Skokie moving company wins Merchant of the Year
Golan's Moving and Storage employee Brian Lopez talks to a client on the phone last week in Skokie. Customers voted Golan's Merchant of the Year in Skokie. | Tamara Bell~Sun Times Media
MERCHANT OF THE YEAR
Name: Golan’s Moving and Storage
Where: 3600 Jarvis St.
Expanded: Three times within a couple of blocks
Employees: 30 office staff and about 100 to 200 movers
Phone: (800) 439-8515
Updated: August 6, 2012 6:42AM
Skokie’s newest Merchant of the Year stands out from past winners for a couple of reasons.
Golan’s Moving and Storage is located nowhere near downtown Skokie, where many of the recent retailers who have won this honor open their doors. And unlike a restaurant or a hair salon, a moving company doesn’t often generate the same kind of water cooler buzz among satisfied customers.
But Golan’s Moving and Storage, 3600 Jarvis Ave., is a true Skokie success story as measured by a few different barometers. One of them is in its expansion history.
Three friends opened the business in 1990 and handled pretty much every aspect of it themselves. Since then, Golan’s has called three other places all within two blocks of each other its home.
“They just continually needed more space,” said Golan’s Sale and Marketing Coordinator Naftali Garber. “That’s what was behind each of the moves.”
From those humble beginnings of a company of three ambitious friends, Golan’s now employs 30 office staff, 80 to 100 movers in winter and as many as 200 movers in summer.
“They had a grand vision for this company from the beginning,” said Garber. “The idea was to earn a reputation for completing moves with high quality work and to work quickly.”
The vision has more than paid off. Golan’s last year opened a new facility in Los Angeles, which helps with long moving assignments to the west coast. Trucks no longer have to come back empty for one thing.
Sixty percent of the company’s assignments remain local moves, Garber said, but 40 percent still makes for a lot of longer distance moves. In 2011, Golan’s completed about 9,000 moves for satisfied customers.
Golan is located in Skokie’s east industrial corridor. Golan’s employees work hard packing and loading, driving to and from the tucked-away complex every day. Moving and storage companies may not be the first kind of business discussed at cocktail parties, but when customers have an unhappy experience with such a company, word spreads fast.
And when a company is as reliable as Golan’s, word of mouth can help. One friend needs a mover and another friend relays what a good experience he or she had.
Just listen to Village Trustee Don Perille when Golan’s was awarded Merchant of the Year at a Village Board meeting last month.
“A couple of years ago, I wanted to ship some furniture to my daughter in Boston and I engaged Golan and they shipped furniture and a 250-piece set of china that belonged to her grandmother,” Perille recounted. “Got there without a chip or a scratch or anything like that. It was just the most incredible job I’ve ever seen.”
The Merchant of the Year Award is run by the village’s Consumer Affairs Commission. This year, the village received a record 457 ballots nominating 42 different Skokie businesses.
Golan’s Moving and Storage was followed by two downtown Skokie businesses in the contest for Merchant of the Year; Bughouse Studio, 4845 Oakton St., came in second and Skokie’s oldest continuing business, Ace Hardware, 5035 Oakton St., came in third.
Golan’s received a certificate plaque and a perpetual Merchant of the Year trophy that has its business name engraved on it. The trophy will be on display at the business for a year.