I just visited a local business with the easy to forget name-Service Tape and Box. Unassuming doesn’t begin to describe this place. Old building, barely detectable sign, etc. Being the crack observer that I am, I immediately determined that this was a place that required detective-like skills to find what you need.

I wandered around for 3 or 4 minutes when a man approached me and said, “Are you moving?” Huh? Did I give off the “I am moving and dread it, vibe?” Weakly, I said “Yes, how did you know?” He told me he’s been in the business a long time and he can tell when someone is coming in to buy boxes because they are moving. I’ll say. He asked me a short series of questions then made 3 recommendations. I took them all, went home, packed up all the boxes and stacked them in the bathtub (this is where you’d stack them too if you lived in a very small space.”

One week later I return to the Service Tape and Box warehouse/store to find a different, younger guy minding the place. Once again, I proceeded to wander around looking for some smaller boxes than I’d bought last time because we have a lot of books and it doesn’t take much for the boxes to get incredibly heavy when books are the cargo.

After a minute, the man asked me “are you looking for boxes for moving?” “Yes but I want some smaller ones than these” (pointing the display.) “Well those work very well for moving,” he said. I explained the deal about the books. He said, “Yes but smaller boxes cost a lot more. I suggest you use these but don’t pack them full. Fill them up as much as you want then put crushed paper on top to keep everything tight. You’ll be wasting some space but the cost of the wasted space is less than what you’d spending buying more of the pricer boxes. We did the math and even if you buy newsprint, you will come out cheaper.” I did exactly as he suggested. As an added bonus, all of our boxes are the same size, making the stacking business easier.

Here’s a short list of what the folks at Service Tape and Box are doing.

1. They use their knowledge, but waste no time or breath telling you how great their knowledge is.

2. They are laser focused on helping you reach your goal, not on selling you boxes.

3. They have managed to retain a very stable staff so that they have things worked out to a fine tune. The guy that loaded my car has worked there for decades. He is cheerful and diligent, dare I say proud of his work. Wow!

If a small business in a business that is decidedly non-glamorous can do so well, what’s stopping you?

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