“We got hit hard in 2007 just like everyone,” recalled Bob Fraser, owner of Healdsburg-based . “But I think Healdsburg has turned a corner, perhaps faster than other North Bay towns.”
Of course, Fraser admits to being a positive kind of guy who prefers to see the glass half full, instead of half empty.
“I have business partners who remain cautious, and that’s understandable, but I just came from a Chamber meeting and the retail numbers for the holiday season are all better than last year.”
Then there is . Despite the controversy, Fraser believes the development will be a boon to Healdsburg’s economic future.
“It’s going to bring in jobs and more tourism dollars. It is the local tourist industry that’s helped the town through economic downturns.”
The could well be a boon to Fraser’s business too.
Fraser started Redwood Moving & Storage in 1990 with one used truck, a $700 loan from his folks and a strong back.
“I did it all back then; rode the truck, moved furniture," he said. "At night, I kept the books and, whenever I could, I’d make cold sales calls.
"Doing it all taught me how to run a business, and of course it also helped keep the overhead down which helped the company grow,” he said.
Fraser credits his uncle for giving him his start in the moving business but also for teaching him everything not to do.
“I worked for my uncle who owned a small moving company in Santa Rosa," he said. "He was a tough, stubborn guy. I remember working 12 to 15 hour days, with no breaks, no benefits, and no vacation time.
"I was determined my business would be different," he said. "I’d treat my employees the way I would want be treated," he said. "I think every business owner has that responsibility.”
Today, Fraser’s company has eight moving vans, a 15,000-square-foot warehouse and 11 full time employees. Redwood offers a full range of moving and packing services ranging from local moves to nationwide.
Allen Adams has been with the company for nearly 15 years. He began as a helper, but now is the general manager and is in charge of the storage facility.
“Our storage warehouse is unique in the North Bay,” explained Adams. “It’s climate-controlled and unlike mini-storage units, our storage facility is completely enclosed so we offer far better security.”
The basic storage unit offered by Redwood is a massive five-by-seven-foot wooden box or "vault" that customers rent for a monthly fee.
“Our vault system is perfect for the storage of valuable family heirlooms or expensive furniture or artwork,” said Adams. "The fact that it’s climate-controlled year-round makes it ideal for fragile items like musical instruments.”
Redwood Moving and Storage is part of the GREENetwork, and offers drop-offs of electronic equipment for both consumers and business owners.
“We have set up a non-profit so the money we collect from electronic recycling goes into a fund that helps support the Special Olympics and student scholarships,” Adams added.
Fraser, who sits on the board of the local Chamber of Commerce and the California Movers & Storage Association, encouraged many other moving companies to adopt the effort.
“I just thought it made sense for a moving company to offer e-waste recycling," he said. "Thanks to what we started here in Healdsburg, many other movers now offer the same service. It’s a great way to give back to the community.”