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Moving through a quarter-century

Profile: For 25 years, Camelot Moving and Storage has served the SCV and some unique clientele

Posted: April 1, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: April 1, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Junior Cibrian, left, and Justin Nichols of Camelot Moving and Storage finish unloading and setting up a tree for the 2010 Festival of Trees, which benefitted the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley. For 25 years, the moving service has catered to the SCV, while also serving a few out-of-towners customers along the way.

 

Celebrating 25 years in business, locally owned and operated Camelot Moving and Storage moves everything from residents’ personal belongings to Siegfried and Roy’s treasured tigers.

Years of cross-country driving for a large mover led Bill Kornfeld and his wife, Carolyn, to start their own moving company in April 1986, so he could spend more time with his family and community. 

Starting the business out of their Newhall home with only a small moving van, the couple opened Camelot Movers. It’s a decision they have never regretted.

Over the years, the Kornfelds have served as guardians of cherished belongings when both moving and storing, as the couple gradually grew the company into Camelot Moving and Storage.

More than 18,000 clients have been served by the local company, which has included multiple generations and families of all sizes.

Customers have included an Olympic gold medalist, a professional basketball player, professional baseball players, golfers, actors and media executives, politicians, businesses, factories, libraries, local school districts, municipalities and military personnel.

Camelot Moving and Storage has also donated services to local charities, including the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley, since 1991. It also has been a regular supporter of the Domestic Violence Center.

Siegfried and Roy
The company’s most unusual moving request for services came in 1991, Kornfeld said. Famed performers Siegfried and Roy needed to transport props and the animals from the Mirage Hotel to a jet waiting in Los Angeles for a special one-time show in Germany.

A former client and veterinarian asked Camelot to transport the entertainment duo’s five white tigers and two jaguars from Las Vegas to Los Angeles International Airport, and then back again 10 days later.

“After modifying a trailer just to move the animals, we picked up the priceless cargo in Las Vegas,” Kornfeld said. 
Siegfried Fischbacher  Roy Horn’s entourage included security, trainers and a veterinarian. Camelot also provided an additional truck as a mechanical backup.

“Both legs of the trip went smoothly, and the animals were returned safely to their home,” Kornfeld said.

Customer dedication
While some moves were certainly more dramatic than others, the company approaches every client and move as unique. Moving people to some place they’ve never lived before is a unique experience, and one that can be a little disconcerting, he said.

“The worst thing we could do would be to go into it with a ‘We’re moving furniture again’ attitude,” Kornfeld said.

Employee Devon Zemp, who has worked with the Kornfelds for about eight years, finds it rewarding to work at Camelot.

“A lot of jobs can be stale. I enjoy getting to do everything — meeting customers, providing estimates, working in the office, driving and packing. People are different,” Zemp said. “There is a new experience every day.”

Kornfeld’s dedication and passion has kept Zemp working for the company all these years. The Kornfelds really care about their employees and do things to help them out, Zemp said.

That dedication has allowed the company to thrive. Critical word-of-mouth referrals keep small businesses going, and 80 percent of Camelot’s business comes from referrals and repeat customers, Kornfeld said.

Local residents
One local resident first used Camelot’s services in 1989 for a residential move. Since then, her children and parents have used Camelot for about eight moves and have used the company’s storage services for about 11 years.

In January, another resident selected Camelot out of the phonebook for an estimate to move her mother-in-law’s possessions from a cabin in the Los Angeles National Forest to a mobile home in Santa Clarita.

Access to the cabin was anything but easy. Movers would have to descend 29 uneven stone steps, walk a dirt path and cross a foot bridge. A bridge to the cabin had flooded and washed out.

Camelot allotted six hours to load the truck, but its movers instead finished within two hours, saving the customer both time and money.

Local real estate agent Sam Heller has used Camelot’s services for about 20 years, Kornfeld said. He’s used the company about 15 times and referred countless other clients. 

Community donations
Donating both moving and storage services, Kornfeld said it has provided support to local community groups, such as the Boys & Girls Club, for the past two decades. Camelot has also worked with the SCV Domestic Violence Center since 2000.

When hurricanes Katrina and Rita left thousands homeless throughout the South, Camelot twice sent a truck and a team to deliver needed supplies in 2005.

Priceless storage
Camelot also provides secure storage for clients at its warehouse in the Valencia Commerce Center on a short-and long-term basis.

The company has stored personal furniture and belongings for clients working as far away as Germany and Italy. It also provides storage for soldiers on active military duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“One fellow had to work overseas,” Kornfeld said. “We stored a beautiful, beautiful motorcycle for him. It was his pride and joy.”

Some customers have to store belongings for years. Other families have designated units for storing holiday decor items for Christmas and Easter, Kornfeld said. Some customers store highly treasured personal collections. 

Camelot’s warehouse is fully alarmed with electronic-surveillance systems and motion-sensor devices. The company has remote Web-based viewing on the premise, and the alarms and motion sensors trigger automatic calls to the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station and Kornfield’s cell phone.

Kornfeld jokes that he knows his warehouse is rodent-free, because the motion sensors are so sensitive any movement by scurrying animals would set off the alarms.

On occasion, storage units are abandoned or forgotten, and the owners of the belongings can no longer be tracked down.
The moving company then complies with requirements for disposal of personal property. Kornfeld said his wife, Carolyn, has appointed herself guardian of mementos valuable only to family members, like family photos.

“She holds onto boxes of photos and goes to the N-th degree to find the owners,” Kornfeld said. 

Anniversary
Twenty-five years later, Camelot Moving and Storage says it is still going strong and still family-owned. Kornfeld credits his team of loyal, hardworking employees, which has included all of the Kornfeld family and then some.

The Kornfelds’ four children have all worked in various avenues of the company, from marketing and graphic design to moving, packing and dispatch. They have also employed nieces, nephews and other family members.

“I think what has kept Camelot successful for 25 years has been working like we live — with compassion. The employees are team players who maintain compassion for others,” Kornfeld said.

“We’ve been together — both staff and clientele — through economic downturns, challenging health issues, weddings, births and even times of mourning.”

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