Word on the Street: Bellhops hires Fresno State students to make moving easy

The Fresno BeeJune 15, 2014 

Two students move furniture as employees of Bellhops, a moving service that exclusively employs college students. They currently employ 80 Fresno State students.

BY STEPHEN GARRETT

Moving can be a hassle, but Bellhops moving company employs 80 Fresno State students to do the heavy lifting.

Matt Patterson, the company's chief operating officer, said the company started in 2011 as an experiment in Auburn, Ala.

"We got the idea from our female friends whose parents would come help them move and ask us to help," said Patterson. "We're nice guys and we wanted to help out and we'd do it for free, but they'd tip us $100 every time."

Patterson recognized the need for more nice guys to help people move and soon Bellhops started serving the local community.

During the first year, Bellhops employed 90 students and did 80 moves a day, according to Patterson. Business continued to grow when the Lamp Post Group — venture capitalists based in Chattanooga, Tenn. — took interest in 2012.

Between 2012 and 2013, Patterson said, the company grew tenfold in revenue. He said they plan to grow five times more by the end of 2014.

Currently, Bellhops employs more than 8,000 students in 121 cities. Individual bellhops are managed by an app where employees can pick when they want to work, which also reduces the cost of running the business.

Patterson said that the average price for two bellhops to move a two-bedroom apartment across town with moving truck rental is about $240 for three hours of labor and $135 for the truck, for a total of $375.

Details: www.GetBellhops.com or (888) 836-3939.

Blockbuster to Babylon

After three years of sitting empty, the Blockbuster at 750 E. Olive Ave. in the Tower District appears to have a new tenant: Babylon Club.

But the business will have a new name and won't host live music anymore. It will be a billiards club with a bar.

Detention, as the business will be renamed, is still four to six months away from opening. Owner Tim Ferrigan has an agreement with the building's landlord, but is still going through the conditional-use permit process with the city. The building would also need work before the business could move in.

For years, Babylon — previously called Avalon — was on a one-way portion of Fulton Street just south of Olive Avenue in a space that required customers to walk down exterior stairs to enter. It's been closed since December, when copper thieves stole a half-inch water line off the roof, which sent water into the upstairs businesses and caused a virtual rainstorm inside Babylon. The bar, carpet and parts of the walls were destroyed.

Ferrigan doesn't own the building. Insurance didn't cover the entire repair bill, so Ferrigan decided that if he had to pump his own money into it, he'd move to an area with more foot traffic. The new location won't need live music to attract customers, he said.

"It's not a stage and bands and dancing and that sort of thing," he said. "The pool tables are going to be the main draw."

He expects that nearby restaurants will provide take-out food to customers.

 

Helen Tracey-Noren and Bethany Clough contributed to Word on the Street. It was compiled by Clough. The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6431, bclough@fresnobee.com or @BethanyClough on Twitter.

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