My company, Trash Transporter, has been serving the greater Kitsap community for more than a decade, offering professional, quality junk removal and hauling services to both residential and commercial customers. We are the true definition of what it means to be locally owned and operated. We live in the community we serve. And we understand the unique characteristics and considerations of living in our one-of-a-kind community… especially in times like these.
In the case of Trash Transporter, we’re very lucky that we have 10+ years of repeat customers and a business that allows us to keep 6+ feet away from others and deal mainly with a very small group of people at a time.
We started our company in 2009, right after the massive crash of 2008, which taught me a great deal. For one: run lean. I saw dozens of businesses go under, mainly due to aggressive expansion and overextending themselves. Now, we’re tightening our belt and running lean again, as everything unfolds. We want to make only critical purchases and rely on cash, not credit.
As economic growth slows, we are focusing more internally than externally, coupled with a heavy dose of self-awareness. What do my current or past clients need? What do my employees need? What area(s) of my business have I been possibly neglecting that could use some fine-tuning? What tasks or projects have I been putting off?
We’re also offering discounts to clients who prepay for a project or move a project forward, earlier than planned. The client saves on costs, while we are able to maintain a steady work flow and generate revenue. It’s a win-win.
Above all else, awareness of the current environment is crucial. We’re thinking about any new needs that may arise from this situation. Are people going to need more things delivered due to self- isolation? We have the logistics in place to meet that need. Should we explore this? In fact, we’re in the process of rolling out a free delivery program for heavy or bulk items to the public that are on our normal work routes.
Are people going to be doing more clean up and organization now they are spending more time at home? We’ve felt this first-hand already. How can we better serve them?
If you’re a restaurant, no longer allowed to operate as per usual, how are you positioned to be of service in a different way? You’re already licensed and insured to handle the public’s food: why not deliver groceries along with your normal cuisine? Maybe throw in a puzzle or other activity while delivering to boost people’s spirits.
Business is about solving problems and providing value. Adaptability is a massive part of that.
I have to believe that there are positives in all of this, too.
The greatest thing we may gain from the COVID19 crisis is perspective. Perspective is priceless, and often it’s only through difficult times, challenges and adversity that we’re able to gain the invaluable perspective of knowing what it truly means when times are good.
Here are three ways in which I believe our experience with COVID19 is changing our society for the better:
We will come to more deeply appreciate the power of small business.
We are so fortunate to live in a community that is extremely local-oriented and supports local business. Through these times, I believe our region will have an even greater understanding of the potent two-way street that exists between our community and small business.
Where the we choose to spend our hard-earned dollars is powerful. Our spending choices have far more of an impact than many realize—something that is becoming even more apparent as some businesses are forced to close their doors. Local businesses are more agile, adaptable, and closer to the issues at hand and specific needs of our community. This is our collective superpower, and the time to leverage it is now.
It’s local businesses that are best positioned to bring positive change and support through these difficult times. Not to mention, local business owners are your neighbors. We have a direct and legitimate stake in the well-being of our area. We live here. We have families here. The further we go away from local, the slower the reaction time, the less creative the solutions, and the harder it is to implement change and support when and where our community needs it most.
Take Caffe Cocina in Poulsbo, for example. In a matter of only a day or two, along with local volunteers, they were able to put together the NK Kids Lunch Brigade, providing free food for kids that rely on free lunch at school and have been forced out due to the shut down for the next month or so.
Can you imagine how much red-tape, bureaucracy, and discussion would need to take place for large corporate food chain ‘X’ to put something like this into place? Or, better yet, the federal government, an organization that oversees more than 330 million people? Only local businesses can be so quick, creative, and accommodating.
The relationship between small businesses and the community is far more powerful than many realize. If there’s one positive to be gleaned from this terrible public health crisis, it will be our collective reminder of how important it is for small businesses and the community to take care of each other.
We will remember what’s really important in life: the people we love.
One of the most important things this world has to offer is meaningful relationships. With the usual riff-raff of the day-to-day, it’s easy to lose sight of this.
We have all these goals and tasks… it’s so easy to get caught up in the momentum of work and life. As the Stay-At-Home Order has gone into effect and our gathering places shut down, we are inside more, giving us the privilege of spending more time with those closest to us.
We could lose everything: our job, our business, our car, our house. It is those around us that will remain. It is the people in our lives that give us meaning and fulfillment. I believe our experience with COVID19 and its far reaching impact will help us slow down and remember what’s truly important in life.
Our sense of collective humanity is being restored.
In the internet age and times of social media—tools that were intended to bring us together—I believe we are more disconnected and polarized than ever.
Thanks to COVID19, however, we’re facing a common foe in every corner of the globe. It’s banding us together and uniting us. When we are forced to contend with a common enemy, threat, or catastrophe it becomes gravely apparent we are humans first and everything else falls by the wayside: our belief systems, race, political affiliations, gender, nationality.
Remember how united we were as a country following 9/11? I’ve never seen so many American flags in my entire life. I’m hoping this same sense of shared purpose and deeply engrained need to care for one another will take lasting root on a local and global scale.
Dire times serve as a stark reminder that we our shared humanity supersedes all else, and THAT is a very good thing.
ABOUT RYAN DENNY
Vibe member Ryan Denny is a native of Rhode Island and has been a Kitsap resident for two decades. He owns Trash Transporter, a Poulsbo-based junk removal company that provides both residential and commercial services throughout Kitsap County. Since opening in 2009, Trash Transporter has donated or recycled millions of pounds of “junk” with a combined total of more than 600,000 pounds last year alone. In addition to his work, Ryan is a member of three local Chambers of Commerce, the Kitsap Building Association, and the Kitsap Realtor Association.