Made in Michiana: Silent Movers
ELKHART, Ind. – In our newest installment in the Made in Michiana series, we take a look at a moving company that beats the odds.
Overcoming a pandemic in addressing other challenges without working a tool that many of us take for granted.
Imagine not being able to fully communicate with your customers. This is exactly what Silent Movers has to deal with, but Walter and his team break down barriers and master every challenge.
Taking your life in to move is a huge step made difficult by the three-story climbing and triple-digit temperatures. But it’s just done with helping hands like Walters.
“He always tries to help everyone,” said Tabatha Royal, Walter’s sister and company secretary.
When Walter Griffin Jr. and his team show up for a job, they wear yellow T-shirts that say Silent Mover’s
It’s more than just a brand, it’s an identity for Walter and most of his team.
“Walter got sick when he was two years old. And he had a high fever of 105. And my mother took him to the hospital to find out he had meningitis. The fever took away his hearing and his speech, “said Royal.
“I have two deaf friends who own a business. So I learned from them, you know, just kind of figured out what they do. And I thought it would be cool for me to own a company. So I set that up. And I decided, you know, since I’m deaf, I was going to call it the Silent Mover, and the rest is some kind of story, “said Walter Griffin Jr., the owner of the business, Silent Movers.
7 years ago he was signed by U-Haul and it went from there.
“He loads and unloads trucks. Customers who placed an order online said they want two men for two hours. They are coming. You place the order online, I get the information, I call, speak to the customers and have the guys set up to go out, “said Royal.
The company operates across northern Indiana – with a range of over 100 miles.
Walter doesn’t let the deaf get in the way and now helps others do the same.
“To be honest, they are mostly deaf people. You know there are a lot of family members. But I wanted the business just because I enjoy helping other people. I go to a mission group with deaf men, so I wanted to help them and help other people, and I just love helping people, “he said.
Having a big heart and helping people didn’t mean starting the company was without challenges.
“I started this alone. And you know, the first few times I called customers they hung up because they didn’t understand it was them. You know I was talking on the phone through an interpreter. And then my mom would help me with the interpreting and she would make the call, and that’s how we started and it just got easier over time, “said Griffin Jr.
“He wants people to know he’s deaf and he’s here to help everyone. But how do you get in touch with these people when they don’t understand you? So he tends to get out of here and get online . ” Said Royal.
It is particularly difficult to communicate with older people.
“Many seniors don’t really know how to work with the deaf. You are just like that what are you doing? Have you ordered a service but are deaf? That’s right. Well what are you doing And you know, we just have to kind of repeat ourselves, “said Griffin Jr.
But Walter and his team found their way through the confusion.
“We’re going to teach the customers you know whether it’s number one for the kitchen, number two for the bedroom, number three for the basement, things like that to make things run more smoothly. Sometimes we may have a hearing person with us, or sometimes we just gesticulate a lot. So let’s just do it and it’ll go smoothly, “he said.
Walter worked seven years to smooth out the kinks, but then another wrench came along … the coronavirus pandemic.
“We had to keep the business under control for about two months,” he said. “We started slowly and just had to take our time and make sure we do what we had to do. You know, we have a limit like we used to, we had eight jobs a day, now we do about two or three jobs a day. “
Losing thousands along the way and getting back up and running is no small matter. For now, they are just trying to make sure customers feel safe with their service.
“We’re just letting them know we’re going to use a mask. We make sure that you feel comfortable. We will ask you if you are not comfortable. We’re trying to figure this out as communication. What should we do? “, Asked he.
And to make matters even more difficult, Walter lost someone very close to him and the business.
“My mother recently passed away and she was our secretary. You know, she was the secretary for a long time and it’s easy to communicate with. And now my sister has taken on that role, “he said.
Another affair of the heart … drawn.
“It was a little difficult at first, but now I’m just, you know, we’ve given everyone time to get over my mother’s death so we can keep the business moving,” he said.
But Walter and the Silent Movers still somehow see the light at the end of the tunnel.
“We just want our business to be successful. We want people to recognize us, “he said.” We want people to understand that it’s good value. We offer good service and value. We are honest And we just want to help people, you know, we want to help them get where they want to go. “
And despite the hurdles, Walter said they just want to keep moving forward.
“It will be a few years before we can get back to normal, but I think we can do it,” he said.
Because it can be difficult to get your life moving, but Walter and his team will still be here … even if you can’t hear them.
Walter tells ABC57 he hopes to grow his business in the future and continue to help customers when they need it most.