Business slows to a crawl for South LA movers

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One barometer of the times we're in is who's moving and why. KPCC's Brian Watt got an inside take from two professional movers in South Los Angeles.

Brian Watt: Not long ago, Stevie Hodge made his first visit ever to a Crenshaw Boulevard soul food eatery that's been open for 20 years. He passes the place a lot, but he didn't used to have time to wait in the long lines outside. Plus...

Stevie Hodge: I don't eat out a lot. Yeah. 'Cause you save money by going to the grocery store.

Watt: He needs to save money right now, and the restaurant was offering every item on its menu for 99 cents. That made the line even longer, but on this day Hodge had time to wait. He goes by "Mr. Stevie" on his business card – a mover with a truck. His business partner, Tyrone Curry, said business is slow.

Tyrone Curry: It's a depression for real, you know it. Nothing's going on.
Watt: Well, I mean, are you guys like spending three or four days without moving anything?
Curry: Maybe four or five days sometimes.
Watt: Really? When you guys take on a project, is it an office? Or is somebody changing homes?
Curry: Homes. People are moving out their homes. They're losing them.
Watt: Have you actually had to move some people out of homes that have uh–
Curry: Thousands.
Watt: Thousands?
Curry: Thousands. Yeah. That happens a lot, right now. For the last couple of years for sure.
Hodge: Then, the price that we quote, since they're going through hard times, we have to bring it down a little bit. So that hurts us, too.

Watt: Curry and Hodge said that before the economic downturn, they could earn $250 a day on a move. Lately, they've worked for as little as 50 bucks a man – just to help someone clear out of their home.