Every year we have the pleasure of helping Brent Elementary deliver Christmas trees–it’s always a great time, and one we look forward to! Plus, if we’re lucky, we might just get to pass off a letter to Santa. This year we moved into our new warehouse, so that’s one thing we can cross off our wish list, but I’m sure we’ll think of something else as we continue to grow as a company.
Hope you’ve digested that Thanksgiving turkey by now, because it’s time for latkes, gelt, and arroz con gandules, or whatever your family enjoys for the Holidays–I know our General Manager Jason makes homemade candy canes, for one!
Happy Holidays, from our big Bookstore family to yours!
Thanksgiving has rolled around again, and as always we were hard at work both delivering and eating turkey! This year we were happy to help give out turkeys again–it’s important for us to get moving before the holiday, when we’ll be crashed on the couch digesting.
Last year we talked a little bit about what we’re thankful for, so I polled my coworkers to see a little more about what’s on their list this year.
–Erika G. is thankful to have her sweet dog, Gus. Trust me when I say that ‘dog’ topped quite a few admin lists. The cat lovers did not come out to represent their faction.
–Kristen is thankful for New Kids on the Block and Ninja Turtles. Oddly enough, this didn’t top many lists. Have we taken NKOTB and Teenage Mutants for granted? Be sure to thank your favorite boy bands this year, including sewer-dwelling crime fighters.
–Laura is thankful for a plethora of things that she found it difficult to narrow down. However, she did list food more than once, so we definitely know who the true hero of her Thanksgiving is. Meanwhile, we’re thankful that Laura was able to return to our Admin team this year.
–Mary is thankful for having her family close by–especially since her brother makes great mashed potatoes.
–Matt is thankful for his son, and birds of prey. The second is just to spite me, though I have to admit his son is pretty alright.
–Aspa, looking back, was unable to tell us what she was thankful for because she was too busy being scandalized by the fact we all enjoy stuffing so much. I know she’s thankful for many things, but stuffing* is not one of them.
–Mike is thankful to have a partner in raising his daughters that he trusts so completely that he hadn’t even thought about it till I asked him, which means his wife probably deserves extra food this year. And presents.
–Jimmy is thankful for getting to go on an amazing vacation this year, traveling to Japan, Vietnam, and Thailand. You better believe we made him do a slideshow of photos–gorgeous! We’re thankful (and jealous) too!
–Jackie, my beloved work-soulmate, is thankful that she “carved out a life filled with love and special people, Hank is the Scooby to [her] Shaggy, and [she is] filled with more gratitude and less Jersey attitude”, which made me laugh so hard I had to include the full statement.
–Aaron is thankful for new sauces, which makes me feel bad for all the old sauces he’s pushed aside. Et tu, Brute?
–VJ and Jason, I believe, did answer this question, but were so overshadowed by the ongoing chaos of stuffing vs not-stuffing I literally cannot find their answers. I can only assume they both said they were thankful for stuffing.
As always, we have so much to be thankful for at this time of the year. All year I am thankful for friends and family, and for coworkers who work hard, laugh loads, and warn me just how sappy a ‘thankful’ post can get. I’m thankful for this company, and for the clients that make it possible. I’m thankful for the organizations we work with who do their best to make the world a better place. I’m thankful that even in times of disaster or tragedy when the world seems so overwhelming, you can always find a shining light or two to remind you to keep fighting for what is right.
For Thanksgiving? Oh, I’m definitely thankful for stuffing.
I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving, fought through Black Friday, celebrated Small Business Saturday (thank you!), treated yo’ self for Cyber Monday, and are currently enjoying giving back for Giving Tuesday. I hope you all have something to be thankful for all year round, because once again, we’re thankful for you.
*Please note that Aspa insists that stuffing is called dressing, which is wrong. And even if it isn’t wrong, this is my article. Them’s the breaks, kid!
John McKelvie is one of the most communicative guys at Bookstore Movers. He needs to be, since our Operation team’s attention tends to be in high demand. I pester John with questions multiple times a week, and with annoying (yet endearing?) ramblings even more often than that. I work with John more than any of the other operations guys, but if you call him John it will take me a while to realize who on earth you’re talking about. Since we have seen a plethora of Johns come and go since the creation of Bookstore Movers, it was important that most have a nickname to set them apart from each other and avoid wacky sitcom hijinks as much as possible. Our John McKelvie became Vermont John–VJ for short. This is what I’ve always known him by, so when I see emails addressing a phone call with John I get to sit there and think “Wrong number?” for a minute or two.
