YMM: How did you start in the moving industry?
Cedric Blake: I was applying for part-time jobs on Indeed, and You Move Me was the first place that called me back - within 20 minutes. I came in for an interview and liked the vibe. I liked everyone and ended up staying. That was four years ago. Chris [Heustis] is the person that trained me that first day! Been here ever since.
Chris Heustis: I remember that.
Cedric Blake: I remember on training day, we had to wrap a piece of furniture and all of a sudden it became a wrapping competition. Josh came by and was like: “whoever can wrap best will get $20!” I still remember that day
Chris Heustis: I’ve been working in the moving industry for 9 or 10 years.
I used to work for another moving company while I was going to college (where I played baseball), taking shifts during the summer. I also went on to loading and unloading semi-trucks and doing across state moving then moved onto residential moving. After college, I found You Move Me and I’ve been here for over 6 years (2022).
YMM: In an environment where so many people seem to be quitting their jobs and joining #TheGreatResignation, what made you continue working at You Move Me?
Chris Heustis: Definitely the people, the camaraderie, and the work we are doing pushes you to be better every day. Here at You Move Me, there are more opportunities than you can think of - you can even become an owner! I see the future more than I see the day to day. But definitely the people and the culture. Everyone that I work with is my friend and people that I love talking to every day. That is one big thing that keeps us around.
Cedric Blake: The culture and the people I work with. I want all these guys around me to hold me accountable to all the goals I set for myself.
What has surprised you the most about working at You Move Me?
Cedric Blake: The opportunities. But if it wasn't for the opportunity, I just like the vibe. I get to work with all my bros and this place has allowed me to understand the opportunities that exist that not every job has provided me. It has allowed me to grow my mindset beyond just being a mover and actually become an entrepreneur, and the proximity to good people.
Chris Heustis: We all came from athletic backgrounds. Everyone around us has the mindset of teaching us and coaching us like a sports team. We have very aggressive goals, but it is friendly competition. We have that sports discipline and mentality - we got the structure and support with a huge family around us, and that is what you get every single day. We know what needs to get done and we get the support to know how to get it done.
YMM: What are some of the other benefits of You Move Me applying sports tactics and discipline to the business world?
Cedric Blake: At other jobs, the structure just isn't there. The structure at You Move Me was a great transition for me, because they follow the discipline and team sports ethics that I learned from playing basketball. At You Move Me, I was shown how that knowledge transpired into my work. There are coaches that don't teach you anything, and then there's our coaches who push us to learn every day and feel better about what we are accomplishing. That is the You Move Me way.
Chris Heustis: At other workplaces, you are treated just like a number. Here we all have our own name and we work cohesively as a team. We are teammates, not employees.
YMM: How did the conversation to take over your own franchise location come about? Was it tough to make the decision to move and leave everything for the opportunity to run your own business?
Cedric Blake: At first it was easy for me, as we knew there were plans for expansion. Chris and I understood that. But at that time, I wasn't a father yet. Then it got a little harder for me as I realized I was going to become a father. I would be taking my people with me and away from the help and family support we have back home - starting over somewhere where we don't know anyone. So I had to make sure to communicate this opportunity with clarity. My son was born in December and we moved here [to St Louis] in February. Chris came here before I did to get the feel of the city, then the rollout happened real fast and I had to make moves. We are comfortable now, so everything is good, it's just making sure we stay comfortable.
Chris Heustis: I was anticipating it for a while, so I immediately said yes when they asked me if I would move. [Leadership] asked: “if we ask you to move tomorrow, would you do it?” I said yes, so Coach [Jeff Sims] and (CEOs) Josh [Herron] and Tyler [Staszack] got the ball rolling. But for me, I'm a single guy and I dropped everything I had in KC to move to St Louis. No hesitation. It was something I was able to do, and get up on the horse and start going.
But first, we had a bit of a trial with the North Kansas City location. It's a satellite location for You Move Me Kansas City - Cedric and I ran that. It's a place where you get to manage and operate, to see if you get all your ducks in a row and to make sure you’re ready. It's a bit like a highway exit before you get on to operate your very own location.
