It’s something that Donna Snow still hasn’t gotten used to.
She and her sister Toni suddenly have a legion of fans.
People recognize them in the aisles of the local Home Depot or Wal-Mart, or while having a meal in a restaurant. They gush over the ladies and ask them to pose for photos that they can post on Facebook.
Who knew that the house-moving business, of all careers, could be a ticket to stardom?
One time a couple vacationing in Fort Worth made a special side trip to the nearby office of H.D. Snow & Son House Moving, just to meet the “Snow Sisters” and to snap group selfies with them.
“They told us the reason they chose to come see their family in Fort Worth was so they could also drive over to meet us,” Donna says. “I said, ‘That’s very humbling. Where are y’all from?’ and they said, ‘Long Beach, California.’ Wow! That’s a long way!”
It’s been the same unlikely story for Randy Martin of Azle and for Cody and Suzi Slay, a husband-and-wife duo from Rendon.
They’re all getting 15 minutes of fame — and then some — as the stars of Texas Flip N Move, a one-of-a-kind TV series that begins its second season at 8 p.m. Friday on DIY Network.
There are myriad house renovation and remodeling shows on the airwaves, but Texas Flip N Move is decidedly different from the pack.
In this show, three teams of friendly business rivals go to communities all around the Fort Worth area, where construction is booming, and buy up old and unwanted homes for pennies on the dollar.
Then they lift entire buildings onto the backs of flatbed trucks and haul them away to a location outside Rhome, in Wise County, where they subject the houses to extreme makeovers, turning eyesores into elegant living spaces that are sold in auction for sweet profits.
They’re like, ‘Wait, I must have heard that wrong. I think you said you pick the whole house up and carry it away.’
Cody Slay, one half of the husband-and-wife remodeling duo ‘The Young Guns’
Joel Rizor, the executive producer and show runner of Texas Flip N Move, says the production company considered locations all over the country. Fort Worth won because of its vibrant house-moving and refurb business and because of the colorful personalities it was able to cast.
“We were so fortunate that we were able to find people with so much incredible talent and natural charisma,” Rizor says of the Snows, Martin (the “Lone Wolf”) and the Slays (the “Young Guns”). “They’re the real deal. The way that they are on TV is the way they are in real life. We don’t make them act. We don’t make them do anything. When we met them, we recognized immediately how special they were.”
During a break from shooting last week, the cast members sat down for a group interview in the Texas Flip N Move production offices, which occupy a repurposed church off U.S. 287 outside Rhome.
There are many reasons that viewers are taken with this show.
It’s fun to watch the teams buy dilapidated old buildings for as little as $350, fix them up and then flip them for five-figure price tags.
House movers were green before being green was cool.
Geronimo “Randy” Martin III, aka ‘The Lone Wolf’
Viewers also can soak up imaginative yet affordable renovation and decorating ideas — it’s refreshing to see a kitchen remodel, for example, that doesn’t cost $60,000.
And the good-natured banter among the stars is always quite entertaining.
But the main attraction is everything that happens on house-moving day.
“It’s fun to watch people’s reactions when we describe what we do,” Cody Slay says. “The look on their face is priceless. They’re like, ‘Wait, I must have heard that wrong. I think you said you pick the whole house up and carry it away.’
“Then they think we must be talking about a mobile home, because a real house, on a slab, somebody couldn’t possibly pick that up in one piece and take it away, right? But that’s what we do.”
It’s a sight that never gets old: an entire house raised up and delicately balanced on a flatbed trailer, the truck driver then navigating through an obstacle course of low-hanging trees, overhead cables and highway overpasses.
And it’s not just houses that these guys take from Point A to Point B.
“It’s all kinds of buildings that you can preserve,” Toni Snow says. “We also move school buildings for school districts. We move historical buildings. We’ve saved railroad depots.”
In a very real sense, Rizor says, Texas Flip N Move is “the ultimate recycling show.”
The mover/designer/flippers go to places throughout the area — Mansfield, Roanoke, Lake Worth, Colleyville, Haslet, Weatherford — where new neighborhoods, businesses and highways are being built, and they make the soon-to-be-disposed-of old structures usable and desirable again.
