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THE FRONT LINE: People still on the move despite world being on hold

'Moving is stressful. ... Imagine doing it when there is a global pandemic going on,' Tracy Brohm from Barrie's Two Men and a Truck franchise

When the provincial government made a list of businesses deemed essential, Two Men and a Truck was one of those companies that stayed open. 

Two million people moved last year across Canada and 30,000 of them used the moving company Two Men and a Truck.

When provincial restrictions came into effect for most businesses and some companies were forced to temporarily close, Two Men was considered an essential business. 

CEO and president John Prittie told BarrieToday he believes it was the right call.

“You could only imagine the ripple effect if people couldn’t move; the government needs people to move,” said Prittie. “We are very thankful that our industry was given the green light to continue serving and we went forward with safety precautions for everyone involved.”

Prittie says the company has had to adapt to the new physical-distancing world with many new initiatives possibly staying after the health crisis is over.

“We have limited people in the truck to one or two and those in teams soley work together. If more people are required for a move, others travel in separate vehicles and social distancing is a must while working,” he said. “So far, the response from customers has been very positive and I’m very proud of how things are being handled by our staff.”

Masks, rubber gloves and lots of sanitizer has also been abundantly supplied and Two Men staff is in constant contact with customers leading up to moving day. Calls to customers are done regularly and no-contact health checks are completed. Two Men also requires that only one person be at the location the day of the move.

Two Men and a Truck is using technology that allows for a virtual walk-through of the location, giving staff an idea of where everything is before they head to the home. 

An unfortunate reality to the COVID-19 crisis is that many businesses have been forced to close permanently. Prittie says his company has had to help those in a bind with limited time.

“We have got calls about people needing to move their business out of a building and it was all last-minute, all very stressful,” he said. “We get on it right away, after safety precautions are established, and help alleviate the chaos in that person’s life in that moment.”

Being a company that has franchises in five provinces, Two Men and a Truck has an office in Barrie on Saunders Road.

Barrie franchise owner Tracey Brohm says with her location celebrating 10 years in June, it isn’t exactly the anniversary she envisioned, but she's happy her staff of around 30 people is still working.

“A little different time, for sure, but we’re very lucky to be able to continue to help those who need it,” Brohm said. “Moving is stressful; if you’ve had to do it, you know. Imagine doing it when there is a global pandemic going on.”

Brohm’s office, like all other Two Men locations, is closed to the public right now, but they are still operating with health and safety in mind.

“We’re open, just the doors are locked to prevent contact. We are here for those calling looking for help and we deliver boxes curbside to customers,” she said. “There have been some moves that were postponed as people were needing to self-isolate, but after that time was over we were able to assist.”

Brohm has seen a fairly steady business environment as the company set safety guidelines in place when becoming an essential business. As with any hiccup experienced in business, she said her franchise was ready when it happened up in Elliot Lake, some 450 kilometres away.

“One situation we had was that we deliver to places where an overnight stay is required for our crew. Elliot Lake has been a popular place lately, for some reason, and we've been up there a bit,” said Brohm. "The hotel we used closed down, leaving us scrambling to get our crew set up, but a local place really stepped up and accommodated us.

“It was one of those moments where we realized that everyone truly was in this together, helping wherever they could.”

Two Men and a Truck can be contacted at their website here.

Shawn Gibson

About the Author: Shawn Gibson

Shawn Gibson is a staff writer based in Barrie
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