How Grand Rental Events Found Small Business Success

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“We started from scratch.”

This particular origin story could belong to thousands of small businesses across America. Every year, many strike out on their own to develop a business, one of the bravest and toughest tasks one can undertake in the global economy.

This story belongs to Robyn Howlett. Nineteen years ago, she was working a modest-paying job as a chemist while her ex-husband worked a construction business that was tapering off in a rough early 1990’s economy. Her father suggested that the couple start their own business and offered to help finance it, and Howlett jumped at the chance. She re-financed her house and started Grand Rental Events, something she said was “in her blood.”

Success did not come overnight, but judicious expansion and being willing to continually bring in new equipment to entice customers went a long way for Howlett and Grand Rental Events.

Today, she owns 87.5% of the company. The business has 45 employees in peak season, and is a fixture in the Odenton, Maryland community. She recently hired two salespeople who have brought in a lot of new business. Howlett credits her success to the willingness to change and to embrace her customers’ needs.

“You have to change, you have to add inventory, you have to replace inventory,” she said. “The key is customer service and quality equipment.”

Howlett’s first experience with Direct Capital was about three years ago, after working with a host of finance companies over the years. Howlett said she found success when she began working with Finance Manager Eric Meffert.

Saying she feels like Meffert is “her friend now,” she said she’s come to rely on his ability to work to get deals done, his responsiveness and how quickly he can get financing for Grand Rental Events. That financing has allowed Howlett to purchase new equipment, including a new multi-piece dance floor that has been in huge demand.

“He’s done a lot of deals with me,” Howlett said. “Whenever I call him, no matter what, he takes care of it.”

With steady growth in recent years—to the point where Howlett actually sought a slightly slower growth in 2012, given the limits of space and equipment—Grand Rental Events is a small business doing well. Given the recent economic climate, that was no luck.

“I feel very thankful that I’m still in business,” she said.

To learn more about Grand Rental Events, visit their website.

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