North Texas Daily

Little Guys move with brotherhood in mind

Little Guys move with brotherhood in mind

Little Guys move with brotherhood in mind
March 26
00:13 2015

Eline de Bruijn / Contributing Writer

Lifting an armoire, Emanuel “Manny” Gilstrap and Alex Hamett don’t seem to give it a second thought. Snowflakes are beginning to fall in Denton as the second round of winter weather swoops in. They are Little Guys movers and they continue loading cardboard box after box from the small, warm house into the moving truck named “Eastwood.”

Little Guys is a brotherhood. They play in bands together and support each other’s music. They get together to play disc golf, basketball or poker. They even have a monthly barbecue that includes a safety meeting and every NFL football season they have a fantasy league.

[vimeo id=”121214006″ width=”620″ height=”360″]

General manager Brad Steiger said they try to keep the workplace as fun as possible.

Steiger worked at Little Guys for six years before his promotion in 2013. The company has grown in sales ever since.

“Really what I think it boils down to and the reason why the company has done so well over time and continues to grow is we treat people right,” Steiger said.

The company’s 33 Denton employees have fun behind the shop, where a basketball court, skate ramp, washer set, poker room and workout machines reside.26_littleguys_web2

Taylor Copeland prepares for the next crew by rolling up the ratchet straps in the back of the truck. The employees often play basketball or other activites during their off time. 

“The one thing that I learned was we never wanted to be an adult workplace,” Steiger said. “[The half pipe] is a great example of the little things we try and do around here to make it a fun work environment.”

The shop is run entirely by men. Women have come and gone, but not many sign up for the job. The atmosphere is like a family of brothers, Steiger said.

“The average Little Guy comes to work here in their early 20s and have mainly maybe only held a job flipping burgers or frying chicken wings or something like that,” Steiger said. “This job gives people a lot of life experience leadership skills that I find that very few jobs really teach people.”

Little Guys started in 1992 when Marcus Watson worked for another Denton moving company called “Big Guys Movers.” Disappointed with his experience, he started his own company with a new play on words called Little Guys Movers.

Manny Gilstrap is one of the master crew leaders and has been at the company for almost three years.

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Jeremy Richards fills out paperwork after coming back to the office from a delivery job.

“A lot of those environments, I mean, it’s straight business,” Gilstrap said. “You’re there straight for the customer, not saying that we aren’t, but we take care of our customer very well, but also make sure we have a great work environment for the guys here.”

Gilstrap said he enjoys the camaraderie and relationships the Little Guys have with each other.

“People do have other dreams and stuff like that they want to achieve,” Gilstrap said. “We understand that not everybody who comes and moves here is just going to be a mover for the rest of their life. They have other things like school and other dreams and aspirations they want to do. This environment kind of helps them achieve those.”

Another master crew leader, Kyler Weger, said he moved to Denton in 2013 and learned about the city through his mover position.26_littleguys_web4

Alex River gives a thumbs up while checking a delivery truck’s engine. The trucks are checked each morning before being driven.

“I think what continues to bring people to this job, and what continues to grow this job, is that it’s about the people that you work with,” Weger said. “Everyone here is good friends. There’s no drama involved. No one here hates anybody. Everyone loves working with people.”

The average moving cost for a local one-bedroom apartment is $300. A long-distance move to Houston can be $2,000 and up.

During the winter season, the shop gets an average of 50 local jobs and one long-distance job per week. In the summer, those numbers double. Even with hundreds of jobs per week, Weger said he still loves his job.

“You know when you pull up to that job at 8 in the morning, you’re going to be there for 10 hours and you’re going to be working with the same two to three guys,” Weger said. “You make it work. You hang out all day. You work with each other 12 hours a day and you just develop a great friendship.”

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 A collection of strapshand along the wall in the back of each truck. 

Featured Image: Emanuel “Manny” Gilstrap and Alex Hamett lift a piece of furniture into the moving truck. Photos by Eline de Bruijn – Contributing Writer

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