The Values that Guide Yarnall
When the Vandroff family purchased a moving company in the 1940s in Syracuse, NY, a young Jay Vandroff was initiated into a business that would come to define the family legacy for generations. Today, Yarnall Moving and Storage is an award-winning company that has set the standard in Southwest Florida for professionalism, customer service, and smart growth. In the following Q & A, current Yarnall Companies president Jay Vandroff explores the company’s journey and how it has shaped him.
What are some of your earliest memories in the business?
When I was a little boy, my parents bought me a toy moving truck. They used to sit me down in the office to play while they were buzzing around the facility or handling the grown-up stuff like sales. Of course, the minute I was able to stand on my own and got a little taller, I had to trade in my toy truck for a broom.
How does an early start like that affect your approach to the business?
First and foremost, my parents modeled some really defining values for me as an individual. The fact that they were so hands-on with the business and so willing to incorporate family bonding into the operations taught me that you have to be all in. I think by the time they handed me that broom I already had it in my head that this was our business and not just theirs. It taught me to take ownership of it. But just as important, it taught me that the relationships you make within the business should be built with family values in mind: respect, accountability, honesty, and camaraderie. I think that’s played a big role in our ability to keep our employees for a long time.
Have you always worked with Yarnall?
Surprisingly, no. Obviously, I grew up with Yarnall, but it was important for me to make my own way for a bit to get some work experience that wasn’t in the relatively safe environment of a family business. So, after graduating from college, I started working with a different moving company to see how other folks were doing it. I was close enough to my dad to get the guidance, but far enough away to sink or swim.
What were some lessons you learned?
There might not even be enough space on this webpage to answer that! When you consider that I had grown up in Sarasota and then moved to Syracuse to join this other moving company, there was a big culture shock. Florida had no unions and Sarasota was a really small town. I had to learn a lot about crisis management with personnel, I had to help fix a lot of the broken business processes and relationships. The company I joined had a bad relationship with a lot of the unions in New York. The company also had a lot of broken relationships with vendors, which is a terrible place to be. Without getting too much into detail, this company had established a culture of disrespect with vendors and a very cut-throat organization with employees stepping on each other to get ahead. It taught me how to remain open, honest, and ethical no matter how a conversation is going. I think people respond positively to that and I think that what you sacrifice in the short-term, you make up for with long-term productive business relationships. So, this was a huge learning experience that reaffirmed the values my parents brought to Yarnall and that we’ve maintained today.
Overall, how would you say Yarnall Moving and Storage has shaped you?
I can barely separate the company from me or my family. It’s been an incredibly profound learning experience that has taught me how to communicate with people, how to be true to myself, and how to encourage those around me to be the best version of themselves. It’s all predicated on listening and being open to what others are saying. That was a big driver behind us adding services along the way. Adding senior relocation services is one example. Sarasota has a sizable retirement demographic and lots of them end up transitioning to assisted care facilities. We kept hearing from their children and caretakers that there were unique factors with that transition. So, we succeeded because we listened, and I take the same approach in my personal life. This company is everything to me, and I’ve been so fortunate to have been shaped by it the way that I have.
Moving? We can help.
We pride ourselves on having a loyal, dedicated team of movers. On average, our moving team has been with Yarnall Moving & Storage Solutions for more than 17 years. And over the decades, we have changed with the times and expanded to offer needed services. As problem-solvers, we help customers overcome their unique moving and storage challenges. We’re here to help every step of the way. Learn how.