Bios – Jeremy Abele

Looking back at the history of Gentle Giant’s employees, there are men and women that helped define what it is to be a Giant; athletic, intelligent, driven, and well, gigantic. Jeremy Abele is one of those individuals that made an impact on our company as a mover, a recruiter, and a salesperson. While Gentle Giant Moving Company considers itself lucky to have had Jeremy for the time we did, it was more than luck that introduced Jeremy to GG. “Growing up in the Boston area it was hard to miss the big purple trucks with giant feet driving around town.  Although, I would say I learned more about the company itself through my contacts in the rowing community.”

Gentle Giant Jeremy Abele

Jeremy Abele competing at the 2011 Henley Royal Rowing Regatta

Since opening in 1980, Gentle Giant has had strong ties to the rowing community and was well known as one of the top employers of rowers in the area. Jeremy submitted a job application after being encouraged by the positive things he heard from friends and teammates who had worked there in the past. He also felt confident that his experience rowing gave him the discipline, strong work ethic, and teamwork mentality to find success at GG.

Thinking back to his first summer as a mover, Jeremy felt it was “both challenging and at the same time extremely fulfilling.  We worked hard each and every day, but we had fun doing it.  Every day was different – a new customer, a new city, a new crew of Giants to work with.” For Jeremy, the people and company culture was his favorite part of working at Gentle Giant. “Everyone I worked with at GG had such a positive attitude.  The company also had a strong sense of unity; it was truly a team environment.”

One person that had a large effect on Jeremy was former Branch Manager and current Regional Trainer Noah Duarte. “Noah had an unbelievable work ethic – he had high standards and expected nothing less than perfection from his crew.  As a rookie mover trying to learn the ropes I recall a few situations where Noah pulled me aside to provide some ‘constructive criticism.’ I remember thinking… ‘I really don’t like this guy…and why does this matter?’ Looking back I can say I learned a lot working with Noah.  There was always a method to his madness…always a lesson to be learned.  On top of being a great teacher (and disciplinarian) – Noah had an undeniable passion for the job.”

Regularly working with top-notch Crew Chiefs like Noah properly prepared Jeremy for the challenging situations he would face on the trucks every day. One particularly difficult job that sticks out was a commercial moving job in Cambridge in the heat of the summer. “We were moving several large – extremely heavy pieces of machinery (including a 20ft steel girder) out of the 4th floor of a building,” Abele recalls. “The building was equipped with an elevator but none of the large pieces would fit. This was a crane/elevator sled job – and due to the size of the objects being moved the GG crew that day consisted of some of the true giants at GG (Steve Hart, Jake Zoller, Ritchie Varela, and Rooty…to name a few). The craning of the pieces was the easy part. The hard part was getting the heavy machinery to the window. Through a combination of dollies, straps, and half a dozen Giants, we were able to carefully roll the pieces to the window and crane them to the truck (the customer was very impressed). Needless to say it was a long, extremely challenging move, but in the end, successful.”

Like many other former Giants, Jeremy learned some valuable lessons during his tenure at Gentle Giant that helped him achieve success in his career post GG. “I had a unique work experience at Gentle Giant as I had the benefit of working in multiple departments; starting out on the trucks as a mover and then transitioning into an office position in recruiting and in sales.  I had the opportunity to work with so many great people.” Jeremy also felt that “regardless of what department I worked in there was a common theme among my GG colleagues – a clear passion for the job and always going above and beyond to make sure the customer is happy.  I carried this with me into my current career and have no doubt that it has been a key driver of my success.”

Jeremy is currently working as a broker/risk consultant for the largest risk management/reinsurance brokerage firm in the world. “Similar to GG, the company I work for has a ‘best in class’ reputation within the industry – and similar to GG’s customers – our clients have very high standards and expect us to deliver day in and day out. I can say without hesitation that the experiences/lessons I learned at GG helped prepare me for a successful career in the corporate world.”

Even though Jeremy is no longer an official recruiter for Gentle Giant, he still regularly recommends Gentle Giant as an excellent place to work.  “Whether you are looking for a summer job, a career or just a stepping stone/launching pad to something else – Gentle Giant can provide you with invaluable experience that can be applied to just about any industry.” Jeremy also advises new Giants to “take full advantage of your time at GG. Whether you plan to pursue a career at GG or move on to something else, the lessons you learn and the experiences you have at GG will stay with you and can be applied to just about any industry.”

If this isn’t enough of a selling point, Jeremy tells potential Gentle Giants that there are often opportunities to “score” items on the job that customers no longer want. These scores can vary from treadmills to air conditioning units to fine furniture. The greatest thing Jeremy ever scored “had to be a solid cherry wood dining room table.  I could not for the life of me figure out why the customer wanted to get rid of it, but I was happy to take it off of their hands. The table needed a little work so I took it over to Gentle Giant Restoration and together we turned it into a beautiful piece of work.  The table stills sits in my dining room today – and I have received numerous compliments from friends and family.”

The table is with Jeremy in Philadelphia, where he lives with his lovely wife, two daughters, and two dogs.  He enjoys spending time with family and friends.  He is also still actively involved in the sport of rowing and competes in regattas throughout the northeast.

