By Ben Schooley
On the Move, located on IH-10 just north of Flagstop is one of those businesses that you have driven past hundreds of times, and might not have the slightest idea of what they do. You’ll see several box trucks for sale out front, but there’s a lot that goes on inside this business that you don’t see. CJ Stratte, VP of Sales and Marketing and grand-daughter of the founder, finds that fully unpacking her company is both exhausting, yet she finds it truly exhilarating.
Originally founded in the 70s to serve the storage industry, the company soon pioneered the storage industry rental truck industry. The niche, where storage unit companies provide customers with free box trucks to assist with their moves, proved immensely popular and helped propel the company forward. Stratte’s grandfather is still on site every day, and her mother is the CEO. Upon graduation from Hawaii Pacific, Stratte joined in 2008.
She begins, “Everybody always asks us what we do, and I always have to take a very deep breath. We sell a rental truck program to storage customers and from there we branched out into so many other things. We sell those used trucks as well as other vehicles, we are licensed for insurance specific to storage unit owners, we offer vinyl wraps for the trucks, and in fact we can do them for ANY vehicle. We have a patent on food truck design, and ultimately bought a 2nd patent on a food truck ,so that’s opened doors for us to design virtually any food truck. We’re working with multiple universities throughout the country and also clients like Six Flags. Our truck is more spacious and these universities and theme parks are using them to service the kids across the campuses and their customers throughout the theme parks. At last count, we had over 1400 storage facilities on the insurance program now.”
Obviously a complex operation, the family owned business is in a daily goal of innovation with products well separated from the storage facility industry. Stratte explains, “My mom, grandfather and myself….we are all constantly trying to find a need that must be fixed. From web based solutions to software to custom products…we’re all constantly looking for a reason to create something new. We’ve innovated a closet organization system, pens, software, even a potato peeler. We’ve even taken our automotive experience and we sell/rent 1903 Oldsmobiles that we have turned electric and call them ‘Replicars’.”
This ever-changing environment of creation is where Stratte finds her true inspiration and motivation. She continues, “I work on projects every day that haven’t even come to creation yet. We begin the marketing before the product is even complete yet, and it’s so much fun with the conceptualization of our advancements. It’s so fun sitting down and brainstorming and trying to figure out how to solve the problems and create these new products and innovations. My grandfather worked at Ford for several decades and so he has learned that we should always be trying to improve things and we continue that philosophy each and every day.”
As with any small business, her customers are both necessary for the revenues, but they also keep her and the entire company motivated to deliver a product that exceeds their expectations. “My customers are unsure of what we do when we first meet but they get so excited to learn what we do and understand how we work. Taking their desire to market their business via our trucks and tools and then having them send me a photo of themselves when we deliver their products…it’s just wonderful. The return on investment for most of them is so crazy and I can see it in their smiles. Additionally, working on the food trucks is so fun, too – seeing their trucks around town and around the country – it’s just a beautiful thing. Our food trucks are custom built here and are delivered all around the country, so to see them as I travel around the country is super cool and keeps me so motivated.”
As stated at the beginning, you have driven past On the Move countless times and probably knew but a fraction of the work that actually occurs in their facility. A true spirit of innovation and creation exists inside, and the entire family works tirelessly to realize dreams for their clients and customers. Stratte finishes, “I’m proud of my family and how we’ve taken this company and grown it so much and how we’re not complacent in what we do – we’re constantly growing and looking for new ways to innovate.”