The owner of Coastal Town Moves is moving on, her number two is moving up, and its base of operations recently moved from Westport to Wilton.
“I had moved many times within the U.S. and in Brazil, downsized my parents, settled two kids at college, and helped friends relocate,” said Betsy Wacker, founder and CEO of the full-service residential move management company, of its 2013 origins.
The former lobbyist and teaching fellow at Yale “wanted to start a low-tech, high-touch business that used all of my life experience. I researched upcoming fields and move management really appealed to me, so I started Coastal Town Moves with a friend and we began streamlining the process for boomers, busy professionals, and seniors.”
Coastal strives to address all aspects of a move: packing and unpacking; organizing items for online sales or donation; taking inventory of and prioritizing home contents; home staging including details of plant and pet care; and cleaning and trash removal.
Wacker said that from the start her company has specialized in “planning five steps ahead, being time-efficient, removing so much stress and emphasizing the upside of a client’s relocation — especially for our senior clients. We always kept it upbeat and smooth so that the client could feel that their move was in good hands.”
Now, however, the native Midwesterner is returning to Traverse City, Michigan. “I bought a house there last summer thinking it would be years before I made the move,” she said. “But when I started working with Laurie I knew she was going to be perfect to run the company. That meant I could get to Traverse City sooner!”
The “Laurie” in question is Laurie Maggio, who became CEO in April after serving as Coastal’s primary move coordinator for the past year. Living in Wilton, she said it made sense to relocate the business from 104 Glen Side in Westport to 304 Chestnut Hill Road when she took over.
Once a sports marketing account manager for the NBA, Maggio said the personal touch is what drew her to Coastal. “Coming in to someone’s home when they’re in the midst of moving, which can be a very stressful time, and being upbeat about it can mean so much, which was appealing to me,” she said.
Coastal’s ability to deal with so many of a move’s details is also a plus, she said. “We don’t have to outsource a lot. We come in and go through the entire process and get them comfortably resettled in their new place.”
The service tends to be a seasonal one, she said, as most people prefer to move during the warm months, when weather and school schedules tend to be more cooperative. Although usually working in the Westport-Wilton-Weston area, Coastal has recently extended into Fairfield. Over the past few weeks it also helped a client move from Bronxville, New York, to Queens, and was tapped by clients in Long Island and Rhode Island to assist in relocating to Connecticut.
The company has seven contractual move coordinators on staff — “we usually use three on a given job” — with rates ranging from $35 an hour to $55 an hour if Maggio is personally involved. “If someone’s on a really tight budget, we try to work within that,” she noted.
In addition to word-of-mouth and social media, Maggio said that Coastal’s business has grown by building relationships with area realtors like Wilton’s Realty Seven. “Thanks to Betsy’s networking, we’ve had a couple of realtors who have been recommending us constantly,” she noted.
Coastal has also found a steady stream of work with estate sales by introducing Fair Split software to its service. A web-based system accessible to all parties dividing an estate, Fair Split is designed to help overcome the myriad details and conflicts that can occur during those trying times, Maggio said.
“Laurie was born to do move management,” Wacker enthused. ”She cares about how her clients experience a move and takes every measure to make it go smoothly. It’s wonderful to hand such a capable woman my company and know that she will carry on our values and reputation.”