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Storage site for the military
Statesboro Transfer & Storage provides space for deployed personnel
W 021309 BIZ STATESBORO 2
Two workers from Statesboro Transfer and Storage get ready to go out on a call.
      Founded in 1967 by Hal C. Waters, Statesboro Transfer & Storage Company has become one of the largest providers of storage space in the southeast for deployed military personnel.
       "We began doing military work in 1989," said Adam Waters, president of Statesboro Transfer & Storage and Hal Waters' son. "We had to put in a lot of different things to become a government contractor such as sprinkler systems and outdoor surveillance cameras, but it has been well worth it."
       Waters said when troops are deployed overseas for 12, 18, or as long as 36 months, many need to have their household goods placed into storage. Waters' company is then hired to pack, move and store the soldier's possessions, particularly those from Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield.
       Awarded the "Green Arrow" Award by the Department of Defense in 2007 for being one of the top ten non-temporary storage service providers in the southeast region, Waters said becoming affiliated with the military has made Statesboro Transfer and Storage a better company.
       "You have to do things in a certain way if you are going to work with the military," he said. "They have very strict regulations, but the reality is that once we implemented them, our quality of service and how we did things improved. Overall, it has been a very good move for us."
       With the downturn in the economy, Waters said commercial and residential moving has ground to a near standstill.
       "Two years ago, we were constantly moving people into and out of homes in Bulloch County," he said.   "Homes were selling like crazy and changing hands all of the time. We also did a lot of commercial moving in which people were transferred with their job, or companies themselves were relocating. That has virtually stopped."
       With a 32,500 square foot warehouse for storage on Mathews Road in Statesboro, Waters said he is able to store more than one million pounds of household goods. Waters has 15 employees and 13 moving trucks. The company is affiliated with Wheaton World Wide Moving in addition to some other national van line companies. Waters said Wheaton was the best "fit" for his company, as they have an excellent nationwide reputation, and they allow their affiliates to run their companies as they see fit.
       According to the American Moving and Storage Association in Washington, D.C., the moving industry consists of 8,100 companies operating at 17,000 locations primarily providing moving and storage services for household and office goods. The industry includes van lines, van line agents, independent full-service movers, international movers, forwarders, and auto transporters. It employs 122,600 people with an annual payroll of $3.6 billion.
       Waters said his workforce fluctuates. "In the summertime we add on additional help as that has always been a very busy time in the moving industry," he said. "We always have at least 15. It is our understanding that soldiers from Fort Stewart will be redeployed in stages beginning this summer. If that is the case, we will get real busy, real quick."
       Waters said the biggest problems that his industry faces are increased regulation, increasing costs, and finding the right employees.
       "Fuel, insurance, the cost of the crates that we use for storage have all gone up," he said. "People want to know why it cost more to move today than it did just two years ago. Everything has gone up. We also have a very difficult time finding employees that are willing to work hard all day long. It's a tough business, and it is hard work. We get a lot of applications, but not that many people are ready for the job, or they don't pass the background check process. It is challenging."
       Waters said even with the challenges, he plans for his company to grow. "We're moving forward, even though it is tough times. We bought a new piece of equipment this year like we have in years past. We are going to keep moving forward and growing."