Seeing an opportunity in his mountain community of Welches, Ore., located 45 miles southeast of Portland, Mike McCloskey recently opened Mt. Hood Villages Tool & Equipment Rental, a home-based tool rental business that serves the nearly 10,000 seasonally fluctuating residents in and around Welches.
Prior to its opening nearly a month ago, residents of Welches had to travel about 30 miles one way to rent equipment from either Home Depot in Gresham, Ore., or B&R Rentals in Boring, Ore. Now customers can find a wide variety of rental items including pressure washers, cement mixer, scaffolding, utility trailer, log splitter, tiller, ladders, air compressors, generators, backpack blowers, roto hammers, welders, appliance dollies, grinders, post pounders, wheelbarrows, lawn mowers, and trimmers for different applications.
“It’s an idea I’ve had for several years,” owner/operator McCloskey told RER Reports. “I’ve got all my own money thrown out in this, and I’m trying to be a community-oriented business to save time, gas and effort, just to service our little corridor here.”
That little corridor is the 30 mile area between Government Camp and Sandy, Ore., that sandwiches the town of Welches in the middle. To keep costs down, McCloskey runs the business out of storage units from his home. His wife, who is employed by the local school district, and his 16-year-old daughter help out when they can.
“It’s kind of a family-run operation,” McCloskey says. “We’re hoping in a couple years to expand to a nice storefront, but right now we’re having fun.
“One of the new things I’m trying to promote, especially during these economic times, is working on getting items from the local community, and offering consignment rental to local citizens. My thing is, for people who store tools and equipment and don’t use it much, ‘why not make a buck on it?’ And then it kind of makes it a community business.”
McCloskey is looking to expand a bit and plans to get some larger, necessary types of equipment into the business. He is working with an equipment finance company to buy a couple of new pieces and says he has the ability to get additional funding if he decides to go another way with the business.
“I’m just not sure that I won’t stay small and try to work off the capital that the business generates,” he says. “We’ll see how it’s used and if it’s met with good support.”