Cedric Blake: Basically if they feel they can trust you then you are trusted away from home.
Chris Heustis: Our North KC crew had no damages the whole time we were there and we hit all of our revenue goals.
YMM: What has been the most surprising thing about running your own business?
Chris Heustis: Kansas City has a Midwest vibe. St Louis has more of an East Coast city vibe, so it's a bit of a culture shock: it's a big city with a more cautious attitude. Culture shock in the sense that is a bigger city here, the culture and people are different and particular and concerned about a lot of things. Very different to the vibe we were used to.
Cedric Blake:That is the thing for me. It's a totally different vibe, even though we are just three hours away! For me, that has been the biggest surprise - the vibe of the city and the treatment when you come across new people.
Chris Heustis: And the number of highways here! And every on-ramp and off-ramp is "this" small.
Cedric Blake: And if you drive the speed limit you're in the wrong already!
YMM: What has been the most rewarding part of your journey at You Move Me?
Chris Heustis: Getting the recognition for the work we put in. Obviously when you're young, you could see it as if you're just moving furniture and getting a paycheck. But as we get older and mature, we can see all the hard work we put in then and how that got us to where we are today - running our own business. That is exactly what we get, the work we put in, is exactly what you're going to get, if you put 110%. It's like when you play sports and you can't play anymore, you teach others how to play. I am actually coaching baseball for 14 year olds right now.
Josh, Tyler, Sims and (Executive Business Coach) LaDrew [Murrell] put their investment in us - they pretty much helped us put our name on the business. Seeing our names on the General manager business card, means all those guys invested in us to get to this moment.
Cedric Blake: I agree with everything Chris said: it's all worth it at the end of the day. I worked really hard for this moment, and now you know all your time and effort was building up to this moment. A lot of people don’t see it that way: even now, some of my friends or family are still doing the same thing, but for me, I'm off the stoop now. If you see that Josh and Tyler can show up every day and take no days off, then I can put in the same effort. They lead by example.
Chris Heustis: Back when Josh was running You Move Me with Jason Terkelson, Josh was running 6am meetings with us as Operations Managers. This was back when it was called Easy Moves, so I have seen Josh and Tyler grow and build this business. I still have my meeting notes from back in the day and still use them to this day.
Cedric Blake: For all of us who have been here since then, those meetings were very impactful. Sometimes you'd get your head ripped off [laughs] but you get to learn so much. It was more like Josh was your uncle and sometimes that made the feedback we got hurt a bit more [laughs], but it was so impactful and I miss those meetings in a way.
YMM: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Chris Heustis: My personal goal is I want to own two to three You Move Me locations, obviously in 10 years own five or more, as well as building generational wealth for my family and help and teach my brothers the discipline to learn how to get what you want in life. I want to help young leaders meet their full potential, professionally and personally. Help them understand that anyone can be successful, it all hinges on how much work you put in to achieve your goals.
Cedric Blake: I Want to own and operate 3-5 You Move Me locations, but at the very least I want to make one of my future locations be the most profitable location in the southwest. That's a competition I have with Marlon, it’s a friendly competition we have between ourselves. And if I ever get some time off, go somewhere with my boys - maybe when they’ll all have settled down and have kids, we can all go somewhere together.
YMM: What advice would you give to your younger self?
Chris Heustis: It takes what it takes. The books we read in entrepreneurship class, all the work, the long days moving furniture til late into the night, then going back to work the next day at 7am. Everything you put in you get back. I would tell my younger self, use my two ears and my two eyes, put myself in the proximity around people like Josh and Tyler, so I can learn as much as I can from those people.
Cedric Blake: I would tell my younger self to shut up and listen, you don't know everything. I used to be a know-it-all, until I realized that I wasn't always right. Soon we all learn that there’s always somebody out there who knows more than you.
Cedric Blake: You’re not grown, you're growing! There is always something new to learn.