Moving company preparing for busy summer following uptick in local move-ins last year
InterWest Moving & Storage on 1765 North Yellowstone Highway in Idaho Falls offers a variety of services to customers. Get a look at the moving services in the video player above. | Rett Nelson, EastIdahoNews.com
IDAHO FALLS – Over the past year, many industries have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. A local business providing a variety of services to businesses and individuals has seen the impact firsthand and the impact on people locally and across the country.
InterWest Moving & Storage on 1765 North Yellowstone Highway in Idaho Falls is one of four brands under the iWest umbrella. It is a locally owned and operated agent for Atlas Van Lines. Its offerings include packaging, loading and transport services for housewares as well as warehousing, storage and moving services.
It also provides other niche services such as receiving and distributing packages for the Idaho National Laboratory, warehousing and installation logistics for designers, and delivery and product management services. The hospitality department supplies and sells furniture for hotels.
Brent Keim, one of the company’s owners, told EastIdahoNews.com that the moving aspect is the bulk of their business, which has declined slightly over the past year.
“Household movements went down,” says Keim. “The people who were moving came to Idaho because they were trying to get out of the subway areas.”
Brent’s sister, Chelsey, who is also a partner in the company, says 66% of the moves last year were people who moved to the state, a trend that has not been seen since 2017. In 2020 there were about 700 inbound moves about 380 outbound moves.
One cause of the increase in inbound removals is lifestyle changes related to the pandemic, Chelsey said. Other factors are the cost of living and the booming economy.
“Idaho is great,” says Chelsey. “There are a lot of jobs available and I think that’s another reason people are moving here.”
Chelsey says 2021 will be an active year for new moves. The main moving season does not take place until June, but there are already numerous inquiries on the program.
“Before (COVID) people were planning to move out in a month or two. Now they call and say, “Hey, I have to move next week because my house is sold.” The dynamic has changed a lot. Last year there were a lot of moves … people moving (home from college since schools closed). This year we see the normal resumption of people moving for more typical reasons. “
Incoming movements aren’t the only thing that has increased. Online furniture orders have skyrocketed over the past year, according to Brent.
“Business increased by 20 or 30% in 2020 compared to the previous year,” says Keim. “Companies that were either quarantined or shut down facilities had to keep their belongings because they weren’t operating, and that’s how we grew that type of business, too.”
From left: Chelsey, Brent and Kendra Keim are the sibling owners of InterWest Moving & Storage. | Rett Nelson, EastIdahoNews.com
The Keims have had a stake in InterWest Moving & Storage since 2005 when they bought it from the Gellings family. InterWest first opened on Utah Avenue in the 1980s. Atlas has had a presence in East Idaho since 1954.
According to Brent, his father saw a great need for the services InterWest provides in a real estate transaction.
“Your phone rang and he was trying to work with (the customer). They couldn’t do everything that came in, ”says Brent. “He asked if it was something we wanted to do and we decided to try.”
Until 2015, the company still used moving trucks from 1969 and a 4,000 square meter warehouse. It has since grown to 180,000 square feet and more than 60 new trucks and trailers. It also has two other locations in Belgrade, Montana and Salt Lake City.
“We didn’t really want to be who we have become, but here we saw the opportunity and took advantage of it,” says Brent. “Our customers are people who want high-end service … and we will continue to offer that service and build partnerships.”
InterWest Moving & Storage is open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit the website or Facebook page to find out more.