My name is Mike Burzynski, founder and owner of Heritage Moving and Storage, Inc. At Heritage Moving and Storage, we are excited about our company—its establishment in Roanoke, Virginia, and its bright future as we continue to serve our customers in the Roanoke Valley and beyond.

It’s important to look forward, but it’s important to look back and remember your history—how you got started as a company. Our story starts in 1977. It seems like it was only a few months ago. I was in college, playing football and working toward a degree in education. I was excited about my future as a teacher and a coach. The football season was wrapping up, and my teammate, Tim Cook, asked me if I wanted to work weekends with him for his family moving business. I agreed.

The day of my first move was a Saturday morning. The sky was clear, and the sun was just starting to rise. It looked like a beautiful, warm day, but one step outside and you realized it was still January and only about 20 degrees—typical for a West Virginia winter. Tim and I were supposed to be at the office at 8:00am. He picked me up at 6:30am, and we started the 1-hour-and-15-minute drive. Tim was always on time.

When we got to the office, I met Lou Stiverson, Tim’s brother-in-law and the owner of Cook Transfer Co., a Washington D.C.-based moving-and-storage company. Tim’s father, W.G. Cook, started the company in 1946. They started out doing deliveries for Sears and few other department stores. The company was handed down to Lou in 1974.

My first day went off without a hitch. I worked as part of a team of others following orders. Surprisingly I liked the work and the people I worked with. I got back to the office later that day and collected my pay—$3.50 per hour.

For the next two years, I worked most weekends and all of my summers doing local and long-distance moves. Tim graduated from college a year before me, and he and a friend started their own moving-and-storage business, Tyson’s Transfer. Tim paid me $3.75 per hour to help with his moves, so he often stole me away from Lou because I could make money a little faster with Tim. Tim taught me everything he knew, which was a lot, since he had been working in the family business since he was 8 years old.

During those two years, I learned and honed the craft of full-service packing and moving. This was the beginning of my career in the moving-and-storage business.