VJ, though, is a miracle worker. Any mistake I’ve made–and unfortunately, there are plenty– chances are VJ has had to fix, and has done so spectacularly. He’s never mean or condescending about it either, at least not to my face if he is (I appreciate it!). VJ knows just about all there is to know about moves, and still helps out on a move when needed. Some admin affectionately refer to him as a peaceful flying leopard as well–not all nicknames stick like VJ does, but who wouldn’t want to be a chill leopard cruising through the air? That’s VJ though. He’s chill. He knows what he’s doing. And what he’s doing is freaking magic.
Here’s another interview with one of my unproblematic faves– who still has time to become an astronaut if he wants. Just saying!
What is your favorite book?
Well, for childhood books it’s gotta be the Redwall series. I spent more hours reading about those endearing mice and bloodlusty badgers than I can count. But it’s tough to decide on a favorite since then. There’s a super depressing war novel called Once an Eagle that always rises to the top of my list. I also really dug the Rothfuss Kingkiller series, but that’s incomplete!
Can you remember the toughest item you’ve ever moved?
Hmmm, I’ll try not to cop out with piano or weight set. The anechoic chamber was pretty tough! We delivered that from a weird lab in Greenbelt to Catholic University. Another time I was moving with Beau (must’ve been way back in 2012) and we carried this monstrous couch up 5 narrow, tiny flights… but once we reached the top floor it wouldn’t through the customer’s front door. Ooh, another item that just seemed really strange at the time was when we did that massive shuffle within the Japanese embassy and we had to move a 4ft x 3ft scale model of the embassy itself. That was pretty cool, and actually one of the easier items to move on that job. The 200lb slippery file cabinets nearly resulted in several amputations–though the slippery part could be blamed on sweaty movers probably.
What is your favorite piece of furniture you own?
I don’t have strong feelings about most of our furniture (moving has given me a jaded view of antiques/heirlooms), so I’d have to lean towards my cozy mattress.
What’s your favorite way to rejuvenate after a long day?
I think the mattress might be a fitting response to that question as well… but I’m also in the bad habit of drinking delicious iced coffee (or even better, an iced red-eye–whoo!!) later in the day to get that second wind for finishing up work, or making dinner, or leaving my house.
And what is your dream vacation?
A southern hemisphere rugby tour! Exploring NZ, Aus, South Africa, and Argentina while watching the finest teams in the sport slam into each other. You know, just a casual month or two of vacation.
(Note: This interview was conducted after he already went on honeymoon to Portugal, and I for one was lost without him. Never leave us. Deny his vacation time, Matt.)
Do you remember your first day at BSM? Do you have any stories?
Oh man, aside from almost passing out from exhaustion in the client’s bathroom? I tried to push a handtruck loaded with book boxes up the ramp (pushing the handtruck in front of me rather than pulling it behind, a big no-no) and it rolled backward and spilled everywhere… all while my new (super mean) boss Matt was standing on the end of the truck watching. My arms started going numb after carrying book and comic book boxes down two flights. I was not in the best shape.
Sounds not that fun…
Definitely wasn’t! Fortunately, I didn’t collapse and I was quickly beaten into better shape.
What is the best thing to eat during an ops day? What is the best thing to eat during a moving day?
Oh man, most of Ops has been on a Spice 6 kick for the last couple months–guaranteed to force a mid-afternoon nap.
That was definitely Aaron’s choice too!
As for during a moving day… there are so many bad options to choose from, so few good ones
I think Chipotle probably gets the most BSM business out of any food chain (though sadly, 7-Eleven is probably up there too)
What is your number one tip for people about to move?
When in doubt, put it in a box.
So there we have it: the Gospel of VJ. Put it in a box.
I did ask just a few times for him to write us a haiku, but once again the request was ignored. So once again, one will be assigned to him.
If you call him John
(I’m gonna be honest here)
I’ll ask you “Who dat?”
That’s all for this weeks interview! Tune in next time to see if I ever, ever get someone else to write a haiku.
Edit: Upon reading this blog, John has submitted a haiku:
A pre-dawn Ops shift
Hot coffee overfloweth
Where are my work friends?
Thanks, John! But if it’s before 7 am in Minnesota, you are on your own buddy!
Hello everyone! I’m very excited today to bring you this new series: Know Your Movers! I have had so much fun interviewing some fantastic people that I know and appreciate greatly, and I couldn’t be more pleased to introduce you to some of my amazing coworkers.
