Canadian Rental Service

Laughing in the rain

Patrick Flannery   

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A steady rain couldn’t dampen spirits at the 2014 B.C. Regional Trade Show, with around 200 B.C. rental operators and suppliers whooping it up with musical impersonator Tracey Bell at the lively Saturday night banquet on Jan. 11.

A steady rain couldn’t dampen spirits at the 2014 B.C. Regional Trade Show, with around 200 B.C. rental operators and suppliers whooping it up with musical impersonator Tracey Bell at the lively Saturday night banquet on Jan. 11.

The “boy toys” of rental  
The “boy toys” of rental. See the video at

Bell’s lightning-fast costume changes and uncanny ability to mimic the expressions, voices and dance moves of such pop music stars as Janice Joplin, Madonna, Tina Turner, Cher and Celine Dion had the audience in stitches and up on stage taking part. For a sample of the hilarious action, check out the Canadian Rental Service video section on the home page. Here’s to a speedy recovery to L.B. White’s Gary Webb, who may have seriously overexerted himself as one of Madonna’s backup dancers.

Aside from the entertainment, which many commented was the best they had seen at the show for some time, the usual combination of networking, value shopping and industry camaraderie was on offer. About 150 attendees toured approximately 50 exhibitors at the Cloverdale Rodeo and Exhibition barn. New Canadian Rental Association managing director Nathalie McGregor was on hand to greet attendees. One piece of news that came out of the show was that McGregor will be working from home in Grimsby, Ont., rather than out of the Winnipeg CRA offices.

eye-opening first look  
New managing director Nathalie McGregor got an eye-opening first look at a rental industry gathering. That’s her on the right with national CRA president Marc Mandin (left) and CRA national vice-president Dave Mintenko.


Many familiar faces were on hand as exhibitors, with Rentquip and Cavalier taking the largest booths. A notable first-time exhibitor was Montolit, a manufacturer of robust tile-cutting equipment from Italy that has new representation in Canada and is looking to make inroads to the rental industry. Montolit was showing off a tabletop tile cutter with a mosaic attachment that looked to be just the thing for making backsplashes. There was also a larger unit on wheels that a contractor might like, and a misting device that attaches to a hand grinder/cutter for dust-free cutting. DeWalt brought a large selection of drills, breakers and other rental-friendly tools, with sales manager Phil Atkinson explaining that DeWalt is looking to move aggressively into the rental channel. Barry Ossea of Point-of-Rental showed off POR’s new mobile app that allows drivers to use any mobile device or smart phone to photograph equipment when it is delivered and collect the customer’s signature on the touchscreen. New Line Hose and Fittings showed off some slick new branding. Multiquip was lighting up the show with fabric-wrapped Flagger light tower that provided tons of diffused, glare-free light. Marty Philips was showing off a handy, mid-range SR200 Case skid steer with a heavy-duty attachment for lifting concrete slab. Milwaukee also garnered some attention with an infra-red camera so sensitive it can detect the body heat of a person from dozens of yards away. Brandt showed off its Hammerhead underground line drill; an air-driven cylinder that burrows through soil to create a tunnel for pipes and cables.

The banquet featured more than just entertainment, with short speeches from CRA president Marc Mandin, ARA president Mike Blaisdell, BC national director Angie Venekamp and McGregor’s official introduction by Jeff Campbell, CRA national chairman. Awards went to Easy Rent It Centre for Rental Store of the Year, Celtic Distributors for Supplier of the Year and Sean O’Reilly for Outstanding Contribution to the Association. Erik Gerlof, CRA BC president, was recognized as BC Rental Person of the Year. Also at the banquet, a toonie toss to win a bottle of booze raised close to $500 for the Lower Mainland Down’s Syndrome Society.

“I think the show was again a great success. The vendors I did talk to were very happy with the business that came through the doors,” Erik Gerlof, CRA B.C. president, said. “The new banquet room worked out very well and the top level act was very entertaining. We are truly blessed with a dedicated board and great vendors who made this all possible. It is good to see suppliers and their customers getting together in a relaxed and social atmosphere.”

“B.C. was my very first show with the CRA and it was quite impressive to see that most of the members and exhibitors, who are also sometimes competitors, were able to communicate, help each other if needed and share a good time,” McGregor commented. “This shows an outstanding level of professionalism, in my opinion.”

“The show was a great success which I believe can be attributed to the outgoing personality and positive attitude of our members and exhibitors and to the amount of volunteer hours put in by some of our board members,” McGregor added. “I can’t go without acknowledging Angie Venekamp, our B.C. director, and Jim Clipperton, who I have found tp be extremely devoted to our association and contributing hugely making B.C. a successful chapter.”

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