At a time when the economy was starting to show signs of weakness last year, Duane Sell, president of Economy Rental in Olive Branch, Miss., decided to take a chance on opening a second location in West Memphis, Ark.
“A rental store had been in the town for six years. The owner had been in heating and air conditioning and then opened a rental store. He decided to retire and had an auction where I bought a couple of things,” Sell says.
“A couple of months later, I thought it would be a nice place for a store. He owned the property and was willing to lease it month-to-month. I thought it was a win-win situation. I had excess inventory that wasn’t being utilized. If you sold the equipment, you would have to take less than what it was worth, so I thought it was a good opportunity to put a rental store back in the community,” he says.
The new location has a showroom and two shops covering 4,000 sq. ft. with about a ½-acre yard and carries the same type of inventory as Economy Rental in Olive Branch — tools and equipment under 10,000 lbs. for the small contractor and homeowner. The company also offers an outside repair service for equipment.
“The location has done well. The overhead is low, like when I first started in 1992. You figure out how to make it work. We opened the location in July 2008 and thought it would take a year to 18 months before we would see the signs, but we already might show a profit and that is very encouraging. If we can make it in this economy, people will remember us when the economy improves,” he says.