Today we’ll be profiling one of the most infamous guys on our team. I remember when I first started working here and didn’t know much, I found a single note explaining that a building was having a pest problem, just to let us know. On these notes, there are often solutions to things like difficult parking or narrow stairs. The solution on this note? “Bring cats.” I can’t remember if I was more amused than I was confused, but I was definitely both those things. I asked a coworker about the note and the only thing she had to say was: “Beckwith.”
And so, I’d like to introduce you today (with help from Founder Matt and Admin Mary) to Aaron Beckwith–our operations, moving, and bookstore triple threat.
Erica: What is the most difficult item you’ve ever moved?
Aaron: Oooh, hmm. That’s tough… Apparently I’ve blocked a lot out, ‘cause I’m not coming up with a lot off the top of my head. That gun safe recently was pretty bad. The client said 600 pounds but I don’t think anyone really knows the different between 400 and 600 pounds… or at least I don’t. I just know when i shouldn’t be trying something. Hardest stuff for me has always been situations where we have to deal with the elements like extreme heat, iced over fire escapes, monsoon conditions.
Mary (a horrified coworker): Do you really move on icy fire escapes?
Aaron: Was a long time ago… before or as one of the blizzards was hitting us. 2011 or something.
(Please note that Bookstore Movers does not move on fire escapes or over ice, so hopefully Aaron has learned better since then.)
Matt: I’ve done a lot more hard moves than Aaron –Aaron really is a child of our “easy living era”
Aaron: Matt did have way more crazy moves than me. Most of my moving came after we decided to use these crazy things called ‘Handtrucks’ and ‘Dollies.’
Erica: Back in Matt’s day, they moved with their bare hands in the snow uphill both ways?
Aaron: They totally did.
Matt: Oh great–Aaron concedes to me but while doing so throws an underhanded insult. It was not that long a time that I went without handtrucks! But yes, it was far longer than it should have been. I never said I was a “work smart, not hard” kind of guy–in fact I am exactly the opposite. But all of that said, Aaron did in fact help on a some of the really really early, really really crazy moves–like doing a 4 bedroom house with a 16′ truck and 2 guys.
(Please note: Matt really is a work smart guy. He’s just also often ridiculous.)
Erica: What is your absolute favorite book? No cop-outs! One title!
Aaron: I’m a total cop-out for favorite book. I will try and get a non cop-out-ey answer though… which Matt will surely scoff at.
Erica: We can come back to the hard ones. But what is your favorite piece of furniture you own?
Aaron: Oh, the couch in my apartment is definitely #1. But I love the Poang chair too.
Matt: Yup, Aaron the Great has a great old couch.
Erica: Couch confirmed.
Aaron: I feel like Matt is setting me up for something here.
Erica: Or maybe you have a nice couch? Regardless, Jackie has some great questions for you Aaron; what’s your favorite way to rejuvenate after a long day?
Aaron: Nap and TMZ
Matt: Aaron and his darn TMZ. I can confirm that is true.
Mary: What is your dream vacation, Aaron?
Aaron: Dream vacation is tough, but right now El Yunque sounds pretty great. Drinking coffee, reading, listening to frogs, speaking terrible spanish.
[Several minutes of me excitedly talking about Puerto Rico, where my parents are from, omitted for length and also so I don’t look like even more of a nerd.]
Mary: Can you remember your first day at Bookstore Movers?
Aaron: Hmm, first day. I can’t remember my first move with Matt in the early days, but maybe Matt knows more about that.
Matt: Oh god–I could write a 30-page essay about it. So so so long ago, before we had any trucks even. Just a labor and wits company.
Aaron: First real day when I was full-time was just Matt and me in mid July. We had a client with lots and lots of heavy book boxes in an outdoor walk-up, and I very nearly died on several occasions. I was sore for several days afterward. It may have been over 100 degrees, but I could be exaggerating.
Matt: You always gave all, old man.
Erica: What’s the best thing to eat for lunch a) during a move day, b) during an ops day, and c) doing a bookstore day?
Aaron: Food during Moving Day–taquitos of course. Bookstore Day–Sushi and Sapporo from Sizzling Express. Ops Day–Spice 6 almost every time for me. Salad bowl (rice or naan will wreck you) with all of the veggies and tofu and spicy spices and sauces that are possible.
It’s a Chipotle-like Indian place not too far from us.
Erica: What is the #1 tip for people about to move?
Aaron: I feel like I have 1000 answers for that. Vacuuming can be fun. All the worst moves involve less than optimal cleanliness. #1 regret? Books are already packed so I can’t judge them.
Erica: And finally, your favorite book?
