Greensboro's Careful with the China finds niche with downsizing seniors

Laura Melvin, move manager for Greensboro's Careful with the China. 

Laura Melvin, move manager for Greensboro's Careful with the China. 

A version of this article also appeared in the Triad Business Journal

About seven years ago, Laura Melvin’s husband, Jimbo, suggested she help an elderly next-door neighbor who was planning a move. It was during the worst of the economic downturn and Melvin, now 34, a graduate of Ragsdale High School and Coastal Carolina University, had been laid off from her job in the furniture industry. She had some time on her hands.

What Melvin learned from helping her neighbor figure out what to do with her belongings was that she enjoyed the task. And she was good at it.

“I got so much fulfillment and joy out of helping,” Melvin said.

She’s parlayed the experience into a new business and career. Melvin is “move manager” for Careful with the China, a move-management company she founded in Greensboro that assists clients in all aspects of moving, from planning, to packing, to setting up new homes. Since 2011, Melvin and her staff have completed more than 125 moving jobs across the Triad as well as to other parts of the state.

Careful with the China’s specialty is helping senior adults who are downsizing or moving into retirement homes, but the company works with those of all ages.

Melvin’s business isn’t about just packing people’s belongings and moving them from Point A to Point B. It’s also about helping them sort through their belongings, she said, figuring out what items need to be let go of, then helping them decide how to best dispose of them. If items have to be sold, Melvin knows individuals involved in estate sales and other lines of work who see that her clients get top dollar.

It’s a booming business, Melvin said, and is expected to keep growing as more and more members of the Baby Boomer generation age to senior citizen status. Melvin answered a few questions about her work.

Why is Careful with the China growing so popular? 

There’s a huge generation that’s coming to the age of downsizing. They don’t need the space anymore. They’re looking to downsize and get rid of items they no longer need.

But it’s not just older people you work with? 

No, we work with plenty of others. Some are people with busy careers. Some are going through divorces. Some have unexpected life changes that require a move. There are any number of reasons they might call us.

How do you describe the work your company does? 

We help people pack, move and downsize. But there’s a lot more to it than that. We also help them sort and sell. We’re a lot more than just packers and movers. We do specialized services.

How’d you come up with the name Careful with the China? 

My mother (Nancy Stafford) helped with that. It describes what we do. We help a generation with their fragile, delicate, special belongings.

How does the price of your service compare to that of a traditional mover?

It’s a luxury service. The cost is more to have a specialized team do the work.

What’s the best thing about your work? 

These people we work with become like our friends at the end. There’s such a feeling of satisfaction that comes from assisting those who need our help.


To learn how Careful with the China can help you with your next move, please contact