JK Moving Services wants to move on up

August 12, 2012

Sterling-based JK Moving Services, a 31-year-old mover started by entrepreneur Chuck Kuhn at age 16, is launching a $750,000, five-month multimedia advertising campaign starting Aug. 13 .

The company, with $85 million in revenue, started a rebranding effort a year ago in an effort to become better known.

The company will link radio, print and online ads in an effort to increase its market share.

“Although we have been in business for 31 years and are the third-largest independent-owned moving operator in the country ... we want to get our name out there,” said Kuhn, whose residential business has moved past presidents — think both Bushes and Bill Clinton. “We talk to local customers that use us for local moves, but they don’t know we do international moving. Or we talk to a commercial customers we have serviced for 10 years who don’t know we do residential.”

Kuhn, 47, said he is trying to grow the business, which has been profitable every year, to $100 million annually. The firm has 650 employees and 380 vehicles.

The Buzz hears ...

Troy, Mich.-based Creative Breakthroughs, a computer security company, wants more action in Washington.

The firm has hired Steve Pace to lead a Washington office that is taking aim at all those federal agencies that want to keep their secrets from prying eyes.

“We have just hired four people for the Herndon office and we are looking for a couple more,” said Steve Barone, chief executive and founder. “We are looking to expand the footprint in a big way.”

Pace will head the firm’s new public sector practice group for Barone.

Creative Breakthroughs has 85 employees and plans on being a long-term player in these parts. The firm took over the Air France space in Reston and is looking to extend its lease.

Susan Lacz, chief executive at Bethesda-based caterer Ridgewells, is just back from vacationing with the swells up in the Hamptons and Water Mill in New York and in Kennebunkport, Maine.

“I spent 10 days in the Hamptons and in Water Mill. I was in Water Mill with my high school friends and in Westhampton with a college friend,” said Lacz. “I felt so ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ riding my bike to the beach, with my chair on my back and a bottle of wine and a book.”

The book was “50 Shades of Grey,” which is eclipsing the “Harry Potter” novels as the best-selling paperback of all time.

“I hung out at the American Hotel in the Hamptons and hung out with Christie Brinkley doing yoga,” Lacz said. She saw Richard Gere standing next to her in line at the Very Organic Grocery Store in the Hamptons.

“There is so much money in the Hamptons,” Lacz said.

She spent eight days with family and friends in Kennebunkport at the Hidden Pond resort.

“It’s like camping at The Ritz,” said Lacz, who knows and loves the gracious life. “It’s cottages in the woods. I ate tons of lobster, I paddleboarded, skimboarded, did biking and yoga every day.”

Now it’s back to work.

Peering into the future of business

Former Wootton High School baseball standout Marty Cornish, 25, has become an entrepreneur in the past three years.

Cornish attended Rollins College near Orlando, graduating in 2009 with a degree in psychology and a minor in Spanish.

Now he has two companies, Gaithersburg-based Round Trip Sports, which is his baseball consulting business. He signed a lease for Round Trip to hold baseball clinics in Gaithersburg, starting in late August. Round Trip, which he owns with business partner Paul Poto, was founded in 2009 and is profitable.

He also recently started District-based EasyPaint, an online site that matches painting companies with potential customers.

He saw the online opportunity for EasyPaint after managing a Sherwin-Williams store in Georgetown, where he polished his Spanish while dealing with many Hispanic business owners. He sank $40,000 of his own savings into the start-up and borrowed another $10,000 each from his mother and grandfather, who happens to be Edward Cornish, founder and former president of the World Future Society and founding editor of its magazine, The Futurist.

Marty Cornish is the sole owner of EasyPaint, and is in discussions with potential investors to scale up. His Web site launched in March.

“We’re changing the way paint contracting is done, bringing it all online,” he said.

Factoid of the week

50,000That’s the number of kids participating in Junior Achievement programs in the Washington area during the academic year that ended in June, up from roughly 37,000 in 2010. Over the same period, instructional hours grew significantly, from about 192,000 to 505,000 in this past academic year.

Thomas Heath is a local business reporter and columnist, writing about entrepreneurs and various companies big and small in the Washington Metropolitan area. Previously, he wrote about the business of sports for The Post’s sports section for most of a decade.
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