Micah Hunter of J's Moving Specialists moves items into a U-Haul Saturday morning in Central Point. - Julia Moore

Home grown: J's Moving Specialist

Editor's note: This is one in a weekly series of profiles on locally owned and operated businesses in Southern Oregon.

What do you do and how long have you been doing it? We are a full-service, senior-community moving business. We've been doing this since 2005.

How long have you lived in the Rogue Valley? We've lived here since November 1998 and moved up here from Menlo Park, Calif., in the San Francisco Bay Area.

What inspired you to go into this line of work? I had a decorating business. We were organizing and decorating people's apartments at Fountain Plaza, and the community relations director approached me one day and asked if we would be interested in doing some of their internal moves for residents. Seniors are notorious for their moves because their needs change. I talked to my husband, who was doing home repair at the time, and we decided to go for it; that was our first step. Next, we got a pack and load certificate from the Oregon Department of Transportation, and that gave us authority to load trucks for customers, so they could move from Point A to Point B.

What decision or action would you change if you could do it again? Seniors need a lot of assistance. We probably should have gotten our Oregon moving authorization to begin with, allowing us to handle the trucks ourselves. It's hard for the seniors to manage that piece by just going down to rental companies.

What's the toughest business decision you've made? Sometimes there's dementia and other challenges. We have to have guidelines in place so that caregivers are available during the move to make a chaotic situation more smooth. It became obvious pretty quickly that sometimes the seniors thought things were lost when the items weren't there to begin with. We wanted to make sure we inventoried things in such a way that it would be very clear.

Who are your competitors? Medford Moving and Storage — the North American franchise — is the major moving company in the valley. There are other pack and loaders, who don't have the ODOT moving authority, as well.

What are your goals? We want to reach more retirement communities. We deal with Anna Maria Creekside, Fountain Plaza, Horton Plaza, Pioneer Village and Twin Creeks. We would like to reach out and add more communities in the Rogue Valley. I think we could develop this into a franchise.

What training or education did you need? My background is in business — marketing — and psychology. I got my bachelor's in sociology from San Jose State University. My husband has a degree from the College of San Mateo. Jumping in and being a business owner, you have to learn a bunch of different things: website development, accounting, marketing and management of staff. The biggest thing about our business is the relational quality — my sociology and psychology background is huge in that area.

What's your advice for budding entrepreneurs? You have to be willing to work hard and work around the clock. You don't go in faint of heart; you have to be willing to work hard. It can be done with a lot of commitment. It's exciting when you have a feel of ownership. You get the credit or criticism, and you have to be willing to take both and grow from that. It's all about building relationships with customers.

To suggest ideas for this column, about businesses that are at least five years old, contact reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or email

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