“We’ve got a motto in the house-moving business,” Martin says. “Move a house, save a tree.”
Actually, they’re saving an entire copse of trees — not to mention keeping the refurbished house from taking up space in an area landfill.
The Lone Wolf puts it this way: “House movers were green before being green was cool.”
Texas Flip N Move
▪ 8 p.m. Friday
▪ DIY Network
Meet the movers
The Snow Sisters: Donna and Toni Snow are third-generation house movers. Their grandfather started C.A. Snow House Moving in Weatherford in 1942. Their father, H.D. Snow — who’s still moving houses at age 81 and who also appears in Texas Flip N Move episodes — started his company in 1966. Gary, the “Son” of H.D. Snow & Son, also appears on the show. “It truly is a family business,” Donna says. Snow & Son has been in business so long that the company has actually moved some structures more than once over the years.
Donna likes to tell the story of the time H.D. cut a large duplex home in half, right down the middle along the firewall, and moved it in two trips. “A guy saw the truck moving down the road, came up and said, ‘Dude, where’s the other half of the house?’ Daddy said, ‘Sir, it was a divorce and the wife got half of everything.’ And the guy said, ‘Cool!’ and drove off before Daddy could tell him he was just kidding.”
While H.D. and Gary do the heavy lifting, Donna and Toni are the ones who recognized the potential in remodeling and flipping banged-up old buildings. With their eye for homey Texas design and their renovation know-how, they’re making good money turning trash into treasure.
The Lone Wolf: Folksy Granville Geronimo “Randy” Martin III isn’t really a Lone Wolf. The man in charge at Just Right Transportation Service is a jack-of-all-trades. He’s as adept at carpentry as he is at driving the big truck. But he’s also quick to bring in help when he needs it.
Dressed in his familiar overalls and “Just Right” ball cap, he’s an easy one to spot when he’s out and about. Viewers feel comfortable approaching him. They greet him as if they’re old buddies. “How you doing, Randy? You’re the man! Can I get a selfie with you?”
The Lone Wolf is also the recycling king. If an aging building — or just the materials within — can be repurposed in a way that makes sense, that’s the approach he’ll take. “It’s like driving a ’65 Mustang,” Randy reasons. “It’s still in good shape. It still drives good. The same goes for houses. There’s some good living still to be done in these homes. They just need fixing up.”
He thinks the show provides a valuable service, because it educates potential homeowners who didn’t know this was an option. “When you look at building a house at $125 and up per square foot versus buying a repurposed house for $35, $40, $45 per square foot, those are real savings worth considering,” he says. “After all, there’s more to life than making 30 years of house payments.”
The Young Guns: Shoot-from-the-lip Cody Slay says that Texas Flip N Move has been good for business. Many viewers have reached out with remodeling and design requests in the past year. “I even get calls from out of the area,” he says. “I’m like, ‘Where do you live?’ When they say New Jersey, I’m like, ‘Sorry, can’t help you.’ ” That would be a job for Jersey Flip N Move.
On the Young Guns team, Cody provides the remodeling muscle while his wife, Suzi, comes up with the design plans. He’s often leery of her splashy ideas, but he has learned to trust her instincts — in the end, she’s usually right. Cody doesn’t have his own house-moving equipment, so cousin Casey handles those duties.
Cody loves his new TV fame. One of his many tattoos reads “As Seen on TV.” “When people say to me, ‘No, man, you’re not on TV,’ I show them this,” he says. “If I wasn’t on TV, would I have this?”
Maybe Suzi is the one who should wear that tat. “Cody gets recognized everywhere,” she says, “but no one recognizes me. I was at the nail salon and our show was on every TV in the place, but not one of the ladies watching made the connection that it was me up on the screen.”
In their defense, Suzi’s appearance has changed in the past year. “I had a baby before we started filming last year,” she says. “Since that time, I’ve lost weight and I’ve colored my hair. So this go-round, we’ll see what happens.”
— David Martindale