With the area’s economy inextricably linked to Fort Hood, several local entities stand to profit exponentially from the ebb and flow of soldiers — namely, the 14 moving companies in Central Texas.
Shapkoff Moving Services, located just off U.S. Highway 190 between Harker Heights and Nolanville, sees about 80 percent of its yearly revenue between May and September. Eighty percent of that revenue is related to Fort Hood, said Joe Baldwin, executive vice president of Shapkoff Moving Services.
Baldwin estimated that the company moved 1,300 families in and out of Fort Hood during 2013 alone, which generated about $2.5 million.
“Some of that stays in the local economy, some of it doesn’t,” Baldwin said, adding that companies in other parts of the country may also provide services, such as storage. “But there is a significant revenue stream.”
Summer is peak time for military moves — children of military parents typically move between six to nine times in their 12-year school career.
Fort Hood’s economic impact to Texas
is valued at $44.49 billion, according to the state comptroller’s office.
When it was time for Sgt. Janine Pitts, her husband and 2-month-old son to relocate, the only packing she had to do involved items that would not be accompanying her on the move.
Fort Hood saw to the rest — including packing, moving service arrangements, and storage, both temporary and non-temporary.
“They do everything,” Pitts said. “It saves you a lot of work and money.”
Companies like Shapkoff Moving Services assist with international moves, as well as local and long-distance relocations, Baldwin said.
Once the soldier receives his or her orders, the Fort Hood Transportation Office places a service order out for a carrier. After accepting the order and entering the Army’s system, the office accepts the carrier and finds a local agent to facilitate the move. Once a pre-move service is completed, companies like Shapkoff Moving Services packs up and picks up the items at the soldier’s home and places them in sealed containers.
“With 14 moving companies in the Central Texas area, there is a significant economic impact,” Baldwin said.
A NEED FOR FURNITURE
The summer months can be a challenging time for local furniture stores. But, a customer base that is roughly 90 percent military keeps business at Ashley Furniture steady during the months when school is out.
“It’s always a welcoming thing to have new people that are coming to our area, because it does make a difference in our business,” said owner Sandra Skinner. “Almost everybody that we do business with is associated with the military. The summer is always challenging, but it helps things stay a little more constant.”
John Crutchfield, president and CEO of the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce, said that while the fluid nature of the military does have an impact on the various markets, the community’s ability to adapt has mitigated that impact.
“They all have different cycles, so it tends to level out the effect of any one thing happening,” Crutchfield said.
“It’s something the community accommodates, and I don’t know that you could even see it in the economic indicators in the community.”