Aaron: Errrrrrghum… I guess I’ll go with Foam of the Daze by Boris Vian.
So there you have it! Definitely check if your local bookstore carries Foam of the Daze–and if that local store is Capitol Hill Bookstore, you may run into a familiar face or two. Since Aaron declined to write a haiku (after much unexplained and sudden badgering about haiku writing while he was working) one has been assigned for him:
Another week, another cause that we fiercely believe in. This week in our What Moves You series, we are proud to announce our support for the March for Racial Justice. In our day and age, it is impossible to ignore the disparities in treatment of and justice for minorities in America. The rise of social media, accessible cameras, and widespread information gives a voice to people that past generations have tried, and sometimes failed, to ignore. Because when so many people are here wholeheartedly to speak up with this voice, we cannot be ignored any longer.
According to The March for Racial Justice’s website, M4RJ is a black and indigenous led multi-community movement united in our demands for racial equity and justice. This includes a reversal of unjust laws, policies, and practices that hasten inequality, dehumanize people of color, and maintain white supremacy. In the past few months, racial tensions have been volatile as both man-made and natural tragedies have destroyed lives. This march is to show solidarity and demand change.
To us, this is not a radical or controversial idea. Our nation was founded on the idea of equality while being built upon systematic inequality, and people have been working towards equality and justice ever since. Racial justice is a cause that everyone can and should support. So we stand with our brothers and sisters, and, like we have for decades, we march.
Join us on Saturday, September 30th in Lincoln Park on Capitol Hill. If you are unable to march, due to distance, disability, or in observance of Yom Kippur, there are still ways to support this cause, as The March for Racial Justice continues to support your human rights as well. Check out the links below to learn, donate, endorse, volunteer, and spread the word. We hope to see you there.
DONATE — Watch the Generosity by Indiegogo campaign video and donate to
This week in the What Moves You series, we’d like to focus on a an event near and dear to our hearts: CureFest. This weekend marks our 4th year working with CureFest, and we look forward to continue helping whenever we can.
Curefest began in 2011, which makes September 16th and 17th their 6th event. Their mission is to make childhood cancer research a national priority by bringing together the general public, the medical community, elected leaders, and those whose lives have been touched by childhood cancer. By meeting in the National Mall and presenting both informational booths and activities, they create a family-friendly space where the childhood cancer community can be together and where the general public can learn about childhood cancer and support research. They even have entertainment and key speakers perform.
Whether you’d like to march in their rally to the US Capitol, attend the candlelight vigil, see some live music (there’s even an auction for a Sabrina Carpenter meet and greet!), listen to some truly amazing people speak, or just check out and see just what the big deal is, we implore you to stop by this amazing event. Whether you bring your family, friends, or just attend solo there is plenty to do and learn. Help CureFest raise the voice of children with cancer and try to find safer, less toxic treatments for them.
If you’d like more information on CureFest, please check out the links below!
At Bookstore Movers, we firmly believe in supporting what moves you. Whether it’s working with conservation efforts, doing social work, volunteering or donating, there are so many ways to support a cause and make the world a little brighter.
Last February, Bookstore Movers was proud to work with Sal’s Shoes for the first time. In coordination with the wonderful individuals at both Sal’s Shoes and PeacePlayers International, we packed, loaded, and shipped over 550 pairs of donated sneakers!
It’s hard to believe, but there are 300 million children in the world to whom shoes are a rarity.* Considering how quickly children grow out of shoes, it makes sense to keep these shoes in rotation and help out children in need. By sending shoes, you are making the world safer and more accessible to these kids, so they can go to school, learn a sport, and know that people are hoping to see them succeed in achieving their goals.
Working with Sal’s Shoes, we saw our donations make their way to Goma, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Through Goal Academy and Promo Jeune Basket, our new shoes became the prize of a large soccer competition. Participants in winning teams each received a pair of shoes, and through scholarships, play, and team building, each player walked away from winter camp with something to treasure and remember.
In the coming years, we hope to keep supporting Sal’s Shoes, Goal Academy, and Promo Jeune Basket–especially as PJB builds their first international school. We couldn’t be prouder of what these non-profit organizations have done to help communities around the world, and that we got to play a small part of it.
What moves you? Let us know! If you’re curious about any of these non-profits, check out the links below and see if you’d like to help out, one step at a time!
When it comes to college, there’s a lot to be excited for. It’s one of those first really big steps into independence that people look forward to for their whole lives. While it may not be for everyone, a college education is expected for a great deal of careers, and helps individuals grow as people. When in comes to moving during college, though,there are a lot of factors that come into play. Keep these factors in mind and you can work for a much more stress-free move!
