Canadian Rental Service

Rental Mart Review

By Daniel Reale-Chin   

Features Shows

New approaches rejuvenated this years’ Rental Mart

Over 250 of the rental industry’s finest joined the action at this years’ Rental Mart. all Photos: snowbird rentals

This years’ Canadian Rental Mart looked a little different from the rest. The show saw its first in-person return since 2018. Some things stayed the same (like the return to the International Centre in Mississauga) and others were a bit different.

The obvious change was the move to a fall date: Sept. 27 and 28. This year Canada’s trade expo for the equipment and event rental industry also felt a little more inclusive.

It was the first year that landscapers and contractors were invited to attend Rental Mart. The show attracted over 250 attendees from more than 50 independent and big-name rental companies across Canada. They explored a 30,000-square-foot show floor that featured over 30 booths of rental-ready equipment. Exhibitors commented on the quality of networking they did this year, and some were impressed with their ability to make sales at a fall show.

“We’ve seen people from Newfoundland to out west. It’s going to take me about two weeks to follow up with all the leads,” said Jerry Cantarutti of Cisolift in Quebec. “What more can you ask for?”

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“I’ve sold about 12 plate compactors here,” commented Arnie Rovers from Construction Equipment Solutions in Pickering, Ont. “Who sells compaction in the fall?”

Your show program
Rental Mart’s focus this year was on providing quality education and discussions for the industry. The show hosted high-profile speakers over two days. The Hon. Tony Clement, the former federal industry minister, offered his thoughts on the supply chain issues facing business owners at a keynote presentation on the first day. Clement also shared his insights from his experience as co-chair at Reshoring Canada, a group that advocates for Canadian supply chain modernization and resiliency.

“The top three continuous supply chain issues for senior executives in Canada’s industries are cost instability, logistics and capacity restraints,” said Clement. He explained that Canadians heavily rely on supply from other countries, specifically from the U.S. and China, despite Canada’s diverse global footprint.

Supply chain seminar
Clement shared results from Reshoring Canada’s online survey on the state of our supply chain. Fifty-seven percent of respondents said that steel and electronics are either in short supply or no supply in the country.

Thirty-four percent of respondents said that there are no government solutions to their supply-chain issues, but 77 percent said that supply diversification is the key to solving their challenges.

“The most common challenges for Canadian suppliers that rely on international supply chain are related to shipping delays and long recovery time,” said Clement. Yet, only seven percent of Canadian companies have tried to re-shore their international manufacturing facilities in the last five years, with another seven percent that said they are likely to relocate their facilities back to Canada in the next five.

Clement’s presentation attracted a thirsty crowd to the Centre Stage, where Western Global, Rental Mart’s Centre Stage sponsor, provided drinks for the masses.

The ARA meeting
Josh Nickell, vice-president of the equipment segment at the American Rental Association, lead the ARA’s meeting. The meeting took place after the show on day one.

“The ARA’s mission is to provide opportunities for the equipment and event rental industry and the communities we serve,” said Nickell.

Nickell highlighted the key benefits of an ARA membership, including a free student membership to introduce a new generation to careers in rental. The ARA offers current students hundreds of hours of training programs, access to over 4,000 open jobs, networking opportunities with rental professionals and over $128,000 in scholarship funds. Derek Henneberry from Westland Insurance joined Nickell on stage. The two announced Westland’s exclusive partnership to deliver insurance solutions to ARA members across Canada.

“It was awesome to be back at Rental Mart and see all of our ARA of Canada members again in person. The energy at the Rental Mart was high,” said Nickell, “After more than a year of searching for the right partner that understands the rental industry and provides the kind of coverage our members expect, the Rental Mart was a great place to launch insurance for the rental industry vetted and designed by rental people that has local support in all provinces.”

Women in rental
The highly anticipated Women in Rental panel took place on the second day of Rental Mart. It was the first panel discussion ever held at the show, and the energy at the Centre Stage was high. The four panelists each brought their own experience in Canada’s rental industry and a group of supporters from their companies’ to support them from the crowd.

“There are no limits to the roles that women can do at Cooper,” said Debbie Mackie, branch manager at Cooper Equipment. “If you’re hardworking and have the drive, then the sky’s the limit.”

The panelists all agreed that it’s possible to build strong and fruitful careers in the industry, that there can be certain pressures that arise from building a family versus your career and that it’s important to attract more women to the industry.

“The culture’s certainly changed over the years,” said Angie Venekamp, the general manager of Rental Network and American Rental Association Region 10 director representing Canada on the ARA board of directors. “It used to be that women managed the books while men ran the shop, but now, on the equipment side, there’s been a lot more women running the counter and doing the jobs that were traditionally seen as men.”

Jule Elia, district sales manager at Herc Rentals, brought a different perspective to the panel. When asked about the culture in rental stores she said that, “Whether you’re a man or a woman, it’s no different anymore.”

An engaged audience
Doug Dougherty, CEO of Cooper Equipment Rentals, asked the panel how employers should be more cognizant of women in the workplace, especially in an industry that’s dominated by males.

Andrea Hetu, president of Equipements Brossard, shared some expertise from running a successful rental company. She said that there seems be a generational gap in the way that the men in the industry treat women, with older generations hanging on to outdated biases. At work, big changes like maintaining a culture of mutual respect and small changes like upkeeping bathrooms and providing women with proper fitting PPE can make a difference.

“But, if someone doesn’t feel like they belong, they’ll be hiding in the bathroom with the PPE,” said Mackie.

With 2022’s show wrapped up, Canadian Rental Mart organizers have turned their attention to what’s to come. Stay tuned for more details. 


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