Interview with James Lopez – WESST Donor and Owner of ABQ Apartment Movers
By Katie Knipe | February 11, 2021
We are so grateful to WESST’s wonderful community of supporters, from our generous individual, foundation and corporate donors to our in-kind donors who support WESST with their time, talents, and services. James Lopez is a dedicated in-kind supporter who has been a member of the WESST family for over a decade. His business, Albuquerque Apartment Movers, has been around for 15 years and to date, has over 3,000 completed jobs and over 1,500 5-star reviews. James took some time to share more about his company and why he’s such a proud supporter of WESST.
What inspired you to start your own business? “I was a finance manager in Phoenix, AZ and a friend of mine bought a moving company. At one point he asked me to help him get everything in order and I said absolutely! Within a year, I owned the company, and eventually I sold it and moved to Las Vegas, NV and started another one. Within two years I sold that and moved back to Albuquerque, NM. At that point I decided to start a moving company here to see how it would work out.”
How did you get involved with WESST? “I signed up with U-Haul on their “Moving Help” subcontractor service, placed an ad in the paper and did some advertising. My very first move was with a gentleman named Doug Lee! After moving Doug, he asked if I would give him a bid and help move WESST from PNM to the current location.”
Doug Lee was an integral member of the WESST team for many years. He was the WESST Enterprise Center Director and helped hundreds of startup companies find their way before he passed away in 2012. “It all started with Doug Lee,” James told us – hundreds of other small businesses can say the same thing!
James has been part of the WESST family ever since. “There’s always some kind of benefit in the WESST Atrium. I always bring the stages out when something is going on and help move the furniture around for events. I’ve moved businesses in and out of the WEC and anytime someone gives a large donation, we pick it up.”
What inspires you to continue supporting WESST as a donor? “Commitment!” James donated 100% of his services in 2019 and we are so appreciative of his commitment to our mission to support other small businesses like his own.
To help the entrepreneurs out there, we asked James if he thought there was one important lesson other small business owners need to learn. He told us, “Don’t run yourself out of business by growing your business too fast. I’ve seen so many people who have started a business and said that if I get a loan, I can do this or buy that, and suddenly they get bigger and do more business but are making less money. Or they end up losing money! If you grow too fast, quality can drop and if quality drops, Albuquerque is a small town so that can get around quick.”
We asked what sets his business apart and he said that he’s found “in Albuquerque, there are a lot of companies that truly have the “land of mañana” attitude. When people ask how my business grew so fast, my answer is that I showed up. It is that simple.”
We are so grateful that James showed up to help WESST move into the WESST Enterprise Center and for his enduring commitment to WESST’s mission. Thank you, James, for being such an important part of the WESST family and for being such a strong example for other entrepreneurs!
About the Author
Katie Knipe hails from Kingsport, TN and has worked in nonprofit management and arts administration for the past decade. She has dedicated her career to fundraising for organizations whose missions fuel her fire, including those who promote classical music performance and who serve people experiencing homelessness.