CEDAR FALLS | As a military wife, Kerri Shimp is familiar with the drudgery of filling cardboard boxes and moving from place to place. However, as a University of Northern Iowa alumna with a counseling degree, Shimp said she's also familiar with the heartache moving out of a home can conjure.
So last year, the Cedar Valley resident decided to combine her moving talents and empathy by opening Caring Transitions of Northeast Iowa, a Cedar Falls business aimed at assisting people through transitions and relocations in their lives.
"I've wanted to own my own company, and the concept was already there, so when I found it, it made perfect sense to me," Shimp said.
As part of the Caring Transitions franchise, Shimp's business is one of 125 in the nation.
Last year, Caring Transitions of Northeast Iowa saw 25 different clients. Shimp said her services vary from helping someone move after a divorce to assisting seniors out of their houses into smaller retirement or assisted living homes.
"We're so grateful that Kerri has her business, and her team just did a great job for us," said Mary Meier of Des Moines.
Meier's mother, Mary Ellen Meier, 89, of Cedar Falls, was transitioning from her home into an assisted living apartment. Her daughter called upon Shimp's business to help liquidate unnecessary items and make the move as smooth as possible for her mother this last summer.
"There were things that we were going to throw out that she sold," Meier said. "I'm not a garage sale person myself, so I knew no price to put on things and she did a great job."
Shimp said her services assist seniors and families from start to finish. After a free consultation, Shimp can help clients sort through belongings, sell unnecessary items through an online or physical estate sale and package things for easy transportation.
Additionally, clients are able to pay Shimp through the items they liquidate.
"When we have a liquidation, we have to keep in mind we are hired through the family and a client, and our job is to treat their things with respect," Shimp said. "It can get tricky and a lot of times, you just have someone and listen to what they have to say and understand what they're going through."
Transitioning isn't always easy. Though she's grown from a staff of two to 10 this last year, Shimp said assisting people move, especially when they have lost a loved one, takes time and consideration. Additionally, moving and transition time depends on the size of the house.
"You have to have a lot of patience, because there is much more emotional attachment for the family members," Shimp said.
In the future, Shimp hopes her clientele will double, especially with the growing aging population in Iowa and the constant movement of young professionals and families. She plans on increasing marketing and getting her name out in Northeast Iowa to help with business.