Suzy’s Business is a Moving Experience
Suzy Smith received plenty of experience at packing, unpacking and reorganizing as an Army brat. She moved eight times by the time she was 18 years old, following her father, a U.S. Army colonel, from job assignment to job assignment.
So it should be of little surprise that she would make a career out of helping others move, downsize and organize.
“Packing and unpacking was my favorite thing to do when I was young,” she says. “I loved helping my mom decorate the homes and put everything together.”
Smith parlayed that background with a career as a buyer for large department stores and shop owner into launching Suzy’s Helping Hands in 2006, with the goal of helping primarily seniors and baby boomers work through the life-altering transition of downsizing or moving to assisted living.
Today, Suzy’s Helping Hands is a one-stop, full-service relocation service in Columbus, Ohio, that specializes in home sales and moving; downsizing and liquidation; and professional organizing. Her 10-person team works with 25 service affiliates ranging from moving companies to resale furniture stores to auction houses, realtors and cleaning services. The company now serves more than 150 clients a year. Some downsize to a condo. Some move from their home to independent living. Others move into assisted living or memory care facilities.
Out of high school, Suzy Smith joined Hess’s Department Store in Allentown, Pa., selling men’s apparel, and went on to spend 20 years there as a buyer and merchandising manager in women’s wear. She came to Columbus in 1984 to work for the old downtown Madison’s Department Store as the women’s merchandising manager and buyer. She opened her own women’s wear store with New York investors, Shop With Suzy, in 1994 and, though it closed eight years later, it enabled her to “meet a lot of people who helped me get started with Suzy’s Helping Hands.”
Suzy was then cleaning and organizing houses weekly when she sat down to pray. “I wrote down what I loved to do. I loved to decorate, I loved to organize closets — I had been a wardrobe consultant — and most important was I loved to provide, serve and take care of people,” she explains.
In 2007, Smith found herself helping care for a 92-year-old woman, a relationship that lasted four years. Suzy transported her to a care center each day and stayed overnight with her two nights a week. Then, in 2008, she helped a judge and his wife move into independent living at Friendship Village in Columbus.
Those experiences, Suzy says, opened the door to realize how much she enjoyed working with seniors. “And then I started to grow the business, hiring employees. It wasn’t the result of anything I learned earning an MBA degree in business, it just happened … with a lot of ingenuity, patience and prayer.”
Smith says her younger days living in Germany and visiting the Berlin Wall and East Berlin and living through the Vietnam War with her father helped shape her compassion for and willingness to help the less fortunate. It was when she visited her father as a patient at the Veteran Administration’s Walter Reed Hospital that Suzy observed first-hand the ravages of the Vietnam conflict. She notes that she has had the privilege and honor to serve some of the veterans from that era, along with those who served in other times.
“Our staff is superb and very dedicated to each one of our clients, and very compassionate of each of our clients,” Suzy says. “We’re dedicated to helping them from beginning to end and leaving no stone left unturned.”