Moving forward

Dave Bruckman's Bruckman's Moving and Storage in Owosso Township is celebrating 70 years in business.

OWOSSO TWP. — Bruckman’s Moving and Storage at 1876 Krouse Road — the only moving company in Shiawassee County — is turning 70 this year.

The company’s owner, Dave Bruckman, is also turning 70. No, he didn’t open the business as an infant, even though he jokes that he did. In fact, he took it over in 1987 from his late father, founder Bill Bruckman, and has been operating it successfully ever since.

“That’s a long time, 70 years,” Dave Bruckman said. “I’m just happy we can keep it going. Everyone — my siblings and the community — are excited about the anniversary.”

Bruckman has seven siblings, but he is the sole owner of Bruckman’s Moving and Storage, where has worked since high school, except for one break. Two of his brothers, Mike and Bill, operate their own trucking firms. No one else was interested in the moving and storage business.

“It was just kind of destined that I was going to end up doing it,” Bruckman said. “I really like the moving business. It kind of gets in your blood. Every day is different, and that never changes. I like dealing with customers.”

His customers like dealing with him, too, according to Trish Phillips, Bruckman’s Moving office manager for 22 years.

“It’s funny how many people call and say they know Dave,” she said. “Everybody knows Dave. Even his customers and employees end up being a friend. Everybody loves him.”

But all good things must end. Bruckman said he’s thinking about retiring, especially now that his supervisor, Jordan Walworth, has expressed a desire to purchase Bruckman’s Moving and Storage and keep it going. Bruckman said he will continue to be involved, but not as much as before.

Like Bruckman, Walworth enjoys the moving business. He’s also crazy about his boss.

“Dave is great. He’ll help you out any way he can, do anything he can for you. He’s an all-around great guy,” Walworth said. “We’re kind of like a big family here. Everybody takes care of everybody.”

Over the years, the seven-member crew at Bruckman’s Moving, which handles mostly residential but some commercial moves, has seen it all. Customers include at least one hoarder a month, Bruckman said.

In a divorce scenario, sometimes the police are standing by as the crew moves furniture into a truck.

Moves to or from Mackinaw Island have always been interesting. Household items have to be loaded onto a barge to the island, then loaded onto a horse-drawn trailer to the house.

“We haven’t done this in about six years, but it was one of the unique things we did,” Bruckman said. “But after the 15th one, the novelty wore off.”

In 1949, Bill Bruckman opened his moving business at 1104 E. Main St. in Owosso, next to the Young car dealership. In 1967, he moved the company to the current Steam Railroading Institute site on Washington Street in Owosso. At the same time, the older Bruckman added a used furniture business.

“My dad liked going out and buying used furniture, and selling it,” Dave Bruckman said. “He liked dickering with people over the price. He was kind of a character, but he taught me how to deal with people and read people.”

Dave Bruckman owned the business for four years before his father died in 1991. Not long afterward, the younger Bruckman closed the furniture store, which he didn’t enjoy as much as his dad, deciding to use the space for storage instead.

In 2000, he built an 8,000-square-foot building for Bruckman’s Moving on Krouse Road in Owosso Township. The facility on Krouse boasts 169 storage units of various sizes, five trailers and three semi-trucks. Bruckman’s employs seven people.

“When I took over in 1987, we were using one worn-out truck,” Bruckman said. “My dad would be shocked to see the new place. He would have thought I was out of mind to build this building.”

But the investment paid off. The moving company’s coverage area is large, including all of Michigan, Florida and any destination east of the Missisippi. The majority of of jobs, however, move people from one place to another within Shiawassee County.

“The community has definitely been good to us,” Bruckman said. “Most people would just as soon use a local mover. I see it as a personal service. One thing about Owosso, people use local as much as they can.”

What’s the biggest change in the moving industry he’s seen over the years?

“It’s the size of the moves,” Bruckman said. “Years ago, trailers were typically 28-feet long, and if you filled a trailer, the people had a lot of stuff. Now, we fill 52-foot trailers all the time. Also, people move more often. Some of our customers have moved five or six times.”

When he retires, Bruckman said he and wife Denise Bruckman will probably continue to spend winters in Naples, where one of their daughters and three of the couple’s sisters live. The Bruckman’s primary home is in Owosso, and they have a place in Indian River.

The Bruckmans have three adult daughters, one granddaughter and a set of twin grandchildren on the way — a boy and girl.

Looking back on his career, “I have no regrets — I’d do it all over again,” Dave Bruckman said. “I have enjoyed being a part of this business. I think it keeps you young.”

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