Mahwah Businesswoman Becomes Unexpected Role Model
Widow said she never envisioned herself as an entrepreneur in a male-dominated industry
Meeting Cindy Myer today, you’d probably think she was born and raised in the moving industry. She is the owner and operator of the Mahwah-based Ridgewood Moving Services, is an active member of the Mahwah Regional Chamber of Commerce, and an executive board member of the New Jersey Warehouseman and Movers Association.
Myer is even a member of and guest speaker at many women-in-business groups that act as an inspiration and a resource for female entrepreneurs across the country, especially those, like herself, that work in what she calls “male-dominated” industries.
But, according to Myer, this is not the life she envisioned herself living.
The Ridgewood native worked in the fashion industry before meeting and marrying Rob Myer in the 1980’s. His family had owned and operated Ridgewood Moving since the 1960’s.
When the couple’s two daughters, Melissa and Samantha, were born in 1988 and 1990, Cindy became a full-time mom, and active member of her kids’ PTAs, Boards of Education, religious education classes and girl scout troops. While her husband was running the business, Myer said she “never really got involved with the moving company.”
When Rob died unexpectedly from a heart attack in 2005, Cindy was presented with several challenges she said she wasn’t ready for – coping with her own and her daughters’ grief, being both a mother and father to both of her kids, and taking over a business she knew nothing about.
“I didn’t have time to feel sorry for myself, Myer said. “I had to be a role model for my girls.”
When she took over the business, Myer said it was “really hard for the first few years,” because she lacked a professional support system. “It wasn’t rosy in the beginning for some of our old employees to suddenly start working for a woman who hadn’t been involved before,” she said.
It took a few years for Myer to get “empowered” when it came to dealing with her employees. She had a “standoff” with an employee who was using Ridgewood trucks and equipment to carry out independent jobs. “Standing up to him gave me courage and strength,” she said. “From there, I was able to build up a business and life full of people who supported me and who took pride in what we do and in the service we provide.”
In a twist that surprised even her, Myer said giving the male-run operation a female touch actually set her business apart from other mving companies in the industry. "There's a personal feel here, all of the personalities who work here or are clients here are important."
Now, with seven years of running the business under her belt, Myer says it has opened her up to doing things she never thought she would.
The businesswoman has found causes she cares about, like helping senior citizens and their families transition to different living arrangements, creating business-to-business connections, and mentoring other female entrepreneurs.
“All of it – running a seminar for seniors, or speaking with women leaders and helping connect them with my business supporters – it’s all become an important part of what I do,” Myer said. “And, I actually love what I do. Knowing I can provide good service to people who need it, and help others along the way, is inspiring to me.”