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Success Fuels Room2Room Movers Expansion Beyond Auburn

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A college move-in experience that students and families are raving about.

It takes more than just a good idea to start a community-based business, let alone build that venture into a flourishing enterprise poised and strategically well-positioned for exponential growth beyond its home base.

But that’s exactly what Brooks Fuller, Auburn Alum (’22 Finance) & Founder of Room2Room Movers, and his team have accomplished since starting out back in March 2020, when as a student, he simply responded to the urgent needs of fellow Auburn University students brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a case of “Auburn people helping Auburn people” that would soon become Room2Room’s secret sauce and basis of their incredible success story.

How It All Began

Students at Auburn were away at spring break when the pandemic abruptly shut down all campus buildings – including dorms – leaving thousands of students locked out and unable to access their belongings. Fuller, however, lived in Auburn, had his truck and easy access to his off-campus apartment, but he knew many Auburn students were not as fortunate and were struggling.

So, Fuller and his family sprang into action, notifying students and their parents via social media that they were ready to help. Requests started pouring in, and the rescue mission was on.

Wearing CDC-approved masks and gloves while diligently following all COVID protocols, they secured access to individual dorm rooms, packed up all requested items and shipped them off to each student’s home. It didn’t matter where – whether across town or all the way to California. And they did it at no charge – all the students had to do was pay the cost of shipping and their items would arrive safely to their front door step.

Great little Auburn Family story, the Auburn Creed in action.

But it gets better – much, much better.

Fast Forward to 2024

The simple gesture of Auburn people helping Auburn people eventually turned into a full-time business. Owning a moving company was never Brooks’ intent back in 2020, in fact he was a baseball player for Auburn University when the initial “COVID clients” came calling. But to his surprise, the people he helped during COVID called back the next year as if he was a business, and he couldn’t tell them no. And to that, a business was born.

Today, Room2RoomMovers is an established, rapidly growing company offering a comprehensive portfolio of turn-key moving and storage services that help Auburn students settle into their new college homes comfortably and stress-free. Over the past four years, Brooks and his team have perfected the process of making the on-campus arrival experience as easy and hassle-free as possible for literally thousands of Auburn students and parents.

In the process, they’ve set a standard of service and performance that can’t be matched. They have a unique business model that hires the crème of the crop student movers and young individuals residing at each university. The type of individuals that parents feel comfortable trusting to assist their daughter or son as they transition into new housing during their college career.

It turns out that’s a compelling and financially viable business model, one born out of semester after semester of hands-on experience learning what students need and how to provide it. What started out as a charitable version of a “side-hustle,” Room2Room has grown into a full-fledged, professionally managed, financially strong business.

Impact Beyond Expectations

Today, Fuller admits that he is often times taken aback somewhat by how valuable his initial move-in service is received. Even he understands that moving is one of the least enjoyable experiences on earth.

“When we first started Room2Room, I wasn’t quite prepared for the overwhelming response from students and their parents,” notes Fuller. “While I knew we were providing a much needed and very practical service for local and out of state students, I quickly came to appreciate how our impact goes way beyond simply moving a few boxes and suitcases.”

Most notably, safety. Parents want to know who is going in and out of their daughter or son’s dorm room or apartment. So, the Room2Room model of “students-moving-students” provides a unique level of reassurance. It also injects such joyful vibes into the memories a family is longing for as they transition their student into college. Interacting with a youthful team of movers alleviates stress, fostering opportunity for an enjoyable campus debut.

According to feedback from Room2Room customers and their parents, Fuller’s team plays an instrumental role in the lives of new and returning students. “Some of the comments from our students’ parents in particular stick in my mind.”

Your movers went out of their way to welcome our daughter into her first home away from home. It really put her mother and I at ease knowing who the two movers were and that she was settled in and already making a few friends in her new Auburn campus community.

My son got his first real taste of the Auburn Family during his tenure as a mover for your company. He enjoyed staying in Auburn during the summer and spent a little too much of his hard earned tip money at shops and restaurants in downtown Auburn.

With such positive feedback, Room2Room found a catalyst for an even greater mission. In addition to the many benefits afforded to parents and students, could Room2Room benefit the university itself?

A New University Partnership Approach

With a diligent and well-documented customer acquisition and services delivery process firmly in place, the company is now setting its sights on a strategic expansion throughout the south and beyond. Fuller has been in initial discussions with administration leadership at a handful of SEC schools in surrounding states to bring their unique, value-added services to these flagship college towns.

