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When Matthew Hudson visted the local lumber yard in September of 2022, he had no idea he was about to launch another business.
Hudson has owned and operated his own construction company for 12 years, and often rented small equipment from Southwest Builders for special jobs.
“I went to ask about renting a piece of equipment,” Hudson explained, “and they told me they were no longer renting equipment out.”
Southwest Builder Supply had changed hands on a Friday and re-opened the next day, September 17, 2022, as RP Lumber. The new company had no plans of continuing to rent equipment, leaving contractors like Hudson in a lurch.
Hudson continued the conversation, hoping to find a creative solution.
Thinking on his feet, Hudson stated “I want to buy your rental equipment…all of it.”
The RP Lumber representative wasn’t prepared to make a business deal, so Hudson requested to talk with the person authorized to sell him the equipment. Hudson didn’t leave the store that day until he had the answer he was looking for.
Hudson realized how great a loss of the rental service was for the community, including his own business. Contractors would now have to drive roughly an hour to get small equipment for occasional projects, costing them valuable time and extra gas.
After talking with his wife, Cassie, the two starting drawing up business contracts. “We wanted to keep the rental equipment available to the public and local contractors,” Cassie explained.
The bigger question Matthew and Cassie Hudson faced was where to put all the equipment if they acquired it. While they were working on purchase agreements for the business, Matthew Hudson stopped to talk with Jordan Stewart about his plans for the old vet clinic building. Stewart recently purchased the building, but had not yet moved anything into it.
Hudson and Stewart were able to come to an agreement about using the space until a more permanent solution was available. While they visited, Stewart offered to sell Hudson a snow blade that would fit on a skid loader.
The Hudsons ended up adding the snow blade to their rental equipment inventory, and opened MCH Rentals a few months later on November 29, 2022. Ironically, RP Lumber asked to rent the skid loader and snow blade to push snow shortly after MCH Rentals bought it.
The Hudsons then shifted gears on the Odd Fellows building renovation project they started, to incorporate MCH rentals in the remodeled space. Originally, they had planned to rent out half of the lower level as office space. The other half of the lower level will soon be a small gym called “Firebird Fitness” also owned and operated by Cassie Hudson.
A door has been built between the two areas so Cassie can manage the rental equipment and fitness center simultaneously.
Cassie operated an in-home daycare for 14 years prior to jumping into business with her husband. “I was ready,” Cassie stated, noting that she is still friends with many of the families she provided child care for.
Now, she is at MCH Rentals between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., as well as on call outside of regular business hours. “If I’m available, I try to make it work,” Cassie states, “I meet people to pick up equipment if I’m in town.”
At the end of June, all 69 small tools, equipment and construction supplies were moved to the new permanent location just east of the square. The new MCH Rental location at 106 E. Madison Street in Mount Ayr opened on July 3.
The husband and wife team plan to keep small equipment you don’t necessarily want to buy for one job on hand and in good working order. They give everything a quick check after it is returned to make sure everything is clean and working properly. They anticipate finding time for maintenance being the most difficult part of their new venture, and have hired additional people to help share the work load. Currently, the Hudsons now have four additional team members: two full-time and two part-time employees helping with 38H Construction as well as maintenance and other tasks.
Since they originally opened in November of last year, equipment like a quickie saw, jack hammer, scaffolding, and skid loader have been in high demand. They have rented equipment to people in Leon, Lamoni, Grand River, Grant City, Osceola, and Sun Valley Lake in addition to Ringgold County.
Items can be rented daily for 24 hours. Weekly and monthly rental options are also available. For more information, contact Cassie at 641-321-9000.