10 Tips for Senior Citizens Downsizing Homes or Moving from Gentle Giant Moving Company

 

gentle giant moving company

Gentle Giant takes the time to work with seniors during transitional periods.

Moving senior citizens, retirees, and the elderly is emerging as a specialty service as baby-boomers are faced with downsizing themselves while simultaneously transitioning their parents to one of the many types of senior housing.

Below you will find Gentle Giant Moving Company‘s helpful 10 Tips for Moving Seniors:

  1. Start with a floor plan of your new space.
    A floor plan may be the single most important thing you can have.  It will tell you how much furniture you can fit, and help you decide where everything will go before you step foot into your new home.
  2. Reduce the amount you have to move.
    Downsizing can be physically exhausting and emotionally draining, but many items that have been accumulated in a home over many years can’t or shouldn’t be squeezed into a new home.  So take your time and ask for help.  If you have children who no longer live there, ask them to retrieve their possessions.  Give things to friends and family.  Have a yard sale and/or donate some items to charity.  If you can’t bring certain items that you’re not ready to part with, consider using a storage facility.
  3. Begin in areas of the house no longer in use.
    This strategy will be least disruptive to normal life and will help develop some momentum to carry you through other areas of the home later on.
  4. Have a sorting system.
    Use colored stickers to identify items that are going with you, elsewhere, or to-be-determined.  Make a list of potential recipients, such as loved ones or charity or auction, and match up items to them instead of coming up with different recipients as you sort through items one by one.
  5. Start with large items and work toward smaller ones.
    Sorting through large furniture pieces first will create a sense of progress for the person who is moving.  This will make it easier to sort smaller items later on, because it will be clearer what storage will be available in the new home.
  6. Block off a certain amount of time for working each day and stick to it.
    Start and stop at a certain time. Don’t get sidetracked.  You’ll be surprised how much you can accomplish.
  7. Focus on one area at a time.
    Dealing with a whole house can be overwhelming.  Break it up into smaller chunks by focusing on one part of a room at a time.  Then move on to the next.
  8. Packing – Let the movers take care of it.
    A professional move coordinator like the ones at Gentle Giant can recommend a professional packing crew to help prepare your dishes, linens, furniture, you name it.  Hiring such a team will make packing go by much faster, and your items will be safer as they are moved.
  9. Create a Move-Day suitcase with the essentials for the first 24 hours in your new home.
    Set aside a couple of outfits, a set of dishes, towels and sheets.  Include a first aid kit and a flashlight, or even a night light.  You’ll have what you need at your finger tips instead of having to dive into many different boxes to find what you need.
  10. Be patient – with yourself and others.
    Moving is hard, especially for seniors who may be leaving a home where they’ve spent decades with their family.  Remember it’s okay to be sad about parting with things, however the goal is not to get rid of everything – just to simplify.  Set aside down time, and reward yourself or the person you are helping at various stages in the process.  Accept that there will be a range of emotions.

Gentle Giant Moving Company and Their Intense Warehouse Gym

At Gentle Giant Moving Company, health and fitness is a top priority, which is why the industry leader has dedicated space in their warehouse to build a full gym for Operations and Office staff.

Employees of the Boston moving company can work out with professional trainer John Zimmer to perfect form, increase strength, and maximize endurance, which is one way Gentle Giant decreases the chance of workplace injuries and promotes healthy living on and off the job.

This fun video gives you a peak inside Gentle Giant’s training center and how this incredible gym came to be at Gentle Giant Headquarters in Boston. Enjoy!

 

Meet the Giants – New York Regional Manager Josh Charry

Gentle Giant Moving Company

Gentle Giant Moving Company - New York Manager Josh Charry in his Brooklyn Warehouse

When New York moving company Gentle Giant began expanding outside of Westchester County and more into the 5 Boroughs, the company knew they needed to put an individual in charge who was not only an expert mover, crew chief, and leader, but also an individual that knew every neighborhood in New York. While there were several excellent candidates vying for this position, Bronx born Master Crew Chief Josh Charry was the perfect choice given his New York upbringing and several years moving within Gentle Giant’s Westchester County office.

Back in 2008, Charry started his career at Gentle Giant in the company’s Somerville, MA headquarters after seeing a job post seeking athletes looking for fun, challenging work. Charry’s extensive athletic background, which included football, soccer, lacrosse, and college baseball at Quinnipiac University qualified him for the demanding work Gentle Giant expects from our entire Operations team.

Before long, Josh was taking on more responsibility in the company, becoming one of the company’s top Crew Chiefs and leaders. Customers and crews alike loved Josh’s positive attitude, hustle, and attention to detail. During this time in late 2009, Gentle Giant’s New York branch was expanding rapidly and was in need of top Crew Chiefs to run jobs, train new Giants, and continue growing the business. Josh saw this is an opportunity to really make an impact on Gentle Giant and his career, and jumped at the chance to fill this need.