As they do, they are launching a university-sponsored partnership model that will catapult their growth even further. This strategy will be an extension of the independent, on-affiliated relationship they’ve been working under in their hometown Auburn.

“As we’ve begun to explore new SEC college town markets, we’ve been amazed at the level of interest and support from the colleges themselves, including their student housing organizations,” says Fuller. “They recognize the value our services provide to their students in an increasingly costly and difficult-to-navigate student housing environment. They see us as helping them differentiate what it means to be a part of their own campus communities.”

“The second thing universities appreciate is the connection to local area businesses – the banks, restaurants, retail stores in these college towns that we can connect their students with on Day-1 of their college career. Room2Room student employees make money on the job to help cover tuition and other day-to-day living expenses. And they spend their day-to-day living expenses in the local communities whereas national movers spend their monies outside the community and in many cases outside the state.”

The Room2Room business model is one that supports a circular economy in which local merchants benefit from students having more disposable income, while the city itself benefits by collecting taxes from a highly successful local business. And importantly, the university gets great PR for a task that no one enjoys. In fact, the Room2Room business model turns a generally negative “move-in” first college experience into a positive one.

The Power of the University Relationship

It is one thing to continue offering students a fundamental, value-added service with no formal relationship or financial support from the university itself. But it is becoming clear to Room2Room management that the formal backing of a university’s administration and student housing operation can dramatically improve the initial on-campus experience for students and their parents.

“The university leaders we have spoken with see the portfolio of services we offer students as a competitive advantage over other schools that students and their parents might be considering,” according to Fuller. “We are exploring relationships with the other SEC schools that encompass a wide range of financial options ranging from discounts to profit sharing to free and/or pre-paid options included in dorm room occupation agreements.”

Now, that’ thinking outside the moving box.

And it’s the kind of thinking that will be required to change the move-in paradigm where it becomes less of a dreaded experience to one that parents and students can actually enjoy.

It Takes a Team

By all means, the kind of success Room2Room is experiencing doesn’t happen overnight, and it doesn’t come without visionary leaders who have the passion and capacity to make things happen. Managing the logistics of a large scale move-in initiative is sufficiently hard where every detail matters.

For these reasons, Fuller has assembled an entrepreneurial minded management team that includes Chief Marketing Officer Merrell Bowden, Chief Financial Officer Mike Hayes, Director of Operations Hunter Weston and Chief of Staff Savanah Morgan who are finalizing plans to enter other SEC college town markets.

And to support their expansion strategy, Room2Room is also benefiting from the wise counsel of their formal Advisory Board:

  • Ward Swift – Chairman and Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Auburn New Venture Accelerator

    With decades of experience marketing to some of the largest customers in the world, Swift brings a wealth of expertise to the Room2Room management team that has already delivered tremendous value, according to Fuller.

  • Kristen Cooper – Solutions Architect, SHL

    Cooper is a talent acquisition and human resources expert advising Room2Room on background checks for all students hired as well as strategies and tactics for managing their rapid growth, which is becoming increasingly critical as they embark on the company’s new market expansion strategy.

  • Kelly Hayes – Member, Siegel, Greenfield & Hayes PLC

    A lawyer specializing in tax planning, M&A and corporate law, Hayes offers critical financial planning advice and counsel any growing company needs for success in today’s increasingly complex business world.

  • Ryan Dunn – Assistant Professor, Auburn University School of Accountancy

    Dunn specializes in advising on tax strategy, warehousing logistics and corporate structure, which are critically important as the company expands operations, services and geographic markets.

  • Andy Hardin, Regional Vice President, SmartBank

    With more than 30 years of experience in the banking industry, Hardin manages and guides clients in achieving their growth goals. His guidance has been crucial as Room2Room secured the financing required for the company’s expansion initiatives.

It’s somewhat of an oxymoron when one speaks of a college move-in experience that students and families are raving about and not raging about. But that’s fast becoming the story of Room2Room Movers.

The essence of business excellence starts by identifying an unmet need and then matching that with a relentless pursuit to deliver on what the customer wants from that exchange. Safety, flexibility, reliability, full-service, and turn-key is what parents and students crave. That’s the reason Room2Room Movers is now being recognized as the premiere college moving service.

We can’t wait to see what they do next.

For more information, visit the Room2Room website or contact Brooks Fuller directly at [email protected]

This story originally appeared on the Auburn University New Venture Accelerator newsroom.