Sophomores Jay Cummings, Chad VanderZee, Hunter Roberts and Jayden Newbury turned a business idea they had one night at the beginning of the semester into a reality.
Before APU Shakers was formed, the four friends and roommates sat in the jacuzzi brainstorming ways they could make money that would allow them to accomplish all the things they needed to do amidst their busy schedules. Thus, the APU Shakers Moving Co. was born.
“We wanted to do something with flexible hours that we could all do together, and I came up with the idea that we should just sell couches because everyone at APU needs a couch,” youth ministry major Jay Cummings said.
Cummings explained that they find couches around Azusa or buy them for an inexpensive price, then clean and fix them up before putting them up for sale.
He went on to say that many students will raid thrift stores for inexpensive furniture since college students may not have the funds to buy a brand new couch that may be near $100, leaving students with scarce options when stores may not have the selection of furniture they need. Cummings explained that they sell couches as low as $20, with an average price of $50 to $60.
Their main source of income comes from selling couches and delivering them, but they are also available as a full moving service if students without a truck need to move furniture.
Their idea became a reality when they realized their small business was gaining recognition from students around campus.
“It started to take off when we started to realize how high the demand was for couches,” Cummings said. “When [students] are coming from out of state or getting a new apartment, getting a couch is one of the hardest things to do.”
Since the Shakers live in Alosta Place and have their own garage, they utilize that space when they are fully stocked on couches to hold open houses for students.
Applied exercise science major Chad VanderZee is in charge of selling the couches and overseeing finances. He posts all the couches on pages such as Craigslist and the APU Buy and Sell Facebook page along with negotiating prices with customers.
VanderZee explained how being roommates and friends has helped the process of resolving issues when they arise.
“Being close allows us to be open with each other, quickly address issues and solve them,” VanderZee said.
VanderZee’s favorite part of being a Shaker is spending time with his roommates, and making it a fun experience by doing crazy things to make the company known around campus. One of the things the Shakers have done to receive notice is record an Instagram video of them slicing open a watermelon to imitate “Fruit Ninja,” with the remains being splashed all over a white couch that they have put on sale for $20.
“I think it’s hilarious when people come up to me and recognize me as an APU Shaker but don’t even know my name,” he said.
Biology major Hunter Roberts, head of transportation and owner of the company’s truck gave insight to a few goals they hope to accomplish.
“Our main goal is to continue to expand our business and sell merchandise,” Roberts said. “Some specific goals are to break 1,000 followers on Instagram, buy a U-Haul truck, open a furniture store as well as graduate from APU and become full time Shakers––watch out Ikea.”
Roberts’s favorite part of the job has been seeing how many couches they can fit in the bed of his truck all at once, with the record being four.
Freshman nursing major Kenny Ledesma was in need of a couch for his Smith dorm room. After seeing their listings on APU’s Buy and Sell Facebook page, Ledesma found the Shakers on Instagram and contacted them for a couch.
“I bought a small brown leather couch,” Ledesma said. “The experience was really good and they made it really easy. They came on time and carried the couch straight to the room.”
Ledesma said he would recommend APU Shakers to other buyers because of their affordable prices, selection of couches and delivery services.
Freshman business management major Andres Plascencia, another customer, explained his consumer experience with the Shakers.
“I got in contact with [Cummings] and he was super flexible,” Plascencia said. “He offered for me to come over to his apartment whenever I could so I could see the couches, and measure them to see if they would fit in my room.”
Plascensia said he was shocked at the prices of their couches because he expected them to be over $80.
“The prices are student affordable,” he said.
Plascensia shared that he went over to their apartment about three times before buying the couch to do measurements to make sure it would fit in his dorm room. Complimenting on the Shakers’s customer service, he said they take a picture with each customer and their new couch, then follow up with buyers a few days later to make sure they are satisfied with their purchase.
To buy a couch or access the APU Shakers moving services, follow them on Instagram @apushakers and also see their listings on the Buy and Sell Facebook page.