BURLINGTON, N.C. — Home Depot Rentals last month opened its 1,000th tool rental department in a new store in Burlington, N.C. The mayor of Burlington and all city council people attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony along with hundreds of customers.
Joe Dixon, vice president, pro business and tool rental, attended, along with a number of senior Home Depot executives, including leading personnel from the rental program, as well as representatives from Wacker, Ditch Witch, Clarke div. of Alto, and quite a few other manufacturers, many of whom offered tool and equipment demonstrations.
Dixon told RER that the company is opening tool rental departments at the rate of about one every 36 hours. He said the company will open about 245 rental departments this year and that he expects to open about 70 more by the end of January 2005, when Home Depot's fiscal year ends.
“A lot of people have worked really hard to make this happen,” Dixon said.
The initial pilot rental department opened in 1995 and the program kicked into gear in 1996. Tool rental department growth has accelerated significantly over the past three years.
Aisles were full of customers on the first day, many of whom expressed their appreciation to have a Home Depot in their community, whereas in the past they had had to travel about 20 miles to the nearest store. Hundreds of shoppers toured the tool rental department, many of whom had been unaware that Home Depot offered rental services.
The tool rental department is housed in a square 2,000-square foot area. The square format is more customer-friendly than the long, rectangle shape used in the early days of the tool rental program. The tool rental department allows customers to take home as much accessories — such as sandpaper or cleaning fluids — as they might need, allowing them to return what they don't use. Signs in the tool rental department, as in the rest of the store, are in Spanish as well as English. The pro desk is located right next to the tool rental department, enhancing services to the professional contractor.
Atlanta-based Home Depot Rental is No. 7 on the RER 100.