First, there are a lot of location options for students. Living on campus comes with some great benefits. Proximity to class, dining hall plans, and campus events are just a few. However, there are many reasons not to opt for campus housing. Sometimes it’s cheaper to room off campus, sometimes you’d rather be closer to work or family, and sometimes you just would rather live with (just) your friends. All of these are valid options.
If you’re interested in looking for off campus housing, there should be various resources at your disposal. At my university, there were dorms in a more apartment style on campus, and later they built an apartment complex with very strong affiliations with the school. This provided an option for students who wanted to live in an area with a lot of other students but didn’t want to necessarily live right on campus (it was close instead to a campus parking lot that shuttled to the school). Ultimately, I myself spent one year in campus housing and moved to apartments directly afterwards because it was much cheaper in our area, but in cities like DC this is not always the case!
When moving, things can get tricky. I understand the concerns of movers being expensive–trust me, I really, really do. I moved maybe 10 times during college due to many strange circumstances. At the time, I never hired a mover. Having seen smooth, professional moves while growing up a military brat, I knew moves could be quick and efficient. I just never had the experience myself. Moving requires a lot of organizational skills that I as a young student did not have. Once, a roommate told me the wrong move out date and called me at 6 pm to say that I had to have everything (including her things) out by that night. I was really upset with her for a long time, but really, I clearly should have known our lease myself! Definitely know your lease, and plan as far in advance as you can!
If you have that one friend with the big car or truck, lucky you! This could be instrumental in your move, because moving large furniture isn’t easy. However, if you do have this friend, be aware: they know you’re using them for their car. Everyone else who knows this person is asking for moving help in exchange for pizza and beer. Sometimes this is ok, if you’re close to them! Sometimes, they get really upset. I was lucky enough once or twice to have someone like this volunteer to help without prompting. The same guys who offered to help me would complain whenever someone else insisted–or worse, demanded–that they help with some never before mentioned move. If a friend does help, really do appreciate it and thank them the best you can. Don’t forget to pitch in for gas!
If your friends are flakes like mine often were, it may be time to just bite the bullet and hiring a moving company. If you’re worried about cost, there are ways you can bring down the price. Most moving companies, like ours, offer lower rates for a weekday move. Similarly, moving in the middle of the month would be less expensive than moving at the beginning or end of the month, when moving companies are busiest. If it’s possible to move smaller items on your own, this could also cut the costs. However, most companies do have minimums, so often you will have to pay for a set number of hours no matter how small your move. Splitting the cost with a roommate is often a good idea. If you’re particularly charismatic, you may be able to impress your parents enough with your organizational skills that they may help as well!
Another option is to consider a labor only move–get help loading or unloading a truck that you rent yourself. Depending on the date and the cost of the truck rental, this could also be a great way to save time and money. You may love your friends, but chances are they aren’t the most efficient at packing a truck. Hiring movers (especially to load!) will save you time, which, when renting a truck, saves you money.
Whether or not you choose to go to college, live on on off campus, or move with or without movers, getting organized is a big part of your 20s. Trials like these, as frustrating as they can be, will help you prepare for the (equally frustrating) future. Just remember that it’s ok to ask for help, either from your friends or from companies like ours. You’re going to do great! And if not, you’ll have a few fantastic stories.
This is no problem. I moved as a kid, and it was fine. I’ll just throw my clothes in some trash bags and call up some friends. Who was that guy in Poli Sci? With the pick up truck? I think I have his name somewhere…
Stage 2: Anger
Why do people have to make this so complicated? Do I seriously need to hire a carpet cleaner? How am I going to have time for cleaning if I need to be out the day that I need to move into the new place? I better get my deposit back!
Stage 3: Bargaining
Heeeeeey… Paul? It’s me! From Poli Sci! You know, sophomore year of college? Do you still have a pickup truck? Do you want some pizza for, say, a measly 6 hours of manual labor? … What do you mean your name is Taylor?
Stage 4: Depression
That’s it. There’s no way I’m packing, moving, and not having a brain aneurysm at the same time. There’s way too much to do and I can’t even get myself to start. You know what…I’m going to go take a nap. Take a nap and think about all the life choices that pointed me to this terrible moment.
Stage 5: Acceptance
This is too much for me to handle while work/school/Overwatch/all seven seasons of Golden Girls also exist. I’ve got a little extra cash to spare and I’d rather spend my time looking forward to my new place instead of crying while trying to google how to pack dishes. Time to get an estimate.