Today, Josh is managing Gentle Giant New York, which has locations in Westchester County, Long Island City, and Brooklyn. This position has Josh in charge of almost every part of the New York moving company which includes hiring, training, and running jobs.

Josh claims that GG New York’s key to success starts at the hiring process. He has an eye for talent, but the nature of moving can quickly weed out the individuals not cut out for the job. Josh’s management and hiring philosophy is resonant of George S Patton himself: “Pressure creates two things; dust and diamonds. At Gentle Giant we sweep away the dust and keep the diamonds.”

To book your move with Josh and his fellow Giants, visit Gentle Giant’s website today!

Training a Key to Success at Gentle Giant Moving Company

These Giants-in-Training pose after running the entire Harvard Stadium!

This week, four Giants from three different Gentle Giant Moving Company Regional Offices across the country are in our Somerville Headquarters to participate in a two week training workshop.  The goal of this workshop will be to help accelerate the development of technical skills, as well as the communication skills that consistently support Gentle Giant’s goal to interact with customers on a personal level, which will in turn lead to more referrals and repeat business. The idea is that if our employees are enjoying the move, the customers will also enjoy the move. Furthermore, the better the moving experience a customer has, the better chance they remember Gentle Giant next time around.

The participating employees, Mihia Muresan (Washington DC Office), Jean-Marc Tahi (Washington DC Office), Mike Rivers (New York Office), and Toua Chang (Seattle Office), will also be held accountable for taking the knowledge learned back to their respective offices to share it with their fellow employees. It is imperative to our company culture that we are able to provide our customers with a high quality product, which means developing great crew chiefs. This development starts immediately after being hired.

We welcome our fellow Giants to headquarters for this workshop that will help with their development as we move forward to achieving our 10-20 year vision. Click here for more information on what it takes to be a Giant.

Moving On; The Gentle Giant Alumni Bios – Jake Sweeney and Adam Benezra

Of all the incredible things Giants accomplish once they move on from the moving industry, Jake Sweeney and Adam Benezra’s quest to help people successfully quit tobacco with their business, Jake’s Mint Chew, is one of the most impressive and successful of all.

Jake Sweeney (L) and Adam Benezra (R) at a Gentle Giant holiday party.

Today, Jake and Adam are hard at work constantly improving their mint chew business, but they have come a long way since their days working on the trucks at Gentle Giant.

Their story starts when Adam was working at a rival moving company in Boston during the early 90′s. After a short period on their trucks, he realized he was surrounded by ex-convicts and other untrustworthy people, which made him think, “there has got to be a better moving company in Boston with better people.”

A friend told Adam about Gentle Giant, which during that period in the early 90′s was really hitting its stride within Massachusetts because of the focus on hiring honest, hardworking college athletes looking for a challenging but rewarding work. Not long after Adam started at GG in the Spring of 1994, he met Jake, who had started working at Gentle Giant a year before under Bobby Lane, focusing on complicated international moves. Oddly enough, the two attended UMass Amherst at the same time, but didn’t know each other because Jake was busy studying at the Stockbridge School of Agriculture while Adam was busy studying finance and the mating habits of inebriated coeds.

Working together on a few moving jobs around Boston formed Jake and Adam’s friendship, but it wasn’t until they took a road trip down to New Orleans with Eddie Crean, a Giant enjoying his first summer over from Ireland, that their relationship really strengthened.

They remained close even after they left Gentle Giant to start their own businesses. Jake followed in the family greenhouse business and before long was the go to wholesaler of greenhouse products on the North Shore. By 2009, Jake oversaw several greenhouses, including a 10,000 sq ft flagship greenhouse in Beverly. However, tragedy struck in the winter of 2009/10 when an ice storm took out this main greenhouse, which put a nail in the coffin of a business already hit hard by the financial woes the country was suffering from during that time.

Jake's Mint Chew

Down, but not out, Jake decided to depart from the greenhouse business and focus on a venture he had begun thinking about, Jake’s Mint Chew, which was a mint snuff designed to help people addicted to harmful tobacco snuff.

Given his background with the greenhouse, Jake was comfortable focusing on customer service, phone orders, making new flavors, and hiring, but he understood that he needed help with other areas. Realizing this, he called on Adam, his old friend from Gentle Giant, to help him with the website, shipping, payroll, and other financial responsibilities.

The partners recall their first “business meeting” back in 2009 at a local Beverly bar called Fibber McGee’s in which Jake carefully laid out the plan for his mint chew business. Adam instantly saw the product’s potential as a healthy, safe option for people looking to kick their tobacco addiction.

Because the pair had worked together so well during their time at Gentle Giant, they already knew how to motivate and compliment each other on the job. Now embarking on their third year working together at Jake’s Mint Chew, the company has grown exponentially, and expect even further growth now that they are USDA Organic Certified and showing up in more and more Major League Baseball clubhouses.

Jake and Adam look back very fondly at their time moving at Gentle Giant, and still keep in touch with all of the great people they worked with during the early and mid 90′s, some of whom have made a career at GG.

For more information on Jake’s Mint Chew, visit their website at www.jakesmintchew.com and tell them that Gentle Giant sent you!