UPDATED — Get A Move On owner Paul Wells filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy for his business about a week ago, but a lot has changed since then.
Wells now plans to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy personally, because he guaranteed the loan on his office, and start a new company to franchise the business. Current employee Eric Kimler is the first franchisee.
Wells says a lot happened to lead him to this decision.
“There’s a long story behind that.”
Wells says issues started at his almost 20-year-old company in 2003 when he settled a trademark infringement lawsuit over the name of his moving company, Two Guys and A Truck, with the national company Two Men & A Truck. He changed his company’s name to Get A Move On.
“To this date we still get phone calls,” Wells says of people looking for Two Guys and A Truck.
Then, Two Men & A Truck entered the Wichita market.
“They really capitalized on our past name when they came here,” Wells says.
Another new competitor opened as well.
Wells says with new competitors, “somebody’s going to lose.”
Then the recession and housing market crash hit. Wells says sales went down about 40 percent.
“We weren’t doing so hot financially.”
Then Wells says his bank notified him that his balloon payment on his mortgage was due. He thought it could be delayed and was surprised by what he suddenly owed.
“The funny thing is I’ve been doing business with (the bank) for 18 years,” Wells says.
He says he purchased 15 trucks and two buildings and never missed a payment or was late on one before the balloon payment was due.
Wells says the bank foreclosed on his building at 520 N. Washington, where the business will still be through April.
“I couldn’t find financing from any other source.”
He adds, “Everybody but (the bank) is going to get paid.”
Wells says he’s been planning a bankruptcy for some time.
“I was shocked,” Kimler says. “I mean, I’ve been there 11 years. I didn’t want to see the place fold up.”
So he started discussing taking over the business.
“I’ve always had aspirations … of owning my own company,” Kimler says.
“It never occurred to me that somebody would buy it,” Wells says. “Then we evolved into a franchise agreement.”
He says he’ll start a new business to franchise Get A Move On.
“The name will continue on.”
Kimler says he’ll decrease overhead and try to manage things more efficiently. He’s not sure where he’s going to move the business yet.
“I’m basically going to stay on as a consultant to him,” Wells says.
He says it’s time to not be the one running the company day-to-day anymore.
“I figure I’ve done it for 18 years,” Well says. “Like when you raise a kid for 18 years, it comes time to let it go.”